On Saturday 16th May, The Gathering makes a welcome return to Canterbury Cathedral and its Precincts. This two-yearly event has firmly established itself as a regular feature within the Diocesan calendar, and promises once again its special mix of stimulating talks, creative activities, entertainment, affirming worship and Bible study.
For Revd Canon Caroline Pinchbeck, who leads the organising team, the event’s main aim is to create a meaningful and inspiring experience that all can enjoy: “What is fantastic about The Gathering is how it brings people together from all different parts of the Diocese, and from all different perspectives, to share in a time of discovery, spirituality and fun.
“This year our theme is ‘food for the journey…’, and so all our talks, activities and worship are aimed at helping us explore what we need to sustain and support ourselves, and our communities, on our various journeys through life.”
Speakers include, acclaimed Old Testament scholar Dr. Meg Warner (Kings College London), the author and broadcaster, Rev Lucy Winkett (Rector of St James’s Church Piccadilly), and the founder of ‘bread church’ in Bradford, Barbara Glasson.
The Singing Pilgrims, otherwise known as Guy Hayward and Will Parsons will offer a ‘crash-course’ on how and why to make traditional pilgrimage in Britain, while musicianDavid Macdonald will offers reflections in words, pictures and music of his pilgrimage walking and worshipping across the Camino of northern Spain, with his beloved cello on his back.
The full beauty of the Cathedral will be used, with spaces set aside in the Crypt for quiet contemplation and prayer, while the Nave becomes an area dedicated to craft activities, interactive sessions, drama and worship. This year also sees the addition of Light Bites, 10-minute snippets of inspiration, music and laughter which will run throughout the day in the Chapter House and all enjoyable over a hot drink and a slice of cake.
The Gathering launches with a special event on Friday 15th May, called Friday Night Kitchen. Radio 4’s Reverend Richard Coles will be joined by the Archbishop of Canterbury and other guests, for an evening of cookery and conversation, as they explore the spirituality of eating together and the powerful part food can play in our service of others.
The Bishop of Dover, the Rt Rev Trevor Willmottsays that this year’s Gathering is not one to be missed: “I’m delighted to see the range, quality and diversity of what is on offer. I would encourage everyone to visit the website, explore what the day holds, and then to come along, so that together we can take the next steps on our journey of exploring, challenging and developing our faith.”
The Gathering runs from 10am to 4pm. Tickets for both the Saturday and the Friday evening are available to book via The Gathering website: www.the-gathering.co.uk . Tickets for Saturday cost £5, and £15 for the Friday evening. You can receive all the latest news and updates by following @DCtheG15 on Twitter.