Archbishop to make a county visit of contrasts

The Archbishop of Canterbury is set to visit Norfolk later this year, where he will speak at both the largest and one of the smallest churches in size in the Diocese.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is set to visit Norfolk later this year, where he will speak at both the largest and one of the smallest churches in size in the Diocese.

The average congregations at All Saints in Sharrington, near Holt, and Norwich Cathedral are also very different, with the former welcoming about a dozen worshippers and the latter about 200 on an average Sunday.

The Most Rev Dr Rowan Williams will be speaking at the small church of All Saints on the evening of Friday, April 30.

He will be the sixth Sharrington Lecture speaker and will join a distinguished line-up of predecessors including eminent historian Sir Roy Strong, who spoke in 2007.

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On the following day, Saturday, May 1, he will join prize-winning British poet, broadcaster and great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin, Ruth Padel, at Norwich Cathedral where he will talk about the relationship between poetry and prayer, and discuss the need for both in our world today.

The invitation to speak at the 13th century All Saints came from parochial church council member Anne Sloman, a former political editor of the BBC, who has served for the past five years on the Archbishops' Council, which shapes Church of England policy.

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She also now chairs the Church of England's Church Buildings Council which supports dioceses and parishes in their care of more than 16,000 church buildings.

Mrs Sloman, from Sharrington, who is also vice-chairman of the Norfolk Community Foundation, which awards grants to local groups and projects in need of funding, said: 'We have been running the Sharrington lecture for six years and he will be sixth speaker.

'There have previously been a number of distinguished speakers, but none as distinguished as the Archbishop.

'I know him quite well and I'm sure he's looking forward to coming to Sharrington, as he has never been before.

'I was very keen for him to do it, and it's very important that rural churches that are very loyal do not get neglected. I know from my own experience how much effort and work is put into them to keep them active.

'The lecture is entitled A Sense of Place: What is the Local Church? and will be chaired as always by the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James.'

Meanwhile, at Norwich Cathedral on May 1, the Archbishop will join Ruth Padel in reading a selection of their poetry.

Following coffee, the Archbishop will answer questions from the audience.

Big screens will allow the speakers to be seen from around the Cathedral. This Norwich Cathedral Institute event will take place in the Cathedral from 10am-12.30pm.

The event is open to all, but admission is by ticket only. Tickets are available from the University of East Anglia box-office at or 01603 508050. Tickets cost �5 (�3 concessions).

The Sharrington Lecture is invitation only.

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