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Archbishop of York to visit Bolton

Photo Credit: Jon Parker Lee

Tuesday 21st October 2014

The Archbishop of York will make a two-day visit to Manchester Diocese on 23 and 24 October 2014. On Thursday 23rd October he will see first-hand projects in Bolton that are meeting the social needs of the community in innovative ways.

The Archbishop will be accompanied on his visit by the Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, and the Bishop of Bolton, Chris Edmondson.

The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu said: “Back in 2012, like many Bolton Wanderers supporters, I prayed for Fabrice Muamba’s recovery after his collapse on the football field.  It will be a real joy for me to visit the stadium and meet with the Chaplain there.  Praying is about coming to God with all of our hopes and fears, our dreams and our disappointments to offer them to God so that He can make a difference.  I’ll be praying throughout my visit for the people of Bolton, and the work carried out at the Hope Centre and BRASS for this community”.

Hope Centre

Hope Centre is the home of St Andrew’s Church and serves the Johnson Fold Estate which is largely made up of social housing with high unemployment. The Hope Centre was completely refurbished, at a cost of £443,000 and equipped to serve the needs of the surrounding community.

Alongside Sunday services and a monthly Messy Church, St Andrew’s opens its doors to the community on a Tuesday for R Place, with toddlers, lunch club and a discussion group and games. On Wednesdays it hosts a CAP Job Club, which runs alongside a CAP Centre in the parish. A range of community groups also use the Centre, as it is the only community space on the estate.

Bolton Wanderers

At 3pm the Archbishop will visit Bolton Wanderers. He will have a tour of the stadium and hear about the work of the chaplaincy and the engagement with the community through the Community Trust. He will meet Club Chaplain, Phil Mason, who was at the heart of the Club’s support for player Fabrice Muamba when he suffered a serious cardiac arrest during a game in March 2012.

The Archbishop will hear about plans for this year’s Carol Service in the stadium on Monday 8th December. A choir of 200 children from schools that work with the Community Trust will perform and there will be a drama based on the famous World War 1 football truce. The crowd of 1200 will sing the carol Silent Night which will be recorded for local radio to be broadcast on Christmas Day.

The Community Trust works with most disadvantaged in terms of health, disability, education and inclusion in the town. It recently supported Manchester’s diocesan links with Namibia by supplying football kit to children there.


The Archbishop will also visit BRASS at Great Lever Park Lodge. BRASS (Befriending Refugees and Asylum Seekers) is a secular organisation run by staff and volunteers from town centre churches and leaders of other faith communities. BRASS offers friendship and support, immigration advice, and practical help to people of any faith or no faith. It also offers English classes, workshops and a drop-in centre.





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