During a visit to Carlisle, the Archbishop of York has praised the Christian teamwork he witnessed during a tour of churches, schools, and a charity shop.
Archbishop Stephen Cottrell spent 24 hours in the city of Carlisle, attending an Evensong at the Cathedral on Tuesday and delivering an address for the University of Cumbria on “Things that I learned on a very long walk – Pilgrimage unpacked.”
Yesterday, he visited St Luke’s church in Morton for morning prayer with church leaders before joining pupils and staff at Bishop Harvey Goodwin School for collective worship and a question-and-answer session.
He later called in at one of the county’s five Restore shops which is run by a Christian charity offering employment opportunities, community support and high-quality second-hand goods.
Archbishop Stephen then took part in a further question-and-answer session with clergy and laity at St Cuthbert’s church before joining Year 11 RE students at Trinity School for conversations.
His missional journey ended with Evening Prayer at St Aidan’s church where he again touched on the theme of pilgrimage and the lessons learned after walking the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain, six years ago.
He said: “I take huge encouragement from what I’ve seen. I’ve met some great people, been to some great churches and schools. I’ve seen the Church deeply, deeply committed to the local communities it serves here in Carlisle.
“The Restore charity shop which I visited is a space where people who may not normally walk through the doors of a church can find Christian ministry and service. I’ve also met some amazing young people at the primary and secondary schools.
“The Bible says something about the Church being a body where we need each other. It’s about teamwork and what I’ve seen here is a commitment to collaborative ministry; the ministry of the whole people of God.”
During his tour of the city Archbishop Stephen was joined by the Bishop of Penrith, the Rt Rev Rob Saner-Haigh. Bishop Rob is currently the acting lead bishop for the diocese following the retirement of the Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev James Newcome, at the end of August.
He said: “We’ve really enjoyed having Archbishop Stephen with us. It’s been great to tour the city and to begin and end in prayer.
“It’s also been wonderful to have opportunity at the schools we’ve visited to share together something of our Christian faith and elsewhere to talk to people about the plans we have as a Diocese to encourage and grow church.”
The Archbishop is currently chairing the process which will lead to a nomination to the Crown for the next Bishop of Carlisle. Interviews are due to take place in December.
He added: “I hope the Diocese of Carlisle knows the Archbishop of York is their friend! This is one of a number of visits I’ve made here, and I feel that I’m getting to know the Diocese and its people.
“My prayer is that, guided by the Spirit, we make a great choice for the next Bishop and that that person will keep the Diocese on the journey of being a Church that is really focussed on serving its local communities.”