Archbishop set for Norwich Cathedral visit

Rowan MantellThe Archbishop of Canterbury will be in Norfolk this weekend - to talk in both the largest church in the county and one of the smallest.Rowan Mantell


The Archbishop of Canterbury will be in Norfolk this weekend - to talk in both the largest church in the county and one of the smallest.

The most important Church of England clergyman in Britain and the senior bishop worldwide for around 80 million Anglicans, he will be speaking at All Saints', Sharrington, near Holt, on Friday evening and in Norwich Cathedral on Saturday.

The Most Rev Dr Rowan Williams will be speaking at the cathedral about the relationship between poetry and prayer alongside fellow poet Ruth Padel, great-great granddaughter of Charles Darwin. They will be reading a selection of their own poetry. The Archbishop will also answer questions from the audience.

The Sharrington event is already full but tickets are still available to hear the Archbishop and Padel who has recently written a book of poems centred on the life of Darwin and a first novel with a suitably Darwinian wildlife theme. Last summer she hit the headlines when she resigned just nine days after being appointed as Oxford's first female professor of poetry,

The Archbishop will be the sixth, and most eminent, speaker to give the annual Sharrington Lecture - in a church which normally gathers a Sunday congregation of around 12.

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He was invited by villager and former BBC political editor Anne Sloman who is a member of the Archbishops' Council which helps shape Church of England policy and the CoE Church Buildings Council which helps parishes look after more than 16,000 local churches.

His theme will be the importance of the church in the local community.

Tickets (�5, or �3 for concessions) are still available for Saturday's 10am to 12.30pm event at Norwich Cathedral. Buy in advance from the University of East Anglia box office at or 01603 508050, or on the door.

Advent Calendar by Rowan Williams.

He will come like last leaf's fall.

One night when the November wind

has flayed the trees to bone, and earth

wakes choking on the mould,

the soft shroud's folding.

He will come like frost.

One morning when the shrinking earth

opens on mist, to find itself

arrested in the net

of alien, sword-set beauty.

He will come like dark.

One evening when the bursting red

December sun draws up the sheet

and penny-masks its eye to yield

the star-snowed fields of sky.

He will come, will come,

will come like crying in the night,

like blood, like breaking,

as the earth writhes to toss him free.

He will come like child.