Diocese of Portsmouth

    Archbishop to visit our diocese for three days

    31 Aug. 2023

    THE Archbishop of Canterbury will visit churches, schools and communities in Portsmouth diocese for a weekend in October. 

    The Most Rev Justin Welby will meet churchgoers and non-churchgoers from across south-east Hampshire and the Isle of Wight between October 13-15.

    It’s the latest in a series of visits the Archbishop has made to dioceses in the south of England. He has previously made similar visits to Guildford, London, Chichester, Truro and Salisbury dioceses over the past few years. (He is pictured above meeting worshippers in our cathedral at an anniversary service for the Sisters of Bethany in 2016)

    The Archbishop is planning to spend one day and night on the Isle of Wight and a couple of days on the mainland. He hopes to visit two Isle of Wight secondary schools, where pupils will be given the chance to ask him questions. He’ll also meet those who offer Christian ministry in churches, prisons, care homes and HM Naval Base over the weekend.

    Watch the Archbishop introducing himself to us below:

    Archbishop Justin said: “I’m really looking forward to my trip to the Diocese of Portsmouth, to meeting people who are serving God in local communities, and seeing how the Holy Spirit is moving in churches, schools, care homes, and beyond.

    “I know the people of the diocese are sharing the good news of the Kingdom in new and exciting ways, so more and more people might know the love of God in Jesus Christ. It will be a privilege to be alongside them in October.”

    On Friday 13 October, he’ll visit Christ the King College in Newport, which is a joint Church of England/Roman Catholic secondary school. He’ll meet staff and governors, bless the new chapel and spend time with students of all ages at three different sessions.

    He’ll then travel to The Bay C of E School in Sandown, where he will hear the school choir sing, tour the school with School Pastors, take part in two conferences with students, and meet parents and staff.

    The Archbishop will share his faith in Jesus at a mission event at Holy Trinity Church, Bembridge that evening. The event will also feature his favourite hymns and worship songs, led by a choir and worship group.

    On the morning of Saturday 14 October, he'll meet those who minister in the island’s churches over breakfast, before a visit to inmates, staff and chaplains at Isle of Wight Prison.

    On the mainland, he’ll have a lunchtime session with representatives from various community groups aiming to transform lives around Portsmouth. They’ll meet in St Luke's Church, Southsea, a church that has opened its building to sole workers, asylum seekers and theological students over the past few years.

    He'll then visit St Margaret's Church in Southsea to take part in a family fun day, which will celebrate its sixth anniversary since reopening and which will include free soft play, a barbecue, crafts and face-painting. This is a church that has revitalised its outreach to the local community, using its soft play area, community café, pantry and community shop.

    And on the evening of October 14, he hopes to visit HM Naval Base, where he will be hosted by Commodore John Voyce, Naval Base Commander, and will meet ratings and officers from the Royal Navy.

    On October 15, he’ll join worshippers at St Wilfrid’s Church in Cowplain, as they celebrate their 100th anniversary. The service will also involve the Bishop of Portsmouth and previous vicars of the church. He'll answer questions in a session after the morning service and share lunch with worshippers.

    He’ll then see how Christ Church, Gosport, is reaching out to children and families via innovative worship and community outreach at their regular Sunday afternoon service.

    Finally, he’ll then take part in an Evensong held at St Peter's Church, Petersfield, that evening. He'll meet and worship alongside the Anna Chaplains who are renewing Christian discipleship among the elderly in care homes and their communities. Former Meridian TV presenter Debbie Thrower, who is also the founder of Anna Chaplaincy, will interview him.

    Archbishop Justin celebrates the Eucharist in Portsmouth Cathedral in 2016

    The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Jonathan Frost, said: “We are delighted that the Archbishop is coming to journey alongside us in mission. We are in good heart, looking to Jesus and seeking God’s kingdom.

    “We hope the Archbishop’s visit will shine a new light on our life together in Christ, and encourage bold endeavours in evangelism, discipleship and service for the common good.”