In a visit to Burton-on-Trent Archbishop Justin Welby met clients and staff at Burton YMCA and clergy from local churches of all denominations yesterday, listened to their stories and talked about Thy Kingdom Come.
During the visit to the YMCA James Court building, he chatted to volunteers and cut the ribbon for their newly enlarged food bank and talked about the key role that volunteers have to play.
Thy Kingdom Come - the global wave of prayer from 10-20 May - keeps surpassing his expectations, he said. "I'm somewhat lost for words as each year I think 'I hope it's going to be little better than last year' and it isn't, it's infinitely better. I'm just blown away by the grace and goodness of God and the way that Holy Spirit is pulling people together in prayer. It's the most beautiful thing."
Later he met over 30 church leaders from Burton and the surrounding area as St Modwen's church in the centre of Burton and talked about how churches are sharing their faith. He reflected on Luke 15, the parable of the Lost Sheep, which Jesus used to challenge the conflict between the law-makers and the outcasts; the shepherd was used to illustrate God's dealings with humanity.
The Archbishop and congregation prayed together, before the Rural Dean of Tutbury (which includes the parishes of Burton), the Revd Preb Michael Freeman, presented the archbishop with a case of local beer. "It makes a lovely change from being given another stole," said Archbishop Justin.
Also present was former Lichfield Diocese Communications Officer Gavin Drake, who now works for the Anglican Communion News Service. With five continents of Anglican news to cover, it was great to see him so close to home and in a brief interview with Archbishop Justin, asked what evidence there is of prayers being answered during 'Thy Kingdom Come':
In the morning, the archbishop had led a service at the National Memorial Arboretum, attended by Prince Charles at which he dedicated a memorial to the victims of overseas terrorism.
See also video from the Burton Mail.
And there are more photos on our Flickr account.