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Archbishop issues rallying call to support Whit walks

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date online: 07 June 2017

THE Archbishop of York has made a rousing appeal to a community to support Saddleworth's colourful Whit Friday walks.

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr John Sentamu has accepted an invitation to walk with Dobcross villages for the Procession of Witness on Friday.

And speaking to The Chronicle in advance of his arrival, the Archbishop urged: "Come and breathe the fresh air on our walk of witness together on Whit Friday.

"On the day of Pentecost, people gathered together to proclaim the good news to peoples of all nations.

"This is a reminder to us all as we gather together at Holy Trinity Dobcross to be witnesses to God's love in our lives.

"Be blown away by the power of the Holy Spirit and the transformation that this brings - all are welcome. Join us!"

The church wrote to the Archbishop explaining ten churches, including five local Church of England in Saddleworth, process from their respective villages to join for an ecumenical service in the central village of Uppermill.

On the day, the attendance at the open-air service can exceed 4,000, depending on weather.

Archbishop Sentamu responded: "I'm delighted to accept and it certainly sounds like a wonderful occasion and a real example of Christian witness for the whole community.

"I am looking forward to joining the traditional walk which promises to be an uplifting and fulfilling day."

He apologised that his heavy diary commitments mean he will not be able to share in the traditional brass band contests later in the day.

And he added: "I would also like to thank in advance the many volunteers who make this day possible.

"This is a fantastic event and I do pray all who take the time to follow that Cross of Witness will be reminded of the truth that in Jesus Christ is life and life in all its fullness."

The Archbishop's visit begins at Dobcross Band and Social Club where he will provide a commemorative prayer 'in memory of absent friends' before the playing of hymn tune 'Silver Hill' by Dobcross Silver Band and Dobcross Youth Band.

After presiding at a short service in the village square, he will lead the procession to Uppermill where he will address the ecumenical service.

He will then lead the procession on its return to Dobcross and join children for lunch at Holy Trinity School.

Reverend Canon Sharon Jonesthe new Team Rector of the Church of England in Saddleworth is experiencing her first Whit Friday.

"I was delighted to receive my invitation from Holy Trinity Dobcross to be with them for my first Saddleworth Whit Walk experience," she said.

"It is a great joy and privilege to be part of the leading of events that brings the whole community together."

And Dobcross villagers, who are charged with organising the Saddleworth Whit Friday processions, are delighted the Archbishop has accepted their invitation.

Paul Wooding, chair of Parochia Church Council at Holy Trinity Church Dobcross and a member of the Whit Friday organising committee, wrote to the Archbishop.

"Everyone in the community is delighted the Archbishop is coming," he declared.


I hope the Walks will be better organised than they have been in recent years. They are an act of witness, but most people behave as though they are at a secular walk with friends.

No wonder Oldham gets a cinema rather than a graphene research centre after reading all this superstitious gibberish.


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