From Westminster to St Edburg’s...

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Susannah Ireland / Rex Features ( 865628j )'Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams arrives at Canterbury Cathedral for a service to mark the start of the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, Kent'Various
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Susannah Ireland / Rex Features ( 865628j )'Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams arrives at Canterbury Cathedral for a service to mark the start of the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, Kent'Various

THE man who married Prince William and Kate Middleton will be swapping Westminster Abbey for St Edburg’s Church at the weekend.

Rowan Williams, The Archbishop of Canterbury, is due to visit Bicester on Sunday as part of a four day tour of the Diocese of Oxford.

He will bless the site of the new Emmanuel Church in Bure Park at 9.30am on Sunday, before meeting volunteers at the Bicester Food Bank Project.

He will then preach at a public service at St Edburg’s at 11am.

Speaking to this newspaper shortly after the visit was announced, Stephen Wynne-Jones of St Edburg’s Church, said: “We’re thrilled The spotlight is on our town nationally at the moment as it grows quickly and develops its infrastructure, so Rowan Williams’ visit will give us the opportunity to share the work we are doing to support the development of the town community.

“In particular, he’ll see for himself our magnificent church in the centre of town as we continue to redevelop its interior and renew its mission, and how we’re building a permanent place of worship for Emmanuel Church in Bure Park.”

Emmanual Church’s congregation of around 100 people has worshipped in a temporary base in Bure Park School since 2002.

Dr Williams will bless two collection plates – one for St Edburg’s and one for Emmanuel Church, both of which have been donated by Bicester’s MP Tony Baldry.

The Archbishop said: “It will be a real pleasure to be back in the Diocese of Oxford for a few days.

“It has always been one of the most varied and creative in the Church of England; and my years as a Canon of Christ Church helped me get to know something about this variety and liveliness.”

The tour started today and will culminate on Monday, taking in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire.

It is the first time an Archbishop of Canterbury has made a formal visit to the Oxford Diocese since 1999 when the Most Revd George Carey visited.

Last week millions of people worldwide watched as Dr Williams conducted the marriage ceremony of Prince William and Kate Middleton in Westminster Abbey.