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Diary: Archbishop Justin's visit to Leicester

Friday 24th May 2013

The Archbishop of Canterbury spent today in Leicester meeting with Christians from Germany and leaders from the city’s different faith communities

Archbishop Justin in LeicesterArchbishop Justin (centre) with Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, and the Bishop of Leicester Tim Stevens outside the Masjid Umar mosque in Leicester. 24 May 2013. Picture: Lambeth Palace

Archbishop Justin visited Leicester today for meetings with Christian and other faith leaders. He spent the morning at St Philip's Church, where he spoke with delegates from the Meissen Commission, an ecumenical programme aimed at unifying the Church of England and the Evangelical Church in Germany.

In front of members from both churches, the Archbishop said that ecumenism is "the oxygen" that allows the church to fulfil its mission and proclaim the Gospel.

After this meeting, the Archbishop gave a joint press conference with Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, the assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, in which he praised the response of British Muslim bodies and other faith groups to the killing this week of British soldier Lee Rigby.

Archbishop signs book of condolence for Lee Rigby in Leicester Cathedral      The Archbishop signs a book of condolence for Drummer Lee Rigby. Picture: Diocese of Leicester

The Archbishop called Leicester a shining example of how religious communities work together, adding: "We are in a good position. There's very good foundations which have been laid over the last few years. It's very solid and I'm highly confident."

The two leaders made their statement outside the Masjid Umar mosque, situated opposite St Philip's Church, which hosts regular Christian-Muslim discussion groups.

They were accompanied by Rt Revd Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester; Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Bradford and co-chair of the Meissen Commission; Rt Revd Michael Ipgrave, Bishop of Woolwich; and Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Bishop of Pontefract.

Archbishop Justin later signed a book of condolence for Drummer Rigby during a visit to the city's cathedral with the mayor of Leicester.

After a working lunch with the Meissen delegation, the Archbishop visited the site of medieval Greyfriars church - now a council carpark - where Richard III's remains were discovered in November last year.

Archbishop Justin at the burial site of Richard III in LeicesterArchbishop Justin with members of the Meissen delegation at the burial site of Richard III in Leicester. 24 May 2013. Picture: Diocese of Leicester

Speaking to Dr Richard Buckley, who led the dig for the remains of the King, the Archbishop joked that the find must have been "the highlight of your career".

In his last stop of the day, Archbishop Justin joined a discussion with the mayor of Leicester and city councillors on faith and politics in a multi-religious environment. 

Following the meeting, the Archbishop said "the energy created by the diversity in Leicester is just incredible".

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