Archbishop speaks at open-air celebration

Archbishop joins celebration

AROUND 500 people turned out to hear the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, speak at an open-air event  in a field off Butcher Terrace and close to York's Millennium Bridge to mark 10 years of Praise by the Bridge.

This Praise by the Bridge Special which took place under overcast skies on Sunday, July 18, 2010, was arranged by Churches Together in South West York (representing five local congregations, including Southlands).

And the Archbishop, who was brought by barge from near the Archbishop's Palace, at Bishopthorpe, was late, partly because he insisted on driving the barge all the way. This meant the vessel was travelling at a slower speed than usual.

A selection of photographs can be found in a photo gallery on this website and a sound file, featuring most of the Archbishop's address (affected in part by wind noise) can be found under "Audio".

Praise by the Bridge events, held on the third Sunday afternoon of the month in May, June, July, August and September normally last half-an-hour as people from churches on both sides of the river join in singing hymns and songs of praise, attracting a good deal of interest from people using the bridge.

The Praise by the Bridge Special lasted an hour, and music for the hymns and worship songs was provided by the York Railway Institute Brass Band, the Pantastic Pan Band (from Westfield Primary School, Acomb) and a Gospel group formed especially for the occasion.

Hymns and songs were introduced by Canon Simon Stanley (St Chad’s) and the Rev Keith Himsworth (Southlands Methodist Church), and the Archbishop spoke for nearly 15 minutes.

Dr Sentamu was accompanied on the barge by representatives of local uniformed groups. He was met at the Millennium Bridge by the Sheriff of York, several clergy, and the St Chad’s Greys Scout Band before processing across the Millennium Bridge.

On the South Bank side of the bridge the Archbishop paused for a few minutes to bless a Millennium plaque set in a paved area and inscribed “Christians Together in York 2000”. This is where Praise by the Bridge events are usually held.

From here he walked to a field between Terry Avenue and the Ouse for the Praise by the Bridge special.

The bands stayed on afterwards to provide more music so people could share a picnic.

Cub Scouts and Scouts based at St Chad’s and Southlands sold hot and cold drinks from a tent on the edge of the site.

In his address the Archbishop asked for help from one of the uniformed group representatives who travelled with him on the barge. He encouraged Luca Machado, a Cub Scout at Southlands, to point a torch at any person on the front row of the audience and "blind" that person by switching it on. But it did not work because the torch contained pieces of material and even a £1 coin as well as the batteries.

The rest of his address, in which he urged the crowd to get properly connected to Christ, is on a sound file (see under "Audio").

Note: This page updated on July 20, 2010 

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