The Manchester & Salford Annual Procession of Witness will take place on a different day and time from the past 40 or so years. Following last year’s event a very frank and thorough discussion was held both about the difficulties faced and hopes for the future.
Difficulties because of the fact of the Whit Walk taking place on the late May bank holiday with people taking their holiday. This affected not only the churches involved and their bands, which had to scramble to find enough instrumentalists to play, but also police resources and extra costs faced because of a Bank Holiday such as coach hire.
Changing the date to Whitsunday (19 May) returns the Whit Walk to its original purpose of being linked to the original Pentecost when crowds assembled around the Spirit-filled disciples and many were added to the Lord. People in crowd saw the changes that had occurred to the disciples and they wanted it for themselves. It was in this way that the disciples ‘witnessed’ to our Lord. And this is why a procession of Christian witness is important for today’s civilisation. People in crowd, looking on, will see Christian women, men and children enjoying their faith, smiling and laughing, committed and concerned for our own society.
On arriving in Albert Square, we will be greeted by the Lord Mayor of Manchester and the Mayor of Salford. Then there will be prayers offered for the cities of Salford and Manchester, our nation and the world. Then we set off again to return to Manchester Cathedral where a short service to celebrate Pentecost will be held in and near the temporary Cathedral.
All churches and parish groups from anywhere in the diocese are invited to join us but it would be good if you would contact Canon Roy Chow and let him know so that appropriate insurance cover can be made and proper publicity and recognition recorded.
Assemble in Fennel Street (next to the Cathedral) from 1.00pm and bring a packed lunch! We set off to Albert Square promptly at 2.00pm via Corporation Street and Cross Street. After the very short service in Albert Square we then process along John Dalton Street and Bridge Street to Chapel Street and return to the Cathedral by way of Chapel Street.
There will be a service in the Cathedral on the Street at approximately 3.45pm.