Archbishop of Canterbury will visit Portsmouth to celebrate religious order’s 150th anniversary

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, will visit Portsmouth later this month
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, will visit Portsmouth later this month

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THE Archbishop of Canterbury will visit Portsmouth to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the diocese’s only religious community.

The Most Rev Justin Welby will preach and lead a service in Portsmouth Cathedral on July 29, marking the milestone of the Sisters of Bethany in Southsea.

The community was established in 1866 by Etheldreda Anna Benett, and was the first Church of England community to offer retreats for women. There are currently eight Sisters based in their Southsea convent.

The cathedral celebration will mark not just its significant history, but also its role in contemporary Christianity, as a place of prayer and service.

Hundreds of guests from across the country with links to the community are expected to attend to the 11am communion service.

Sister Rita-Elizabeth, the current Mother Superior, said: ‘The Archbishop doesn’t accept every invitation, so we are grateful that he has accepted ours.

‘He has already met the leaders of many religious communities and has expressed how important he thinks those communities are. Coming to celebrate with us just reinforces his commitment.’

For more information, see sistersofbethany.org.uk.