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Archbishop thrilled by 'Dragons' Den' Convent plans

PUBLISHED: 09:19 27 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:19 27 September 2019

Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney community builiding at All Hallows Convent, Ditchingham. Photo courtesy of Emmaus.

Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney community builiding at All Hallows Convent, Ditchingham. Photo courtesy of Emmaus.

Archant

Plans to develop a former church Convent in Ditchingham though a 'Dragon's Den style event' have been applauded by the Church of England's leader.

The main convent building at All Hallows convent in Ditchingham. PICTURE: FarrowsThe main convent building at All Hallows convent in Ditchingham. PICTURE: Farrows

With their decision to become a dispersed order, the Anglican Community of All Hallows began looking for occupiers of their former buildings in August 2018.

The Community held a "Dragon's Den style event" to decide who to give their convent, which is based on the Norfolk and Suffolk border, before deciding to make it the home of a new religious community, retreat centre and prayer space for young people.

The successful group, known as With, are comprised of youth workers from across the south of England and represent a number of denominations and organisations.

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They will "hold the spirituality of the site" in Bungay and continue to work with young people.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said the proposals were some of the most exciting he had seen since becoming Archbishop and that this project thrills his heart.

He said: "I commend the faith, the risk, the sacrifice and the tenacity of the team. And I can't wait to see this community up and praying. I commend this step of faith for the sake of the renewal of the church and the glory of God."

As numbers of the Community were dwindling, they took the decision to offer the site to new users and selected applicants through a 'Dragons' Den style event', chaired by the then Bishop of Norwich, the Right Reverent Graham James.

The chapel at All Hallows convent in Ditchingham. PICTURE: FarrowsThe chapel at All Hallows convent in Ditchingham. PICTURE: Farrows

Bishop Graham received support from Norwich Cathedal's Reverand Canon Andrew Bryant, who said: "We are all very excited by these proposals for the site. It will be a wonderful resource to support young people and Christian youth work across the country.

For over 160 years, the Community of All Hallows has been reaching out to vulnerable young people and for many years ran its own school, alongside the Sisters' life of worship, prayer and service.

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