Monday 14th April 2014
Roman Catholic and Anglican bishops were united today as they visited the Magdalene Group in Norwich. The Magdalene Group has given help and advice to sex-workers in Norwich since 1992 and aims to provide support and opportunities for change. The Rt Revd Graham James (Bishop of Norwich) and the Rt Revd Alan Hopes (Bishop of East Anglia) made their visit together Monday morning. The bishops heard of the latest developments and prayed with the staff and for all those whom this local Christian agency seeks to help.
Last week Cardinal Vincent Nichols and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, drew attention to the engagement of the churches in social action, meeting the needs of the poor, the distressed and those in trouble.
Bishop Graham has been Patron of the Magdalene Group since his arrival in Norwich over fourteen years ago. For Bishop Alan this was his first visit as Patron since his installation as Bishop of East Anglia last summer. Trustees and volunteers of the Magdalene Group come from many churches. The group has won an honoured reputation for its work giving dignity and life chances to women in prostitution and engaging in an innovative educational programme helping young girls identify what grooming looks like. The girls drawn into prostitution have been getting younger in Norfolk as elsewhere so this is a vital dimension of this charity’s work.
The Magdalene Group is a fine example of united Christian social action, often unheralded yet showing imagination and determination. It would not exist without its small dedicated staff and its team of volunteers. Bishop Graham and Bishop Alan will continue to pray for its work and to give whatever support they can to this fine local example of Christian social outreach.