Shoe shining and foot washing for Maundy Thursday

Published 28 March 2013  |  
PA
The Bishop of Bolton, the Right Reverend Chris Edmondson, left, cleans the shoes of shopper Philip Hayworth in Bolton town centre

Church of England Bishops will be out and about in towns and city centres to shine the shoes of passers-by for Maundy Thursday.

The Right Reverend Paul Butler, Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, will join the Right Reverend Tony Porter, Bishop of Sherwood, to shine shoes in Worksop town centre.

The shoe shining is a modern spin on the centuries-old tradition of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples the day before Good Friday.

The Right Reverend Chris Edmonson, Bishop of Bolton, will be out shining shoes in the town's Victoria Square.

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The simple act of shoe shining and washing feet offers an opportunity to speak with passers-by about the meaning of Easter and the Gospel

Bishop Butler said: "This is a modern twist on the tradition of foot washing, which in Jesus' day was done by the lowest servant of all.

"Jesus challenged his disciples then, and all of us today, to treat each other with such love and respect.

"We hope to have lots of opportunities to explain this and the message of Easter, while we offer a practical service to people in the town."

Bishop Porter explained: "Shoe shining in the public space is a brilliant opportunity for Bishop Paul and myself to make the Gospel of Jesus Christ visible.

"As people go about their business in the town centre, they see bishops kneeling, shining shoes. Some just blink, others ask searching questions.

"It's all done with a light touch and plenty of banter, but it is very effective."

The newly inaugurated Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, will hold a special foot-washing service at Canterbury Cathedral, as will the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu at York Minster.

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