Archbishop of Canterbury visits Kent charity

PUBLISHED: 13:44 11 April 2015 | UPDATED: 13:44 11 April 2015

Ruth Whitaker, Archbishop Justin and Stuart King

Ruth Whitaker, Archbishop Justin and Stuart King


The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Rt Hon Justin Welby, visited international Christian charity MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) at its Folkestone office to learn more of its pioneering aviation work.

Hope Has Wings

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Rt Hon Justin Welby, visited international Christian charity MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) at its Folkestone office to learn more of its pioneering aviation work.

MAF’s UK support office has been based in Folkestone for more than 30 years and flies light aircraft in developing countries to enable aid, relief, food, clean water, education and medical assistance to reach isolated and remote communities which could take days or weeks to reach by land.

Archbishop Justin Welby and his wife, Caroline met with staff and prayed for the charity’s work. They also spoke with Ruth Whitaker, CEO of MAF UK, Max Gove, Development Manager at MAF International, Chris Lukkien CEO of MAF International and Stuart King, one of the founders of MAF and a 93-year-old Second World War RAF veteran.

Archbishop Justin was also presented with a framed photograph of his time flying in an MAF aircraft in South Sudan last year and a copy of Hope Has Wings, the official account of MAF’s beginnings in 1945 until the present day.

Archbishop Justin spoke of the profound sense of isolation and abandonment that comes with situations of conflict across the world adding: “The biggest single thing in conflict is to feel forgotten and abandoned, even when you’re not; your experience is so unique and isolated.”

He added: “We were both very excited to hear that you were in the Canterbury Diocese. We’re very, very grateful, thank you for letting us come and interrupt your work today, it’s a real privilege to meet you. What you do is invaluable and extraordinary.”

Stuart King, President Emeritus and one of the founders of MAF, said of the visit: “It’s blown our minds to have such a visit from the Archbishop himself – that he and his wife wanted to come. We appreciated being able to fly him and help in some of his overseas assignments and we hope he’ll be able to do more in the future. It was a great encouragement. He’s a wise man and he’s given us so much encouragement and words of wisdom. He knows so much about the world in which we operate which is quite amazing, for example, his experience in Africa. So it was a tremendous encouragement really.”

Speaking about MAF’s 70 year anniversary, Stuart said: “When we started we were a bunch of ex-Air Force officers and we wanted to turn small planes into an instrument of peace and of help and hope for people in remote, inaccessible areas. In the early days, the work was quite traumatic, it wasn’t easy at all.”

Ruth Whitaker, Chief Executive at MAF UK said: “It is wonderful to understand how much the organisation has grown from just a vision and an idea to use aircraft for constructive means. There is still so much need – the need is greater than ever across the developing world, and MAF has a role to play in serving those in remote and isolated communities.”

“We had the opportunity to fly the Archbishop in one of our light aircraft during a visit he made to South Sudan in 2014. He has therefore seen first-hand our work supporting people living in remote and isolated areas.”

“His visit was an encouragement to us, and we were blessed by his spirit of prayer and reconciliation – values that we hold dear at MAF.”

On a daily basis, MAF strives to practically support the world’s forgotten people in over 25 countries.

Through its fleet of 140 light aircraft, MAF flies essential supplies to places made barely accessible through war, natural disaster or poor infrastructure.

Rooted in the church and working with scores of aid organisations, MAF is overcoming these physical barriers in over 1800 locations.

More from Kent Life

Yesterday, 11:18

Win this fabulous prize from a Devon-based supplier of quality beds and bedding who pride themselves on their expertise and the highest levels of customer service.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:31

Half term is sorted with these spooky Halloween events and things to do in Kent

Read more
Mon, 16:49

The easing of lockdown saw a huge growth in paddlesports, with people eager to get some exercise and explore the countryside, safely | Words: Caroline Read - Photos: Manu Palomeque

Read more
Mon, 16:42

The original trees that gave this popular town its name are long gone, but it still has a heart of oak. Take a closer look at superb Sevenoaks | Words: Caroline Read - Pictures: Manu Palomeque

Read more
Mon, 12:09

Kent’s typically busy events schedule is gradually returning, albeit in a socially-distanced form that we may not yet be used to. Here are 5 great events to consider this weekend

Read more
Mon, 00:00

The hamper includes the original London Dry Gin, the loved Yorkshire Rhubarb Gin and the brand’s latest launch, Slingsby Marmalade Gin.

Read more
Friday, September 18, 2020

The Greensand Way is one of the prettiest walks in Kent offering amazing views from the ridge right across the county

Read more
Thursday, September 17, 2020

80 years after the Battle of Britain, Richard Bates recalls the role his father H.E. Bates played in telling the stories of the famous ‘Few’ | Words: Richard Bates

Read more
Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Kent is not only home to many stunning beaches but also has some of the safest and cleanest in the country, many with prestigious Blue Flag status

Read more
Monday, September 14, 2020

If you are nearing retirement age, you may be thinking about downsizing and pursuing a simpler lifestyle. Marie Hanby – marketing manager at Serenity Parks – tells us the key benefits of living in a retirement village such as Serenity’s Kingsdown Meadow in Sevenoaks.

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Latest from the Kent Life