6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Kent Life today CLICK HERE

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

Wed, 16:33

Try our pick of some of Kent's best boat trips: With everything from a wildlife spotting jaunt down the Stour to a jetboat adventure on the Medway, there's something for everyone

Read more
Tue, 10:30

One lucky reader will win a two night bed and breakfast stay with dinner and a three hour Thermal Journey in The Spa at Low Wood Bay Spa.

Read more
Tue, 09:31

Kent has many villages that exude historical charm and a traditional village atmosphere beloved by locals and visitors. Here we pick 10 of the prettiest to explore

Read more
Mon, 17:05

If you're wondering what's on this weekend in Kent, we have picked five exciting events that we're sure you'll love!

Read more

Sandwiched between two of Kent's trendiest towns, this peaceful little seaside resort has been overlooked for years. It's time for Herne Bay to take centre stage

Read more

If you love being active and out in the fresh air, there are plenty of ways you can combine both with helping your community

Read more
Mon, 00:00

The lucky winner will receive a three night weekend or 4 night mid-week stay for up to four people in one of the 2 bedroomed self-catering cottages between September and November.

Read more
Thursday, June 13, 2019

Walking through the delightful valley of Elham is an absolute treat. Enter an oasis of peace and quiet with a whole array of shops and pubs in Elham at the end

Read more

Kent Life goes the whole hog and stays the night at the newly opened, much-anticipated The Pig at Bridge Place

Read more

With its unique landscape, rich history and strong cultural identity, we take a look at the Romney Marsh and the towns of Hythe and New Romney

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
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

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life