Transforming the communities of Essex & East London through Christ’s presence

Archbishop of Canterbury blesses the Chelmsford Holding Cross

16th May 2014

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby has blessed and presented the Chelmsford Holding Cross at a service this afternoon, May 16, at Chelmsford Cathedral.

Archbishop Justin said: "The cross represents the moment of deepest encounter and most radical change for the Christian. It is impossible to imagine a church that flourishes without clinging to the cross at its very heart.

"As the Diocese of Chelmsford celebrates its centenary, it has chosen the holding cross as its sign and symbol.

"I pray that its parishes and people cling to the cross, witnessing to its power and proclaiming its glory for the coming 100 years."

The Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell added: “We have made our centenary year a year of commitment to the renewal of a life of prayer which is lived in a community of faith.

“One particular thing we are encouraging all our people to do this year as a lifelong project is to uphold a simple ‘rule of life’ and discern how to continue to live in a distinctively Christian way in the world.

“I believe the Chelmsford Holding Cross will encourage us over the coming months and years to continue inhabiting the world distinctively as followers of Jesus Christ.”

Canon Edward Carter, Chelmsford's Canon Theologian, came up with the idea of expressing a rule of life through a holding cross.

“Holding is a universal human instinct which can be a tangible focus for a pattern of prayer,” he said.

“A holding cross is accessible for young and old, for those of faith, and those exploring, and it can also be used as a gift.”

More information

About the  Chelmsford Holding Cross

The Chelmsford holding crosses are small, palm-sized crosses made locally and in dioceses in Kenya to which Chelmsford Diocese is linked. Many of these crosses have been made from recycled church pews.  Holding crosses act as a visible and tangible reminder of the faith. 

The crosses have Christ’s ‘great commandment’ etched on them:  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength….You shall love your neighbour as yourself...” (Mark 12:30-31)

The crosses are accompanied by a small card with a simple prayer and an outline for a rule of life.

10,000 crosses have been prepared.

The holding cross project is part of our focus on holding on to a rule of life as part of Christian prayer and witness. 

We will be giving some sample holding crosses to our churches and making further supplies available for them to give to congregations, and particularly to those coming to the church for ministries of baptisms and funerals.

Watch a specially made video telling the story of how the holding crosses were made.

Read our Information Sheet about the Chelmsford Holding Cross.

Order a stock of Chelmsford Holding Crosses for your church here – print and post this Order Form to the address on the form.

Follow a new course to accompany the holding crosses.

About the Centenary of Chelmsford Diocese and the visit by the Archbishop of Canterbury

2014 is the centenary of Chelmsford Diocese.

Chelmsford Diocese is celebrating its first 100 years by committing to the next 100.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is visiting the Diocese as part of its centenary celebrations, and he was taking part in a study day attended by clergy and lay ministers at Chelmsford Cathedral.

You can view the Archbishop's centenary programme in full here.

For more information, or to download an audio recording of the Address given by the Archbishop prior to presenting the crosses, visit

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