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Video: Archbishop praises ‘beautiful’ community shop and café

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The Archbishop of Canterbury visited the Amberley Shop and Café on Friday – and even tried his hand at making a latte in the kitchen.

The Most Revd Justin Welby was on a three-day tour of the county, which included a visit to the Grace Network at Brimscombe Mill on Friday evening where he had dinner. The Amberley Shop and Café opened last year inside Holy Trinity Church, after years of hard work and fundraising by a dedicated committee.

“It was about seven years ago that the shop in Amberley closed, and it was going to leave us without any sort of village shop at all,” explained Neil Truphet, who project managed the build.

“A few of us got together and we thought, hey, let’s think about setting up a community shop. We then needed to try and find a venue – that wasn’t quite so easy.

Archbishop of Canterbury 3 | Video: Archbishop praises 'beautiful' community shop and café
The Archbishop met Daphne Vickers, who had been at school with his late mother.

“I was talking with a past Dean of Gloucester Cathedral, Nick Berry, who said, why don’t you ask whether you could take up residence in the back of the church? It seemed like a great idea, and we asked the question of Rev John Spiers, who was the priest in charge, and off we went.”

The shop opened last summer and is approaching its first anniversary. The Archbishop was accompanied by the Right Revd Rachel Treweek, the Bishop of Gloucester during the blessing of a new upstairs gallery, dedicated to the late Rev John Spiers, former minister at Holy Trinity.

Archbishop of Canterbury 13 | Video: Archbishop praises 'beautiful' community shop and café
From left: Bishop Rachel, John Gilbert, Neil Truphet, Archbishop Justin and Doreen Spiers.

The Archbishop also met Daphne Vickers, who had been at school with his late mother, before being shown how to make a latte and serving in the shop. He told Stroud Times: “They’ve done the most extraordinary work creating a shop at the back of the church, elegantly done, beautifully done – which gives the church a meeting space that they didn’t have before and gives the village a shop.

“That does two things. They lost their shop, so it renews that sense of community, and it makes the church somewhere to come that’s accessible and friendly. It’s got a café, and you can meet people – it tackles isolation, which is so often true for older people.

“These churches were built to be at the centre of the community, so it’s not changing its purpose – it’s taking it back to its real purpose, and I just think this is beautiful.”

Amberley Shop and Café will mark its first year of trading on Saturday 29th of June with an afternoon of celebrations from 12 – 4pm, including a BBQ, cream teas, supplier tastings, plant sale, a quiz, a raffle for Stroud Women’s Refuge, bar, and children’s activities.

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