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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 10th January 2021 Posted on Saturday 9 January 2021

Baptism of the Lord

The New Year seems to have got off to a shaky start with the announcement of a further lockdown due to infections dramatically on the rise across the country and news of needless public unrest and protests in Washington – incited by their own president! As they say ‘things can only get better’ and hopefully they will as the year progresses. We are thankfully able to continue with our current schedule of public masses but I need to stress that as much as we want you to join us for mass you should only do so if you feel that it is safe and appropriate for you to do so without putting yourself or those you live with at risk.

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Lord’s Baptism in the River Jordan by John the Baptist marking the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. As we reflect on the meaning of our baptism into Christ we recognise how important our faith is to us especially at times of need such as this. Let us continue to pray for each other and witness to Christ in simple practical ways during this year.

Sadly last week Terry Gawne the former Senior Diocesan Surveyor who acted as part time clerk of works here at the Cathedral in the years following his retirement, died suddenly last week. Over the years Terry became a source of information on the inner workings of the Cathedral and we will miss that working knowledge of the building and his wise advice on maintenance schedules and development projects. One of my lasting memories was of Terry coordinating the lifting of the glass structures into place on the Cathedral precinct in 2012 with a team partly made up of German engineers who couldn’t speak a word of English. We had the English crane operators below and the German fitters on scaffolding above and Terry directing operations in the middle through gestures and shouts. It was remarkable how he managed to coordinate the whole operation. He will be sadly missed by staff and contractors who work at the Cathedral.

The work to the Cathedral organ is due to start within the next couple of weeks, although we are still awaiting confirmation of the start date. This will involve the extraction of a major part of the instrument over a two week period. I was at first worried that we would just be looking at an empty void above the Blessed Sacrament Chapel for 12 months while the work was taking place off site. But we have now been reassured that at least some of the largest pipes will remain in place which should mean that on the surface we will not see much difference except that the parts that you see of the instrument will not be able to make any sound. Regardless of this the Sunday evening service of Choral Evening Prayer will restart and be available online from this Sunday evening as well as the live streamed Mass at 11am.

Canon Anthony O’Brien
Cathedral Dean