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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 22nd August 2021 Posted on Saturday 21 August 2021

Changes on the way

In a few weeks time we return to a more regular timetable for Cathedral Services and general opening times of the building. Many things will return to normal but not everything will be the same as before. Many of our attitudes and behaviours have been changed as a result of the last fifteen months, some may be slowly discarded and others we will want to retain.

This last week we have received communication from the Diocese regarding significant changes suggested for deanery structures which will impact on the relationships between all our various parishes.

We are still awaiting the announcement of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan following the recent Diocesan Synod which will set the roadmap for the way ahead for the Diocese. This will be announced at the beginning of Advent.

Our focus here over the next few months is simply to try and ensure a smooth transition back to regular services within the Cathedral and Crypt and gradually expanding the range of activities that we have always been used to having within the life our Cathedral.

One of the legacies of the pandemic has been that businesses, places of work and other public buildings have had to review the amount of space and flow of air within their buildings to ensure peoples safety with many having to make changes for the future. Remarkably for us here at the Cathedral what was in the past a cause of occasional complaints and comment has now become a positive factor. By this I’m referring to the draughts that blow through the interior space within the Cathedral.

All those years feeling the cold air at Mass in late autumn and winter will now seem a bit more bearable as we have our own inbuilt supply of fresh air to add an extra element of safety within our building! I will need to remind myself of this when I’m standing on the sanctuary feeling the cold air blowing down my neck in a few months time.

Another positive impact of the pandemic has been that many more people have used the Cathedral Precincts for walking and exercise or just sitting enjoying the space and the views and architecture all around. The positive in this is that it is great to see more people enjoying the Cathedral and its environs. However, there are the occasional downsides as well as positives. The first being that unfortunately there are a minority who just leave rubbish strewn around the site without any consideration of the impact on others and respect for the environment. The other is a consequence of the recent Olympics and the growing popularity of skateboarding and BMX biking. Despite the growing acceptability of these as recognised sports they can leave damaging scars and make their mark on public sites such as ours. It would help if there were more specifically designated areas which are purpose built for these sports.

As we enter the final period of the schools summer holidays I hope that the weather improves for our families and children to enjoy time outdoors.

Canon Anthony O’Brien
Cathedral Dean