There has been widespread international reaction to the killing of George Floyd by state police in the USA. It has highlighted the journey that still has to be made not just in the America, but in our own country and around the world to eradicate discrimination and racial typecasting and injustice. I enclose the statement from the Bishops Conference of England last week in relation to this incident.
“We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the USA as they challenge the evil of racism and the brutal killing of George Floyd. As the US Bishops made clear ‘we cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities and yet still try to profess to respect every human life. We serve a God of love, mercy and justice.’ Systemic racism is embedded in our own society. The disproportionate harm suffered by BAME people throughout the Covid 19 Pandemic has highlighted profound inequalities, marginalisation and injustice here in the UK. The peaceful Black Lives Matter protests that have taken place this week reflect the understandable anger that so many people feel about this.
As Catholics we recognise that racism is an evil which must be opposed; we all have a responsibility for actively promoting racial justice. Whenever we ignore racism we are complicit in violations of human dignity. We pray for God’s help to overcome racism in all its forms and that we might protect everyone who suffers its’ consequences. We are all made in God’s image”
Just before we went into lockdown I received an updated report on the work needed for the refurbishment of the Cathedral Organ and a breakdown of the revised costs. Along with this was the proposal by the appointed organ builders to suggest moving the work forward to begin towards the end of this year. Which is a year earlier than they had originally proposed. I needed a few weeks isolation to get over the revised level of costs involved- upwards of £1.2 million! This involves stripping the instrument down, removing it all to the workshop, carrying out all the repairs and improvements needed and then rebuilding it to which is estimated to be completed in the summer of 2022. There will also be the need to provide a better access into the area where the organ pipes are housed – at present you need to be a 34 inch waist or less to squeeze through the hatch at the top of a hidden ladder access. I just about manage it! This week I have to take the scheme to the Diocesan Finance Committee and if it is recommended for consideration, it will then be on the agenda for the next Trustees meeting. I have no answer to the obvious question as to how we are going to find the money to pay for this and the financial climate going forward is going to make any fund-raising even more difficult than it is already. The only counter argument I can offer is that it is only every fifty years or so that work on this scale needs to be undergone, mind you it would be cheaper to provide us all with harps!
Canon Anthony O’Brien