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Wakefield Cathedral and the new normal : a message from the Dean

26 August 2020

We have been reviewing our plans for the rest of 2020 in the light of the continuing effects of Covid-19. Our starting point has been our determination to continue to serve all the city’s communities while keeping everyone safe.

The cathedral has now been open for public worship and private prayer for seven weeks. It is the city’s largest place of worship and an important venue for concerts, exhibitions, graduations and other significant community events. As the nation gradually emerges from lockdown we are continuing to adhere to the most up-to-date guidance from Public Health England and the Church of England to manage the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic. We have regretfully come to the conclusion that, in the medium term, we are unable to accommodate events inside the building that attract large numbers.

We have informed our partners this week of the need to cancel all events and concerts until the end of the year. But at the same time we are developing plans to offer a new ‘digital cathedral’ for some key events, especially during Advent and Christmas with some of the most popular Christmas Carol Services being taken online giving people an option to join in at home.

We are also developing other exciting ideas, including a possible candlelit Christmas pilgrimage around the city. We’ll be releasing more details as soon as they are confirmed. Meanwhile, Sunday services and worship through the week continue in the cathedral, and plans are already taking shape for some ticketed services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Our Precentor, Canon Leah, is leading on our plans to do things differently and has reflected on the challenges ahead:

“We have to learn the lessons of lockdown and not be afraid of a new normal. We are investing differently in order to maintain our presence here in the heart of our city. We’ll be resourcing small events, live streaming some of them, and seeking out key opportunities that will allow us to play our part in resourcing the city with what people need right now and what is important to them.

All this offers some really exciting possibilities”.

We are living through times of uncertainty, challenge and change. Covid-19 has contributed to the deaths of nearly three hundred and fifty people in our district; our economy locally and nationally is under tremendous strain; old injustices and prejudices are exposed once more; and many of our most cherished assumptions have been swept away. As a cathedral community, seeking to be faithful to God, this means that we have to re-imagine what we can do as well as what we are here for. I look forward to working with partners old and new over the coming months.

With prayers and good wishes,

Dean Simon

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