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I’ve been at the cathedral for nearly six weeks, and of course much of that time has been taken up by our response to The Queen’s death and funeral. Talk about in at the deep end! But it has meant I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the ‘shop floor.’ It’s been fascinating to talk with not just our own team and folk from the congregations but some of the many, many people who’ve come into the building. From this unexpected, unprecedented experience I’ve learned two things.
First, I’ve learned something about the cathedral community and what a blessing it is to be a part of it. Over those ten days people rallied round, working above and beyond – staff, volunteers, those who came to services, those who prayed at home. It was the cathedral at its best, keeping itself at the spiritual and emotional heart of Wakefield just as it is in the district’s physical centre. Thank you to everyone who played a part in it.
Secondly, I’ve learned something about how the cathedral is seen by the wider Wakefield community. On the day of the funeral nearly two hundred people came to watch parts of the service on the live-stream. Two thousand five hundred people signed the condolence books, which means (given couples and children, as well as those who came to services) somewhere between three and four thousand people came through the building in those extraordinary ten days. Regular worshippers, occasional poppers-in, first-time visitors; some knew why they were here, others just felt they should be somewhere. Many were struggling either with the news itself or their own bereavements which had resurfaced because of the national emphasis on grief. All of them felt the cathedral was a place they could come to.
This leaves me with a question. How we can build on this sense of connection so that people encounter not just a welcoming and safe building, but a living God who welcomes them too?
With prayers and best wishes,
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