November & December 2023 – Before planning your visit, please check our ‘Visitor Notices’ for accessibility updates and one-off changes to opening times. Click here to view.
A BEACON OF LIGHT
Christmas message from The Dean
I want to let you into a secret that we have been guarding at the Cathedral: The Grinch (nor Coronavirus) cannot steal Christmas! As the only Cathedral in England dedicated to St Nicholas, it’s a truth we have known for generations.
Not simply because modern Christmas celebrations have subsumed Nicholas into their heart but also because Nicholas himself was always at pains to celebrate the joy, generosity and love that the birth of Christ constantly bestows upon his world and indeed even us. So, ignore the false news and remember Christmas is a time, virus or no virus to enjoy the celebration of Good news in Christ.
In the Cathedral we have been thinking hard about how to do that while remaining responsible and as safe as possible. In more normal years (do you remember them?) like churches all over, we would be hosting all kinds of groups as they joined us for Carol Services, with steaming coffee and mince pies by the thousands. In truth we had expected this year to be different as the main body (nave) of the Cathedral closed for refurbishment. Little did we know! But we refuse to allow killjoys their way. Our wonderful choir will help us stream (on YouTube) a traditional Service of Nine Lessons and Carols. Like many churches we will have our Midnight Mass and Christmas Morning Services. Even amid the (thankfully) continuing restoration works we will put out our wonderful olive wood crib made for us by friends in Bethlehem and decorate a Christmas tree. This year we will also have a series of short 20 minute Carol services, in what may be a sort of ‘carousel of carols’ on the hour every hour for a festive afternoon. Most of all we will refuse to allow the Grinch (or a virus) to stop us pausing and celebrating the most wonderful gift we know. The gift of a saviour whose name is Christ, the Prince of Peace.
You can view a full summary of our Christmas services, and details of how to book, by clicking here.
Then we will pray the year out and step into 2021 confident in God’s presence right alongside us all the way. We know many of you will be about similar things, with similar motives and similar convictions. Our solidarity counts especially at times like these.
So, to January 2021, when the contractors will have been at the Cathedral for one very long and very eventful year. Slowly, but very majestically, the Cathedral is emerging from the rubble. Its colonnades almost float on the new floor and they seem to have grown bigger, wider, even more. The building is already lighter, fresher, clean-cut and open and we are only half way there. Outside, the grounds take shape and soon the new prayer walk will be installed all around. The interpretation is taking shape and telling our story in sound and picture as well as written text. It will be magnificent and I can’t wait to welcome you into the finished, polished, restored ‘old lady’ that she will be.
But if you can’t wait that long or would like to have a ‘nifty shifty’ of the progress sooner, then we aim to open the great West doors for (socially distanced) visits on quite a few days each week in the coming weeks – see our ‘What’s On’ page for information. If you are in town, come and see, pray, worship. And please pray for us as we do for you.
With many prayers and in Christ,