SEE US IN A NEW LIGHT
Re-opening the Cathedral for worship
The Very Revd Geoff Miller, Dean of Newcastle, writes:
In these somewhat grim times, maybe like me you could do with some more positive news. I hope this latest update from the Cathedral might just have at least a small dose of welcome information.
I hope that many of you will have been able to keep abreast of the refurbishment developments. A couple of weeks ago we held an exclusive behind the scenes day of tours and over 80 folk joined us. I hope that their ‘R’ rate in sharing what they witnessed was high. It was a good day and great for us to share a very messy building site of a Cathedral but with an emerging dignity and beauty. The capital works progress well though, as you would expect, there is likely to be a delay in the original projected completion date. Further tours are planned for the near future and some include an opportunity to chat with our Archaeologist and watch a stonemason demonstration. Meanwhile as I write we are waiting for BBC Look North to transmit a short report on its evening news which will allow quite a few folk to catch the magnitude of our project. Their presenter was almost beside himself with excitement.
Finances continue to be challenging though I am acutely aware of people’s generosity both in their regular support and their gifts to the project development. We have just heard that we have received support grants from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Cathedrals’ Sustainability Fund to add some new resources to coping with the present times. This along with a super grant to support the Choir during COVID has been most welcome. Ironically because of the nature of the grants it will mean that in these troubled employment times we will be able to appoint some extra staff even if for limited time contracts.
Many of you I know have been enjoying our online worship and we have been thrilled to welcome our Choir back into action including streaming Choral Evensong on three occasions each week. Many already join us for Morning Prayer each weekday, for evening reflections mid-week and a lovely morning service each Sunday Morning followed by ‘Zoom coffee’.
However, I save the best news until last. After much consideration, after taking advice and developing complex ‘risk assessments’, I am now in a position to tell you that we hope to re-open the Cathedral for worship on All Saints Day 1 November. I say ‘hope’ because things change so fast that we cannot be definite as we navigate the future together. But we expect to begin worship on Sundays and though it will of course be different it will be open for congregants to join us by booking a place. We are delighted and really look forward to welcoming folk back into the Cathedral to worship together. More details of proposed times of Services and how to book a place will be announced soon.
Of course, some people will feel unable (at least for now) to physically join us and so we expect to continue streaming services for people to watch from home. Arrangements for Zoom Coffee will be announced as soon as we can. The important message from me is that it will be wonderful to see those who can join us and yet really important that everyone is as safe as can be. If you can’t make it (or shouldn’t) please help us continue to keep in touch with you.
So, it is time that I got back to imaging how we can celebrate Christmas and prepare for a new year. I remain hugely grateful for so much prayerful support. I hope, like me, you remain positive even in difficult times. I am thrilled with how the capital works progress and so looking forward to introducing you and many others to the Cathedral as its ‘nip and tuck’ is completed. She will be beautiful.
With many prayers and in Christ,