As a change from more familiar names and faces – welcome to some of the regular congregation of St Martins Cathedral in Leicester. Here we are gathered on Saturday morning 14 February, for a briefing from head verger, Peter, as we prepare to get going on ‘love your cathedral’ day.
Because now the builders have moved out, there’s an awful lot of dust around the place. Not just from the last 6 months, but from the previous several decades – at least if you go up 12 metres or so to the roof timbers – where several spiders from the last century had clearly left their webs. So alongside professional cleaners with cherry pickers, we mobilised the congregation with their dusters for a day of polishing, cleaning and dusting anything and everything accessible from ground level. And with soup brought in by some, and elbow grease by others, a great time was had – and it all looks much shinier and newer than before!
Which is just as well, because at choral evensong on Sunday afternoon we admitted five new Honorary Canons – a sort of cloud of holy well-wishers, in non-ecclesiasntial terms. This included my admirable clergy colleague Alison Adams, who sits in the desk opposite me, and as Social Responsibility Enabler has recently steered through the impressive and sobering report of the Bishop’s Poverty Commission. There was also a good and varied spread of lay canons – from the vice-chancellor of Loughborough University to a recent High Sheriff, and the (fairly) new Diocesan Director of Education (welcome Bob, Sally and Carolyn) – and to the mingled amazement and delight of her family and friends, the irrepressible Mads Morgan – until recently diocesan youth officer, and now one of three full-time pioneer ministry enablers in the diocese. If you know her, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
All of that happening in a cathedral which now opened up looks larger, and more cathedral-like – and gratifyingly just like the computer images said it would, only somehow more so.
On Friday we took delivery of stands for the two banners donated by the local branch of the Richard III Society. Here’s one of them with Sally Henshaw, branch secretary.
Meanwhile Sunday had opened for me with a round-robin of local BBC Radio stations, as this week we had also announced more details of the reinterment ceremonies, including the appointment of local firm Adkinsons as funeral directors to the King. Add to that a morning service at my local church, St Andrews, followed by a baptism full of eager but mostly new-to-church adults, and it was a pretty full day – just for a change (not).
And in the week got to bless a new children’s area in the said St Andrews, at the wonderfully named Teddy’s singalong. You’ll see why from the picture here.
So it’s not all Richard III. But, to be honest, at the moment it mostly is.