A reflection from the Dean

Writing in this month's CDN, the Dean of Chester reflects on how recent events have impacted on us and looks ahead to key events at the Cathedral this autumn, including a welcome for Bishop Mark and our new ordinands. 

"I don’t know how you feel about the world’s slow rise from the burrows of lockdown that we have needed to construct for ourselves.  It seems to me that some of us have come out blinking to circulate in the fresh light of encounter with real people in real places again whilst others of us remain anxious and fearful about the dangers suspended in the air.  In July our churches began to open their doors.  In August the staycationers began to arrive in significant numbers at Chester Cathedral.  This month children and teachers return to schools.  And we will wait with bated breath to see if the R number remains below 1.0.

This all has a huge impact on our sense of who we are, our vulnerability and mortality, our relationships and neighbourliness, our willingness to interact and to assist.  The coronavirus has diminished us and what we can do undoubtedly for the time being.  Some of us will feel this more than others.  To some extent the impact is conditioned by our health, age, gender, ethnicity and wealth.  The young are hampered in their relationship building and limited in their prospects and opportunity to learn.  The aged are more vulnerable to long term and life-threatening sickness.  And we are challenged about how we take account of one another.

These are times like no other that any of us have lived through, though generations before us have known the same infliction.  It demands much of us spiritually.  There is so much that we will have been looking forward to that cannot be as we wish it were.  I am reminded that life is always a gift of God.  Every minute is just that.  We are not entitled to the time we are given.  We have not earned life.  And even when the world we occupy is reduced there is still so much to be thankful for.

Later this month Bishop Mark will begin his ministry among us but he will do so without public opportunity to occupy the seat at Chester Cathedral that belongs to his office.  On 20th September he will walk past the Bishop’s seat (or Cathedra) and receive the Melanesian Crozier at the altar here then pray for the city, county and diocese.  You can join us on YouTube but the gathering will be small.  A public and civic gathering to welcome him into this new ministry and his seat in the diocese will take place hopefully in 2021.  Our inability, to do what we would normally, captures something of the human condition we experience.

And next month I am deeply aware that our ordinands who have been preparing over the years for their ministries as priests and deacons will face a similar challenge in ordination services reduced in size.  Yet there is opportunity here too.  There will be resources to pray in receiving churches for their new ministries, to welcome them and to encourage. 

There is opportunity for us to witness here to the deep hope that is within us and pray for a healed humanity.  But it asks a lot of us all.

Tim Stratford (Dean)


Download and read the September CDN in full here. 

Join us live online to watch Bishop Mark's Crozier Service on 20 September at 3:30pm. 

Page last updated: Monday 7th September 2020 8:10 AM
Privacy Notice | Powered by Church Edit