the value of touch

rcmedia-pics-Tactile3-340x390-1I had the great privilege of being at the cathedral this evening to view the Value of Touch exhibition and for the service of dedication for the bronze tactile plate which Wendy Daws has been creating over the past three years.

The bronze touch interpretation is an amazing work of art … as you would expect as Wendy is an amazingly creative artist.

Good things were said tonight about Wendy’s talent and her desire for justice and accessibility of art and creativity for those with sight impairment. During my time at the cathedral I was fortunate enough to see some of Wendy’s work … but this bronze plate … which you MUST visit to touch …. it is amazing!

I could say more for how touch is important on so many levels as it speaks on a different league of acceptability and compassion … but for now I just feel really honoured to have shared in this tonight.

Thanks Wendy and Helen for the invite …. it was great to be there.

Jubilee mosaic

As an alternative to my Olympic postings, Im excited to share that Rochester Cathedral will be hosting Helen Marshall’s Jubilee Mosaic.

I’m looking forward to seeing this which opens on wednesday until the 19th August. If you plan to come and see it between 13th. and 19th. why not give me a shout and we can catch up over an amazing Deaf Cat coffee!

Hero or Zero

There is a great and free event coming up at the cathedral … well in the Garth, the cathedral garden. The play, ‘Charles Dickens – Hero or Zero’, is a new play written by Alis Hawkins.

Our publicity says: Charles Dickens – great man of nineteenth century literature, social reformer, outstanding example of the Victorian family man – in short, a National Treasure. But National Treasures have private lives and, in Dickens’ case, he made sure it stayed private.

So, imagine what would happen if the real Charles Dickens were to appear before a live studio audience to be interviewed, if his family and friends were to paint a picture of the real Charles Dickens – flawed father, flawed husband, flawed man?

Be part of the LIVE audience – listen to those who knew Charles Dickens best, and see episodes from his life. Seeing both the best and the worst of the author you thought you knew, at the end you will have the opportunity to cast your vote – was Charles Dickens, hero or zero?

There are only 4 chances to see this … you want to make sure you are there on one of them!

a new era

Mark Beach was installed as Dean of Rochester today … quite a lot of excitement after a very long wait. It was a privilege to be present today and to start to learn about where we may be going as a cathedral.

It’s a big job and a lot of change, not only for Mark but also for Annabel and Ellie … so if you are the praying type of reader of this blog, please join us in praying for the family to settle into a different life … and to experience the blessing of God in new and fresh, and maybe even unexpected, ways.

Welcome Mark, Annabel and Ellie … good to have you here!

great expectations

Last night was a pretty special night in the cathedral that I had the pleasure of attending. As part of the Dickens 200 years celebration, the BBC screened the classic 1946 David Lean’s Great Expectations staring John Mills and Alec Guinness.

The BBC had also invited some celebrities – Hayley Mills, Brenda Blethyn, Robert Powell and Ron Moody who was a joy to listen to as he joked about being a little tired of being asked, at 88 now, to sing ‘you’ve got to pick a pocket or two’.

The BBC took all day to set up (the screen was amazing!)  so we also had the delight of the crew working with us throughout the day and it was a bit of a surreal day going about our normal business in the cathedral and bumping into one of the above stars or the BBC SE news team.

The pictures of the event can be seen here and you can just make out the balding head of me in the bottom right hand corner of the pic I’ve posted. As I tweeted earlier in the day … sometimes there are real bonuses to being based at a cathedral!

new dean

The big news around here today is the announcement of the new Dean of Rochester; Revd. Dr Mark Howard Francis Beach.  The announcement was made on the number 10 website and is also reported here. This morning and cathedral and diocesan staff were invited to the cathedral at 10.30 to hear the announcement and meet the new dean.

It’s all very exciting to see things moving on and I look forward to working with a new dean when he starts in May. In his intro the ‘dean elect’ stated that ‘cathedrals are beacons of our faith and places of welcome and sanctuary from the busy world. In the present economic environment this becomes even more important and I hope that together we can continue this openness to the church and the world’. That’s a pretty exciting vision to hold to and one that all gere would want to actively support.

Welcome to Rochester. If you are the praying kind please join us in praying for Mark and his family as they prepare to leave Rugby and join us in Rochester.

dickens and decks

so … that was Dickens, when we saw an amazing 19000 people pass through the cathedra! That’s quite a few!!!

The team I worked with were excellent, and at times we had people queuing for hand or foot massages and Jesus Deck readings. The experience was such a humbling privilege as we engaged with many people on various levels from talking about the beading, to joking about Christmas, to praying for some form of healing.

One person I will remember for a while was a distressed person shaking with fear who needed help. We simply prayed for God’s peace and this person became calm almost instantly which shocked her and her family. It was a delight to see.

The weekend has again left me with far more questions and frustrations than answers. I guess the main frustration is how we seem to just scratch the surface with most of those 19000 choosing to walk past the stand, many even refusing to make any form of eye contact. I wonder whether a part of that is a fear of not wanting to engage with something of the ‘unknown’.  My question, which I guess is closely connected, is why God seems to connect with some people and not others.

Other questions which came up which I’d like to investigate sometime revolve around the whole idea of what people think they are doing in their actions. One of the team, Nathan, was reflecting on people lighting candles and asking what, in their mind, are they doing or trying to do? It’s an interesting thought as we heard people use language like ‘pray properly’ and ‘make a wish’   and ‘thats for uncle Albert’. The action of lighting a candle is certainly helpful, and thousands were lit this weekend, but it is interesting maybe to consider what is actually happening here for various people.

Anyway … the weekend is over, the Dekhomai stand is packed away, we continue with Advent and welome Christ into our lives again …


Dickens Dekhomai

This weekend is the Dickens Festival again in Rochester when thousands of people descend upon Rochetser from all over the country, and even the world, to ‘celebrate’ Dickens and his works.

WE expect around 8000 people to pass through the cathedral today and amongst our normal services and carol services we also attempt to engage with people again this year through our Dekhomai (greek translation: ‘the welcoming place’) as part of our Benedictine tradition of hospitality.

Today we will be be offering Jesus Deck readings, Prayer discussions, prayer for healing, hand and foot massages, the making of prayer beds, blessings as well as simply a place to chat. In other parts of the cathedral there are opportunities to light candles for people you may wish to remember.

So … if you are in the cathedral today … be one of the 8000 and pop in. Please say hello – even if it looks like we are busy it would still be great to say hi. If you can’t make it over the weekend, please hold those working in the cathedral in your prayers and especially those on the Dekhomai stand who seek to be a blessing and a help to those who come to us.

whistle down the wind

This is coming to the cathedral in September on the big screen.
The cathedral is a great setting to show a movie and I am looking forward to watching this classic is such amazing surroundings.
Why not contact Lynne for a ticket as I reckon they will go quickish.

mission shaped cathedrals

Mission Shaped Cathedrals Project Introduction Movie from Episcopal Village on Vimeo.

A little while ago Karen Ward asked if I would be interviewed and talk about what I do to be used as part of an introduction to a mission shaped cathedrals project in America. This is the video that was put together skillfully by Tim and used at the conference.

The video features people at 3 cathedrals: Steve Clarke at Gloucester, Sue Wallace at York and myself. I think it’s a good video which gives a good account of what we are trying to do.