"THIS cathedral will regenerate Wakefield in a way that nothing
else can - it takes us to the heart of our human lives and our
human community," the Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen
Platten, said in his sermon for the rededication of Wakefield
Cathedral in March this year.
The redevelopment of the cathedral's nave was completed on time,
thanks to a legacy gift of £125,000. Fund-raisers had run, swam,
abseiled down the cathedral spire, and shaved off their hair to
make the project happen, but one individual's commitment to the
life of the cathedral ensured that the visionfor its redevelopment
became a reality.
Project 2013 aimed to "return the nave to the people of
Wakefield", both restoring its heritage and modernising and opening
up the space to make it available not only for church use but for
other groups in the city.
The pews were removed, and the floor of the nave was replaced
with new Yorkshire sandstone, incorporating a labyrinth as a focus
for prayer and pilgrimage. Underfloor heating was also installed,
as well as a new lighting scheme and sound system for the
enrichment of worship, and secular events.
The nave and aisles now look as they would have done in the 15th
century. All internal walls have been cleaned, repointed, and
conserved; so the history and beauty of the stone can be seen.
Legacies play an essential partin ensuring that the work of
churches and cathedrals continues, contributing £44.8 million to
the Church of England's income. In 2011, 4085 legacies were
received, and the average amount given was £9850.
Many more cash gifts (pecuniary) than percentages of estates
(residuary) are received: 83 per cent are pecuniary, and 17 per
cent are residuary, compared with an almost 50-50 split between
pecuniary and residuary giving within the charity sector.
Regular donations on stewardship principles (or tithing) are an
established part of Christian giving. But the legacy and funding
officer of the Archbishops' Council, Eleanor Gill, says that if
this idea were also applied to legacies, it would have a huge
impact on what the Church could do in the future.
"If we apply the principle of proportionate giving to legacies,
the number of residuary gifts would increase, and, within ten
years, the Church's legacy income could double."
To that end, Ms Gill runs workshops for dioceses and cathedrals
on legacy giving, and offers training on how to raise the subject
with congregations. "We encourage all of our churches to engage
with and discuss the importance of writing a will, and how gifts in
wills can make a significant difference to church life."
For more details, phone Eleanor Gill on 020 7898 1564, or