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Cathedrals and their opportunities

12 December 2014


Sir, - The reason that cathedral attendance midweek has increased (News and Comment, 28 November) is that many parish priests cannot offer services on red-letter days because of other commitments.

Some parish clergy have several churches to look after, and consequently weekday attendance is low and discouraging. Other clergy may be NSMs with a day job that demands their attendance, or they may have other posts in the diocese, requiring time and energy. They, therefore, for whichever reason, feel unable to offer weekday eucharistic worship.

Cathedrals generally have a pool of retired clergy living locally, together with ordained cathedral staff, and can manage weekday services with varied timings, to suit both retired and working communicants. They are also able to "man" their cathedrals with guides to encourage the sightseeing visitor. Group visits increase numbers when some of the group attend a eucharistic service.

The changes are basically social: more retired, older churchgoers with time; fewer full-time parish clergy.

I am thankful that I lived near enough to a cathedral to enable me to increase midweek numbers. Alas, however, the cathedral here lies in a hollow with meagre level car parking ground, and I can no longer climb out of that hollow when services have ended.

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