A Message from the Dean

A MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN OF WINCHESTER

22 September 2020

‘Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus’  Phil 2: 5

Dear brothers and sisters,

These are uncertain days.  Some aspects of life continue to recover, and it’s a great joy that gathered worship and even choral music can take place again, with great care.  But the spread of the coronavirus continues and ‘the rule of six’ has come into force in order to lower the R rate. In response to the pandemic we can anticipate continual change for some time yet.

The writer of the Letter to the Philippians urges us to imitate Christ and let his mind grow within each of us.  The key to this happening is humility.  Imitating the Saviour, God’s Son, who emptied himself and humbled himself to be born in human likeness.

Humility sometimes gets a bad press.  In Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield the character Uriah Heap who portrays himself as very ‘umble’ is in fact bursting with venal self-interest and aggrandisement. True humility is very different.  It’s a virtue both beautiful and timely.

Humility is the opposite of arrogance.  Humility teaches honesty and enables us to learn, listen and adapt.  In the current crisis humility may actually save lives.

St Benedict founded a religious order with a Rule that has gone on to shape the lives of countless people over 16 centuries and is ‘perhaps the greatest sustained attempt to encourage and enable people to grow in humility’[1].  Our own Winchester Cathedral Foundation has roots in this order and Rule.  Benedict seeks to embed a profoundly down-to- earth attitude.  Humility is about the soul and the body. The derivation of the word ‘humility’ is the same as ‘humus’, the organic component of soil. Humility brings us down to earth and back to reality.

As we approach Winchester Green Week 2020 perhaps we do so with greater humility.  In lockdown when travel and industrial activity reduced or ceased, we saw how the natural world recovered.  It has been abundantly clear how human living is connected with every living thing and the future of our planet.

If you would like to reflect more on humility and how we connect with one another and with the earth, I warmly recommend a forthcoming online Winchester Cathedral Lecture to be given by The Revd Dr Stephen Cherry, Dean of Kings College, Cambridge on 29 September.  Stephen Cherry is author of ‘Barefoot Disciple’, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2011.  I do recommend the book, which is both highly readable and profound.

Later this week everyone who is on the Cathedral Community Roll is warmly invited to attend the annual Community Meeting to receive the annual report.  There will be an illustrated reflection on the past year, a presentation of the accounts and current financial position, and plans for sustainable recovery.  The Zoom room will be open on Sunday 27 September from 11.45am for a 12.00 noon start and the meeting will finish at 1.00pm. Please use this link to join on Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85070341866?pwd=QVJ5ODc0L1FQWm9wVnNqVUQ1bDZwUT09
Do please join me and Chapter for this important time together.

While the cathedral was closed, a faithful, and world-wide, praying community formed at Zoom Evening Prayer and in fellowship time together afterwards.  Now live-streamed Evensong and Evening Prayer is happening in the cathedral again, a post-service Zoom room will be opened for conversation and fellowship.  This begins on Wednesday 23 September:
https://zoom.us/j/945682864?pwd=Q3EyY0l6LzcyY1lDam9yaWk2RXhyQT09
Everyone is very welcome to join.

Please continue to take care of yourself and others.

I’ll close with a prayer of William Barclay (1907 – 1978)

O Father, give us the humility which

realises its ignorance, admits its mistakes

recognises its needs, welcomes, advice, accepts rebuke.

Help us always

to praise rather than to criticize, to sympathise rather than to condemn

to encourage rather than to discourage, to build rather than to destroy,

and to think of people at their best rather than at their worst.

This we ask for thy name’s sake.

Amen.

With blessings and best wishes,

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle

Dean of Winchester

[1] Stephen Cherry ‘Barefoot Disciple’ Continuum 2011 p38

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15 September 2020

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May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  Romans 15:13

Dear brothers and sisters,

As cathedral life continues to slowly recover, and Sunday congregations increase, so we have now seen the return to Sunday worship in the spacious beauty of the Nave.

The reopening of worship has been gradual and it’s marvellous that this week we reach the milestone of the return of the cathedral choir.  After a six-month gap the beauty of choral music will once again resound around the ancient stones, to the glory of God and the delight of God’s people.  The musicians have been greatly missed in their absence.   I would like however to record grateful thanks to Lucy Hole who has made a beautiful and inspirational contribution to services as cantor.

Weekday Choral Evensong will be sung at 5.30pm except Wednesday.  Now that services are livestreamed, people will be able to join in worship, live from the cathedral, anywhere in the world.  Full details of services can be found on the Winchester Cathedral website.

Cathedral clergy, staff and volunteers have become used to continual change in order to work within safety guidelines.  This takes meticulous planning and careful thought.  So people and processions spread out to achieve social distancing, children will move and sing in ‘bubbles’ and the cathedral choir will take different configurations.  The pattern of activity for robed Minister at the Eucharist changes substantially or subtly and we try not to make mistakes.  After preaching on Sunday I descended the pulpit steps, only to realise that I needed to go back again in order to retrieve my face mask.  I hope that I didn’t cause alarm. (‘Surely, she’s finished hasn’t she?’)

Gathering together again around the Nave altar was a source of great, and unexpected, joy for me.  In my experience joy cannot be sought, but simply comes when it comes.  Joy is a gift, to be treasured and enjoyed.  It’s been a pleasure to see the return of the choristers to The Pilgrims School and to see (and hear) the joy of their reunion and singing practices.  We can anticipate the joy that the girls and adults will likewise share.  I do hope that you may share in this joy.

I close with a prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson asking for happiness, serenity and joy.  It’s interesting that he sees Christian virtues as infectious.  As we continue to protect ourselves, and others, from the Coronavirus it’s good to be reminded that we are also called to ‘pass on’ to others the gifts we have received of love, hope and joy.

Please continue to take care of yourself and others.

Grant to us, O lord, the royalty of inward happiness,

and the serenity which comes from living close to thee.

Daily renew in us the sense of joy,

and let the eternal Spirit of the Father dwell in our souls and bodies,

filling every corner of our hearts with light and grace;

so that, bearing with us the infection of good courage,

we may be diffusers of life,

and may meet all ills and cross accidents with gallant and high-hearted happiness,

giving thee thanks always for all things,

Amen.

With blessings and best wishes,

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle

Dean of Winchester

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8 September 2020

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And now faith hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

1 Cor 13: 13

Dear brothers and sisters,

Our Calling and Vision booklet sets out the developing cathedral mission and vision and what we believe about the place of the cathedral in our city, diocese and nation.  I feel inspired and encouraged each time that I read it.  You can read it again, here.

These past few months have seen changes affecting everyone personally and globally, in every aspect of life and in each moment of each day.  In the cathedral, as in every family and workplace we have been re-thinking, anticipating and responding to the needs of each day.  There is still much that is unknown.  Someone has said that it still feels like we are travelling through a fog.  Unsure when it will lift, we move ahead with limited vision and not certain of what is ahead.

In times like these it’s really good to have a sense of direction and destination.  During recent months the Calling and Vision and the cathedral values have proved their worth.

The cover of the Calling and Vision booklet has a sub-title: ‘Looking to the future with faith, hope and love’.  This is so timely.  In the midst of change and so much that we can’t control, these are the unchanging and utterly reliable gifts of God that both energise us as we journey, and in which we can rest secure.

Meanwhile, the daily life of the cathedral continues to develop, gradually, with the return of congregations and visitors to our buildings and with many volunteers and staff able to take up their roles. It’s a great pleasure now to anticipate the presence of the cathedral choir again in the next few weeks.  This too will be gradual, allowing for training and the development of safe patterns for live, choral singing.  I know that worshipping with our wonderful musicians again will bring great joy to us all.  They have been much missed.

Finally some news of an accolade for the cathedral.  The Kings and Scribes exhibition has won the award to Most Improved Heritage Development at the recent UK Heritage Awards.  The judges said, ‘This inspiring and educational experience offers visitors the opportunity to learn all about the significance of this historic building within the wider story of English history.’  Congratulations again to the great team of people who enabled this wonderful development and to all who work now to enable the public to enjoy Kings and Scribes.

Please continue to take care of yourself and others.

May the Lord show you the greatness of his goodness,

that you overflow with thanks every day.

May the Lord bless you abundantly with rest for the heart,

strength for virtue, wisdom for life, and patience in suffering.

May the Lord bless you with joyful hope,

and one day with the inexpressible joys of eternal life.

Amen.

With blessings and best wishes,

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle

Dean of Winchester

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1 September 2020

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‘Thus says the lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age.  And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.’  Zechariah 8: 5

Dear brothers and sisters,

Holy Scripture offers many vivid images of the life of justice and peace in Gods Kingdom. Some of the most tender involve children.  The Prophet Zechariah gives us a picture of city streets safe and open for both elderly people and children at play, a picture of peace and harmony.

In contrast, the children in our villages, towns and cities have not been playing indoors or outdoors as before with their friends for several months.  Playgrounds were closed. Some children have been able to run around in their gardens and public parks, but for many, life has been cramped and confined physically and socially.  Some children have had near-full curriculum with home schooling and teaching online, others have fared much worse and learning has faltered.  Although less vulnerable, on the whole, to the effects of the virus, the long-term impact of these strange times may fall with disproportionate weight on our children.

In a book titled ‘Children in the Bible’ Anne Richards explores scripture in relation to children and how they are fully part of the people of God.   She offers a rich and deep picture of children standing right at the heart of Gods purposes for the world in which Wisdom is imagined playing and delighting in the world (Proverbs 8:30 -31).  Whilst Jesus’ adult friends seek to shoo children away, he puts children at the centre of his attention and blesses them.

As children prepare to return to school next week, prayers will be offered at the cathedral for them all and that they may be able to learn and play again, in safety.  We will be praying for head teachers, teachers, support staff and chaplains and everyone responsible for teaching and supporting children in learning.   Please pray for the children in your family and on your street.

Children are not simply the future, they are also God’s blessing now.

Please continue to take care of yourself and others.

Loving God,

Your Son loved all children

and set a child before us as example;

we pray that children and young people everywhere

may have the opportunity to learn, play and grow,

firm in the knowledge of your love,

in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

With blessings and best wishes,

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle

Dean of Winchester

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25 August 2020

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After months of lockdown and ‘sameness’ some of us have been able to get away over the summer.  Perhaps you have now been able to make a longed for visit to family or friends, perhaps you have even been away for a summer holiday.

I was fortunate to be able spend a week, with my husband, in rural Suffolk.  We stayed in a converted barn on a farm and were able to meet up with family (outdoors and socially distanced) and, at long last, after months of absence, to see my Mum in her Care Home.  The staff of the Home have made heroic efforts to keep residents in good health and it was an enormous relief to see her safe and well.

The Suffolk countryside is rolling and gentle with a wide and open horizon.  We took walks through picturesque Suffolk villages with duck ponds and thatched cottages, and alongside fields of golden stubble, already harvested of grain.  In the heat of late summer, the countryside seemed to be at rest, all was ‘safely gathered in’.  In all the changes we’ve experienced, it was moving to see the reliable rhythm of farmers working the land to produce a harvest.

Throughout my time in ministry I’ve found it very important to take holidays and to give time for re-creation.  The rhythm of rest after labour is Sabbath at the heart of creation.  The ancient wisdom of Saint Benedict encourages this rhythm and, I find, is vital for physical and mental health.

Taking a break from diaries and appointments helps me to treasure the gift of time, and spend time in different ways.  A vacation can help in the understanding of vocation.  Understanding our own nature is the work of a life-time and sometimes taking time-out gives new insights and new perspectives.

I realise that some people don’t enjoy taking holidays, and find them to be just another source of stress or anxiety.  There can be many reasons for this.  But whether or not you can take a holiday this year, you may be able to set aside time for re-creation, rest and new perspectives.  Spending time differently may lead you to a renewed and refreshed understanding of your calling in life.

It’s really good to see visitors return to the cathedral and for cathedral congregations to safely share in Sunday and midweek worship again in the cathedral.  If you are not able to come in person you are warmly invited to join livestreamed worship and Zoom Evening Prayer (both on the cathedral web-site).

Please continue to take care of yourself and others.

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle

Dean of Winchester

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18 August 2020

This week’s message comes from Vice-Dean and Canon Chancellor, The Canon Reverend Roland Riem

Dear Friends

We feel for people who had to cut short holidays to escape quarantine. Their plight highlights the urge we all feel to be free of our familiar horizons, to enjoy new experiences and make happy memories.

Breakout is an entirely understandable reaction to lockdown. There have been vastly increased numbers of picnickers around the Cathedral, for example, who we are now asking to use the Outer Close rather than disturb the calm of the Inner Close.

But things aren’t back to normal yet. Many people find themselves working from home, spending a lot of their time parked on a chair looking at a screen. The rhythms of the day are covered in a blanket of sameness where one task feels pretty much like the next. It can be very hard to feel any sense of achievement.

I am speaking firstly for myself of course, which is why I have spent a lot of time pondering about what it means to live in the present as fully as possible. Within limited, habitual horizons can we be satisfied?

The Benedictine monks of Winchester, enclosed within the Priory of St Swithun, had nowhere to escape. They held an ideal which deserves a second look. They imagined their life’s journey to be upwards, towards heaven. The way that they were going to flourish in close quarters was to climb a ladder.

In the Cathedral today many cherish the ideal of the Benedictine welcome, but the Benedictine ladder is less well known. The ladder linking heaven and earth, according to St Benedict, has some strange properties. First, you go up the ladder to heaven by descending, by growing in humility. Second, it is a ladder whose two sides are made of body and soul. The journey into humility involves using both body and soul to make progress.

A ladder fits on a very small spot indeed, and the more stable it is the easier it is to climb. That is why the monastic life is framed so closely, to focus completely on the journey from earth to heaven. Each monk had to find a way upward within their community and especially within their cell, where the only company was God.

Whether we think of ourselves as religious or not, the ideal of growing where we are planted, like a sunflower, rooted in good soil, stretching up to the sun, is a picture worth pondering. Getting away from it all has its attractions and benefits, but humility grows from finding fresh resources to meet our everyday constraints and commitments.

John Keble, a vicar of Hursley in the 19th century, famously put it like this: ’The trivial round, the common task, will furnish all we need to ask, room to deny ourselves, ­­— a road to bring us daily nearer God.’ The ladder of humility can find a very solid footing on the ground of the ordinary tasks and routines which fill the days of the Covid-restricted.

Rather than end with a prayer this week, here an artwork by Sophie Hacker for contemplation. It highlights the narrow plane of our growth upwards, and hints at the divine light falling on us, which brings about the growth.

The Reverend Canon Dr Roland Riem

Vice-Dean and Canon Chancellor

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11 August 2020

This week’s message comes from Vice-Dean and Canon Chancellor, The Canon Reverend Roland Riem

Dear Friends

As temperatures soar, the usefulness of church buildings as havens of calm and cool becomes obvious. Some visitors to the Cathedral from across the Pond have even remarked on our excellent air conditioning!

Air conditioning, along with wiring and storage space, was sadly not top of the list of specifications for a Norman cathedral. We are grateful, though, to Bishop Walkelin and his crew for building with massive stone walls, able to absorb the heat of the day and cast it out later, like a giant storage heater.

Church buildings are not supposed to be important. When the Church began, the living stones of the Christian community were the focus. The reason for this was partly practical: the first Christians met in house groups. And it was partly theological: the way to heaven was guaranteed by Christ’s death rather than Temple sacrifice. Buildings, therefore, were not seen as foundational for living faith.

This is not how it feels now to those who visit Winchester to admire the Cathedral. Architecture and history are important, as well as the spirituality of the place. Visitors light candles and pick up on the building’s peacefulness as much as they learn about Queen Emma or Perpendicular Gothic. As Philip Larkin put it in his poem Church Going, ‘It pleases me to stand in silence here; A serious house on serious earth it is, In whose blent air all our compulsions meet, Are recognised, and robed as destinies.’

That is why the work of the Hampshire and the Islands Historic Churches Trust is important. It offers grants for the repair, maintenance and development of around 900 historically noteworthy churches in the County. Most of its funds are raised through the annual Ride and Stride, which takes place in September, this year on Saturday 12th, when people will be sponsored to walk or cycle around a circuit of churches, among other activities.

This year things will have to be different, with many registration points set outside the churches. The invitation remains the same, however, to take up whatever sponsored activity you like to help raise funds for the upkeep of historic churches, to maintain them as part of the social fabric and as focal points of our best aspirations.

If you would like to volunteer to support HIHCT in any way, please contact our local rep, Nicola Rule, nicola.rule7@btinternet.com, who will be delighted to hear from you. There has been talk of our new Digital Marketing Officer, Joe Bailey, running between churches. I look forward to running vigorously and vicariously through sponsoring him!

Church buildings could play a significant part in our search for a ‘new normal’. Larkin was right: they are places where our values and desires are tested and, where necessary, realigned. Their architecture is designed to lift our spirits from the mundane ordinary, and their history gives us a sense that whatever the high fever of the present struggles, there is a bigger and more enduring context.

At the moment we are learning to re-use these buildings. Masks and sanitiser are the order of the day. But people can still come in to wander, wonder and find a door into a more beautiful and profounder world, where we can all inhale the cool, calm air of wisdom.

Ending on a sad note, I must report the recent death of our Head Server John Weatherley, a man who loved the Cathedral and its ritual, a firm and frank seeker after truth with an engagingly dry sense of humour. Many will miss him greatly. Our condolences and prayers go to his wife Lillian and their family.

The Reverend Canon Dr Roland Riem

Vice-Dean and Canon Chancellor

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04 August 2020

This week’s message comes from Vice-Dean and Canon Chancellor, The Canon Reverend Roland Riem

Dear Friends

Not only the Cathedral but many other places of worship have, in the last month, begun to invite people through their doors again. Worship needs people as much as sports events need crowds. Whatever may be happening on the pitch, track or table, and whatever the significance of the event, it’s just not the same without people coming together.

Christians would say that this togetherness is made by the Holy Spirit flowing between and among people. In worship they catch from each other the sense of joy, peace and love flowing through the community, which is as much a part of worship as any words spoken or actions performed from the front.

We are delighted that we can begin to come together again for worship because we realise how much we have missed being together, giving and receiving, listening and responding. Even socially distanced in our bubbles, wearing masks and not being allowed to sing, we can still share a space in which the Spirit flows among us.

There is nothing more important to the Christian community than these rich, deep interpersonal dynamics. Everything else set in place around the institution of Church is meant to defend and encourage them. This includes the legal structures which regulate our life. Doing things legally should mean doing things which best support people flourishing together, united in faith, hope and love.

The Cathedral currently needs to make small but significant changes to its Constitution and Statutes. These fit with wider changes, currently being drafted in a new Cathedrals Measure, to ensure that cathedrals across the land are as robust and resilient as possible. Cathedrals are becoming more like charities in how they are governed.

In this week’s Hampshire Chronicle you will find Notice given of the draft Instruments which will allow these changes. The object is to replace the post of Receiver General, so ably filled for the last twelve years by Annabelle Boyes MBE, with two posts, a Chief Operating Officer and a part-time Chief Finance Officer, as well as to allow an increase in the number of lay members of Chapter (the Board), which would widen its skills base.

You will find the draft Instruments themselves and the background documents at the Cathedral Entrance Desk in hard copy and on the Cathedral website, by 6th August. If you have any difficulties finding them, do phone the Dean’s PA Gill Jarvis, 01962 857205. Please remember that the changes are being made to guard and enable the free flow of the Spirit who binds the community together as one body united in the love of Christ.

One of the most powerful of the Collects from the Book of Common Prayer reminds of the primacy of the loving flow of the Spirit:

Lord, you have taught us that all our doings without love are nothing worth: send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, the true bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whoever lives is counted dead before you. Grant this for your only Son Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

The Reverend Canon Dr Roland Riem

Vice-Dean and Canon Chancellor

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28 July 2020

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‘But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the father will send in my name, will teach you all things…’
John’s Gospel 14:26

Dear brothers and sisters

I’ve written recently about disciples being those who listen and learn. Some lessons take years, perhaps decades.

This week we mark the anniversary of St Ignatius Loyola, who, with six companions founded the Jesuit order in 1540. When I was a little girl I was taught to say his prayer by heart: ‘Teach us good Lord, to serve thee as thou deservest…’ Perhaps you know it too. I loved the words and the tongue-twister experience of reciting them aloud, with others, in school assembly. Of course I had absolutely no idea of what they might mean. But some lessons only gain meaning later, when life and understanding catch up with the learning.

The prayer is about selflessness and love, about sacrifice, dedication and service. These profound human choices and motivations come to make sense as we gather life experience, learn and grow. The prayer (in full, below) has been lived out in recent months in hospitals and care homes and in the lives of public servants and our neighbours. As we await the development of a vaccine and, for the meantime, learn to live alongside the coronavirus, let’s pray that we may all continue to think of others, be less selfish and more willing to serve.

Some lessons however, need to be learnt quickly. During the last few months the Cathedral clergy and staff have been learning how to share faith, community and worship online, in order to connect with people in their homes during lockdown. We have learnt a tremendous amount about how to do things, and now we would like to invite feedback about the effectiveness and value of what has been offered. Your thoughts would be much appreciated. I would be very grateful if you could take a few minutes to fill in an online survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/B583CXZ

Finally, and very sadly, in the past week, the Cathedral has lost a faithful and talented servant. Simon Barwood joined the cathedral community in 1997 as Lay Clerk, singing in the cathedral choir, and then joining the communications team, working particularly with media, public relations and filming Simon died last week after suffering a cardiac arrest. Simon will be deeply missed by friends and colleagues and our deepest condolences go to his husband, and family in their shock and loss.

Please continue to take care of yourselves and others.

The prayer of St Ignatius Loyola:
Teach us, good Lord, to serve thee as thou deservest.
To give and not to count the cost.
To fight and not to heed the wounds.
To toil and not to seek for rest.
To labour and not to ask for any reward
Save that of knowing that we do thy will.
Amen.

With blessings and best wishes,

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle

Dean of Winchester

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21 July 2020

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Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’…

John’s Gospel, 20:18

Dear brothers and sisters

The cathedral month of July is a rich time of saints’ days, worship, celebration and the sad sweetness of choristers moving onwards into the next stage of their education.

This year saw the transfer of much of the worship and celebration online, including farewells to the Tom Burden, Head Master of The Pilgrims School as he leaves to commence training for ordained ministry in the Church of England. Modern technology enabled Cathedral Canons to share lockdown experiences of ministry; the community to receive the Bishops Annual Charge; and families to hear wonderful end of year concerts. All the elements were there, but arranged in a different way.

This year for the first time I realised a connection between the cathedral story at its east and west end. At the east end shrine of St Swithun, the kind and humble bishop and saint, we are reminded of the miraculous mending of broken eggs. At the west end, the great West Window shows us a wonderful mosaic created from glass deliberately broken by soldiers during the Civil War. Two significant stories of mending what was broken. The resources were all there, needing to be put back into place, perhaps arranged in a different way.

It is wonderful to have shared acts of worship taking place again (with social distancing) in the cathedral, though as yet without congregational or choral singing. As we move into the Autumn, hoping to see continued recovery, we do so in the confidence that we too can be put back together again. We intend to continue offering online worship, through live streaming and Zoom and will introduce services and activities gradually, as these become possible in terms of both safety and resources.

This week, on 22 July, we celebrate the Holy Day of St Mary Magdalene, a broken woman, healed and put back together again by Jesus Christ. Mary was healed of ‘seven devils’, most probably referring to a type of mental illness. She was there at the cross, discovered the empty tomb and was the first person to meet the risen Christ (Matthew 28:9; John 20:11ff). Our own Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, 1619 – 1626, who oversaw the translation of the King James Bible, refers to Mary with her ancient title of ‘Apostle to the Apostles’. In a sermon preached to King James 1 and his court, Andrewes talks about Mary being sent by Christ with the Easter good news. Mary went to find and carry a dead body, but she meets the risen Lord who asks her to carry his gospel instead. Jesus asks her to go and share his good news, ‘and with the very touch of this report you shall work in them a kind of that you see in me, a kind of resurrection from a doleful and dead, to a cheerful and lively estate.’

May we, like Mary Magdalene be those who bring good news and work with others to bring healing and wholeness in our communities.

Please continue to take care of yourselves and others.

Almighty God
in Christ you make all things new;
transform the poverty of our nature
by the riches of your grace,
and in the renewal of our lives
make known your heavenly glory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our lord.
Amen.

With blessings and best wishes,

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle

Dean of Winchester

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14 July 2020

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‘What can be sweeter to us, dear brothers and sisters,

Than this voice of the Lord inviting us?’

The Rule of Benedict, Prologue

Dear brothers and sisters

In this extraordinary year we achieved another ‘first’ on Sunday as the cathedral community received the Bishops Charge via Zoom.  The Liturgy of the Foundation, within which we receive the Bishop’s Annual Charge is one of the most significant occasions of the year.  Together we reflect on the privilege, calling and responsibilities that God places upon us as members of the cathedral community.

This year it felt particularly powerful to see the faces of the assembled cathedral people accepting the tasks of stewarding the cathedral through another year, a task both demanding (especially given the present circumstances) and yet ‘sweet’ according to St Benedict.

Benedict wrote his ‘simple’ Rule ‘for beginners’ reminding us that we always have a great deal to learn.  The first word of Benedict’s Rule is ‘Listen’ and the two-part liturgy gave a great opportunity for listening and learning.  We learnt from young cathedral members of their experience of lock-down, of learning and socializing over Zoom and of spending more time at home and with family.  One chorister parent said, ‘We’ve been learning how to live with one another, which has been good – and hard.’ This sounded authentic to me.  Learning to live with one another, can be at the same time one of the greatest sources of joy and satisfaction, and also very hard!

During the pandemic I have learnt afresh how interconnected the world is.  We are fragile creatures in a world with multiple vulnerabilities including healthcare, the economy and the environment.  It’s a hard task, but absolutely good and vital that we learn to live together as one human family, caring for one another and our home planet.

Bishop Tim reminded us that in the face of major challenges, that ‘shake the foundations’, we have the deep security of being held by God’s Holy Spirit.  The same Spirit that holds us safe also gives us the capacity to be renewed.  We have hope, because of this security and this promise.

The first part of the Liturgy of the Foundation Service remains on the cathedral web-site and I do recommend that you watch the Bishop’s sermon and the testimonies of the young people and their families.

This week sees the celebration of our Patron, St Swithun and the end of term.  Please pray particularly for the girl and boy choristers who are leaving us, that wherever life takes them, they may remain close with God.

Please continue to take care of yourselves and others.

Defend O Lord, your servants with your heavenly grace,
That they may continue yours for ever,
And daily increase in your Holy Spirit more and more
Until they come to your everlasting kingdom.
Amen.

With blessings and best wishes,

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle

Dean of Winchester

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7 July 2020

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Dear brothers and sisters

It’s a great joy that, once again, gatherings for worship, with safe social distancing, are taking place in the cathedral.  As we gradually take steps towards recovery, from the effects of the Coronavirus, the resumption of the Eucharist brings an end to a fast both from the sacrament and from community gathering.  Perhaps, like me, you have felt a hunger for both.

The ancient cathedral has seen suspension of public worship before. A dispute between King John and Pope Innocent III banned all services in England between March 1208 and May 1213.  Centuries later the storming of the cathedral during the English Civil War disrupted worship for several years.  The cathedral has stood and withstood through war, plague and desecration.  A few months of silence is tiny in the perspective of eternity but it’s so good to hear prayers, scripture and organ music echo against the ancient stones again.

As people came forward to receive the host into outstretched hands, I carefully followed instructions, placing the tiny circle of wafer without making physical contact.  I wondered how many people coming forward have not touched, or been touched by, another person for months.  Yet, in contrast, that tiny circle of wafer, the body of Christ, was given to be touched and taken and eaten. God gives himself to us, without restraint, so that we may become more like him.

The elements of bread and wine are made from wheat and grapes, once scattered, then gathered in.  The Eucharist gathers scattered people into one body and then sends them out again to be Christ in the world.  It was intensely moving to be part of the re-introduction of gathering for worship in the cathedral.

As we look to the future it’s with awareness that the economic effects of the pandemic will be harsh and particularly so for a growing number of unemployed, disadvantaged and poor people.  I hope that we will continue to be hungry for justice and a sharing of the good things and opportunities that we richly enjoy.

The Eucharist will be offered in the cathedral on Sundays at 8.00am and Wednesdays at noon. Returning to the building won’t mean however an end to our online worship.  Having experienced the benefits of worshipping with people, in their homes, from all parts of the world, we intend to continue to do this alongside worship in the cathedral.

Next Sunday 12 July sees one of the highlights of our shared life with The Liturgy of the Foundation and the focus on our calling as cathedral within our Benedictine foundation. This will be celebrated online and in two parts.  First a recorded Service at 10.00am and then a community meeting on Zoom with The Bishop of Winchester for us to receive his annual Charge.  Members of the community roll will have received an invitation.  I do hope that you will join with me and Chapter in this annual commitment.

Thank you to those who sent donations following my last letter.  During this time of financial challenge any donation large or small is significant and very gratefully received.

Please send a cheque to ‘Winchester Cathedral’ to me at Cathedral Office, 9 The Close, Winchester SO23 9LS or make a donation on the Cathedral Just giving page https://www.justgiving.com/deanchapterofwinchester

Or contact fundraising@winchester-cathedral.org.uk for advice about donations, standing orders and legacies.

Please continue to take care of yourselves and others, I end with the Prayer of St Benedict:

Gracious and Holy Father,
give us wisdom to perceive you, intelligence to understand you,
diligence to seek you, patience to wait for you,
eyes to behold you, a heart to meditate upon you
and a life to proclaim you, through the power of the Spirit
of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen.

St Benedict c480 – 547

With blessings and best wishes,

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle

Dean of Winchester

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30 June 2020

Please click here for the audio version.

Dear brothers and sisters

At the beginning of the year I started to keep a diary.  The purpose was not to record the events of the day but to reflect on learning and to articulate what I’d learnt each day.  But would there be something each day?

Well, little did I know, just how much the coming year would offer by way of opportunities for learning!  With the arrival of the Coronavirus and its effects on most aspects of life, there has been no shortage of new challenges and certainly something to learn every day.

The origin of the term ‘disciple’ comes from the Latin for learn, ‘discere’.  A disciple is a ‘learner’ and being willing to keep learning is key to the life and pilgrimage of faith.  Remaining open to learning can be challenging, but the effort is worth it.  The gospel is good news and there is always something new to learn and experience on the path of faith, hope and love.

Openness is one of the Cathedral’s three key values.  Openness includes being open to listen and learn.  This is influenced by St Benedict’s teaching at the very start of his Rule of Life: ‘Listen, my children, with the ear of your heart.’

In the three months since the start of lock-down there have been many lessons to learn.  Everyone is vulnerable to catching Covid-19, but now I know that some are more vulnerable than others.  Issues of human worth, interconnectedness and justice are now coming to the fore particularly in terms of racial justice and care for the environment.  It seems to me that the challenge for those of us who are less vulnerable, or more protected, is to listen to the cry of the poor and of those who have been denied justice, to listen with the compassionate ‘ear of the heart’ and to learn from the mistakes of the past.

I look forward to finding out from you what you have learnt during lock-down and the lessons that emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic for you, the Cathedral, and the world.

The Liturgy of the Foundation this year will be in two parts.  First a recorded Service at 10.00am on Sunday 12 July and then a community meeting on Zoom with Bishop Tim to receive his annual Charge.  We will then have time together to reflect on Coronavirus lessons, I do look forward to seeing you there.  Members of the community roll will receive an invitation.  (If you are not yet on the community roll it’s not too late to go to the cathedral, pick up a yellow form, and join!)

It is wonderful to see the cathedral open again every day 10.00 – 3.00pm for private prayer and reflection.  Please come in, if you are able.  We are working to bring back live and gathered worship as soon as it is safe to do so.  We intend to continue online worship for those unable to come to the cathedral.

Thank you to those who sent donations following my last letter.  During this time of financial challenge any donation large or small is significant and very gratefully received.

Please send a cheque to ‘Winchester Cathedral’ to me at Cathedral Office, 9 The Close, Winchester SO23 9LS or make a donation on the Cathedral’s Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/deanchapterofwinchester

Or contact fundraising@winchester-cathedral.org.uk for advice about donations, standing orders and legacies.

Please continue to take care of yourselves and others,

O Lord our God, grant us grace to desire you with our whole heart,
so that desiring you, we may seek and find you;
and so finding you, may love you;
and so loving you, may hate those sins
which separate us from you,
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
(after St Anselm 1033 – 1109)

With blessings and best wishes,

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle

Dean of Winchester

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23 June 2020

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‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’

Confession of St Peter, Mt 16: 16

Dear brothers and sisters

For the last three months during the closure of The Cathedral Office at No. 9, I’ve requisitioned the historic Long Gallery in the Deanery as work space.  this is usually a place for entertaining guests and holding social gatherings.  Now temporarily taken over with office equipment, books and papers it’s still a beautiful light room overlooking the Inner Close. Working here has helped me to feel connected with both the outside world and the spiritual history of the cathedral. Much of the stained glass in the Gallery is mosaic, but some is complete, including this fine shield, my daily companion.  The keys and sword represent two of our cathedral patron saints, Peter and Paul.  You can find many examples of this shield in the stone, glass and wood of the cathedral.

The festivals of Pentecost, beginning with St Peter and Paul (29 June) including St Benedict (11 July) and culminating in St Swithun (15 July) are usually special summer opportunities for beautiful music and liturgy, celebration and reflection, parties and community building.  We reflect on our community life with the Liturgy of the Foundation and The Friends Evensong, and we celebrate the achievements of the girl and boy choristers with Prizegivings.  The College of Canons gathers for St Swithuns Day and we enjoy of feast of music with the Southern Cathedrals Festival.

This year, under very different circumstances, we will continue to celebrate these occasions using the resources that we have available.  I do hope that you will all join in the Liturgy of the Foundation on Sunday 12 July.  The recorded liturgy at 10.00am will be followed by a live Zoom ‘Charge’ (act of commitment) and community gathering.  I do hope that you will take part as much as you can, marking these significant occasions.

Both St Peter and Paul, pillars on which the church was built, were men of extraordinary ability and strength, and both prone to personal weakness.  This should be a huge encouragement to us all.  God knows and loves us as we are, including our strengths and weakness.  Each of us is capable of great things for God in the future.

During the coronavirus crisis we have seen much heroism and self-sacrifice.  Perhaps we have found previously unrealised strength in ourselves, perhaps we have also found weakness.  Be assured that God knows and loves you as you are now.  God also knows your potential.  Weak and strong, we all have a part to play in creating the future and the ‘new normal’ for our communities.

It’s been wonderful to see the cathedral open again every day 10.00am – 3.00pm for private prayer and reflection.  Please come in, if you are able.  Your safety remains our highest concern and if you want to find out more about safety procedures in place, please visit the cathedral website. The Daily Reflection continues and Evening Prayer takes place daily on Zoom.  Please join us online for the Eucharist for the Feast of St Peter, which will be live on our Facebook page and YouTube channel at 10am Sunday 28 June.

Thank you so much to all of you who have continued to give to the cathedral, throughout this pandemic, through bank standing orders.  Thank you to those who sent donations following my last letter.  During this time of financial challenge any donation large or small is significant and very gratefully received.

Please send a cheque to ‘Winchester Cathedral’ to me at Cathedral Office, 9 The Close, Winchester SO23 9LS

Or make a donation on the cathedral Just giving page https://www.justgiving.com/deanchapterofwinchester
Or contact fundraising@winchester-cathedral.org.uk for advice about donations, standing orders and legacies.

‘For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor rulers,
nor things present, nor things to come,
nor powers,
nor height, nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’
St Paul’s letter to the Romans 8:38 – 29

May God bless you with confidence in his loving presence, now and always,

With blessings and best wishes,

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle

Dean of Winchester

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16 June 2020

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‘How lovely is your dwelling-place, O Lord of Hosts!’

Psalm 84

Dear brothers and sisters

This week we move into a new phase in our national response to the coronavirus pandemic.  Further restrictions are being lifted and we are taking gradual steps towards, we trust, recovery.

I’m glad to say that, after three long months of closure, the cathedral building will re-open for private prayer and reflection on Tuesday 16 June.  The cathedral will be welcoming people through its doors from 10.00 – 3.00pm each day.  Safety is our highest concern and if you want to find out more about safety procedures in place, please visit the cathedral website.

It’s important to say that, while the buildings were closed, the life of the cathedral was very much open and alive with prayer throughout.  We have learnt many new things, including creative ways of reaching people in their own homes, sharing worship, building community and combatting isolation.  I’m also very grateful for all the new ways that The Friends have been active during this time.

We are now able to invite you into the cathedral to spend time in prayer or reflection.  We are very conscious that the last three months leave a very mixed legacy.  Some people are bereaved and feeling fragile, some are in great shape, some are wary of venturing out while others are desperate for company.  Some people have had precious family time and are sad to see it end while others are sick with worry about lost work and income.

Whatever the state of your body, mind and spirit, please come if you can.  The cathedral is a place where an encounter with truth and meaning is possible, where we can see our life in the perspective of Gods life and love, and can look to the future with faith, hope and love.

As we move into this next phase of cathedral life our Receiver General and Canon Treasurer, Canon Annabelle Boyes, has decided that the time has come for her to retire. After serving the cathedral for 12 years Annabelle will leave an outstanding legacy. She has transformed the cathedral operations while overseeing more than £21 million of major projects, including the awarding-winning ‘Kings and Scribes’.  Chapter is very grateful to Annabelle for providing recovery plans for the cathedral coming out of the COVID-19 crisis, including plans to ensure ongoing success of the world-leading Christmas Market for 2020.   You can read more about Annabelle’s many achievements here, https://www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk/cathedral-canon-begins-new-journey/    Annabelle will be leaving on 31 October and I hope that we will be able to gather to express our deepest appreciation and thanks for all that she has done.

During the closure of the cathedral, refectory, shop and conference facilities, we have had, in common with so many, a vastly reduced income from both visitors and regular donors.  Cost savings have been made where possible but, as we move into this new phase, we are facing a significant challenge of financial recovery in order to continue to sustain and care for heritage while providing ministry for local communities, the county, diocese and nation.

Thank you so much to all those of you who have continued to give to the cathedral, throughout this pandemic, through bank standing orders.  If you have been unable to donate during the closure, or are able to now give additional support, any donation will be significant and very gratefully received.

Please send a cheque to ‘Winchester Cathedral’ to me at Cathedral Office, 9 The Close, Winchester SO23 9LS

Or make a donation on the cathedral Just giving page https://www.justgiving.com/deanchapterofwinchester

Or set up a bank standing order by contacting Zoe.Seenan@winchester-cathedral.org.uk who will be able to send you a standing order mandate.

Thank you so much for the part you play in the on-going life and ministry of the cathedral.

Jesus, Lord of time, hold us in your eternity.

Jesus, image of God, travel with us the life of faith.

Jesus, friend of sinners, heal the brokenness of our world.

Jesus, Lord of tomorrow, draw us into your future.  Amen.

With blessings and best wishes,

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle

Dean of Winchester

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9 June 2020

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Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty!

God in three persons, blessed Trinity!

Dear friends

On Trinity Sunday we celebrated the marvellous ways in which God reveals himself to us in scripture, reason and experience: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God is a community of love from which love over flows throughout the universe.

Preachers find all sorts of analogies for the Holy Trinity, (including my personal childhood favourite of water, ice and steam – three states of the same matter) but essentially, the Holy Trinity is a mystery to be explored, rather than a puzzle to be solved.

St Simeon wrote, in the 10th century, that we know God the same way that someone can see the sea, while standing by the shore with a candle, during the night:

‘Do you think he can see very much? Nothing much, scarcely anything. And yet, he

can see the water well, he knows that in front of him is the ocean, and that this

ocean is enormous and that he cannot contain it all in his gaze. So it is with our

knowledge of God.’

But God wants to be known and scripture shows us God’s faithful relationship with humanity and the whole of creation revealing himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The former Bishop of Durham, David Jenkins, summarised the Christian faith in thirteen carefully chosen, simple, words:

‘God is. He is as he is in Jesus. Therefore, there is Hope.’

The world and its people, coming through a terrible pandemic, certainly need hope of healing and freedom from fear to live in community. And many people in our own land and across the world also need hope that the burden imposed on them of injustice and prejudice will change. The death of one African-American man, prevented from breathing by the knee of a police officer, has come to represent the deaths of many, provoking the cry, ‘Black lives matter’.

Jesus lived in community with his friends and disciples, Jesus created new communities and families of love and justice in which barriers of race and background were shattered.

But racism is an evil that still pollutes the human heart and runs through communities and institutions. There is hope when we can recognise that people of all backgrounds are brothers and sisters in Christ, wonderfully and mysteriously made in the image of God.

God is utterly beyond us, yet we know God in Jesus Christ. I do hope that as Christians we will have the courage to ask the Spirit of Jesus to open our hearts and minds to root out our own prejudice and bias.

We are all greatly looking forward to being able to return to the cathedral to pray. Chapter has been working towards making arrangement for the safe opening of the Cathedral Nave (for private prayer only) on 4 July. With new government guidelines it may now be possible to open earlier. I will keep you informed of developments and plans as soon as these are clear.

‘Almighty God, to thee be endless honours done,

The undivided Three and the mysterious One:

Where reason fails with all her powers,

There faith prevails, and love adores.’

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle

Dean of Winchester

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1 June 2020

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‘Heaven in ordinary’

Dear friends

With the recent celebration of Pentecost, the great season of Christian festivals marking major events draws to its culmination.  Pentecost is the fulfilment of the saving work of Jesus when the Spirit, the ‘Lord of life’, is poured out to comfort, inspire and bring fullness of life.

The year moves on and now, as my lectionary tells me, ‘Ordinary time resumes’.  That may be liturgically correct, but how odd it sounds.  Surely, nothing about these days could be described as ordinary!  Easter and Ascension have been celebrated in lockdown and 50 days after Easter, restrictions are easing, but we still celebrated Pentecost from our own homes.  Churches are locked and there is little at the moment that feels ordinary.

Little is ordinary in our streets, in our places of work or our places of leisure and recreation.  Life still requires extraordinary measures to keep one another safe, and many are living with extraordinarily demanding conditions at home or extraordinary commitments of caring for, or serving, others.  I do hope that you are well and able to keep in touch with family and friends, and with the Cathedral.

Nonetheless, we are indeed in the ordinary season of the church year, the season that takes us from after Pentecost to Advent.  It’s the longest season and it’s given to learning about the life and ministry of Jesus.  It’s a season of green vestments, symbolising growth and learning.  This year we come to ‘ordinary time’ with new eyes, because of recent experiences.

Perhaps, like me, living a rather restricted life has caused you to value ordinary things more.  As John Keeble wrote in the hymn New every morning is the love, the ‘trivial round, the common task’ has had to suffice and has, rather surprisingly, furnished all that was needed.  With fewer opportunities to actually meet people, a phone call, letter or chance meeting (socially distanced) in the street have meant more.  It feels so good when someone asks ‘how are you?’ and cares about the answer.  When neighbours take time to stop and speak with one another and offer help. When customers thank shop assistants.  When ‘ordinary’ work, paid and unpaid, is recognised as essential.

Jesus spent most of the first 30 years of his life living and working in Nazareth.  The ordinary seems to have been good enough for him. Then, in his public ministry Jesus taught about God’s kingdom in terms of yeast and seeds, cooking and hospitality, farming and fishing and how the ordinary things of life convey God’s love.

George Herbert’s beautiful sonnet Prayer explores the purpose of prayer and what it achieves with many rich images and metaphors.  He includes the lines:

‘…Exalted manna, gladness of the best,

Heaven in ordinary, man well drest…’

The ordinary may contain the heavenly.  The driving force of Pentecost is that God wishes to live with and in us, transforming our daily lives.  More than ever, we need his gifts of love, joy and peace for ourselves and for our communities.

We are currently hoping, dependent on Government guidance, to open the cathedral for private prayer and reflection in early July.  Recorded Sunday worship resumes from this Sunday and we will live stream as soon as possible.  Daily reflections and Zoom Evening Prayer will continue www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk  Please do keep in touch and please do take care.

I pray that you will know the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in ‘ordinary time’ and in these extraordinary days.

Almighty God, source of the whole world’s life;

by your life-giving Spirit, draw us into your truth,

give us courage, insight and love,

that we may worship you in our daily living.

Through him who has led us to your heart of love

even Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Amen.

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle

Dean of Winchester

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26 May 2020

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St Augustine of Canterbury

Dear brothers and sisters

This is a lovely time in the Christian calendar with joyful festivals and some great saint’s days. Having celebrated Ascension Day, later this week we anticipate Pentecost Sunday and the coming of the Holy Spirit.

This week also marks a very significant milestone with the return of worship to the cathedral. The return of priests to churches and cathedrals is gradual, as part of a painstaking process to maintain safety. It has been my privilege to record worship for today, the feast of St Augustine of Canterbury. I do hope that you will join in worship through the website: https://www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk/eucharist/

Coming ‘back home’ to the cathedral after an absence of two months was a real joy. Our beautiful building speaks of eternal changelessness, yet I was also strongly aware that, since I was last in the building, much has changed in the world, and much has changed in society. I too have learnt new lessons and have changed. I was aware of carrying grief, and also hope, back into the cathedral. There has been much suffering, bereavement and loss, and the poorest in society have suffered most. There has also been much that is good: selfless and sacrificial love; acts of human kindness and communities of care. With lower pollution levels we have seen a renewal and recovery in parts of creation. I hope then, that we will not simply seek to ‘go back’ to normal, but move forward to seek a ‘new normal’ of care for the earth, and kindness and justice for all God’s people.

In the days between Ascension and Pentecost the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, leads the church in praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. Familiar words from the Lord’s Prayer that contain a profoundly radical message. Human beings easily fall into pursuing self-interest and their own personal kingdoms. But with the Lord’s Prayer we pray that God’s kingdom of justice, mercy and peace may come. In the Kingdom of God the whole of creation, the earth and its people are to be renewed in the likeness of Christ through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

St Augustine of Hippo wrote about coming to faith, in his Confessions, ‘Late have I loved you, beauty so ancient and so new…’ there is always newness to faith. I hope that each of us is ready to embrace the new gifts that God is seeking to give us, and the new things that God has to teach, so that we will be ready to play our part in the transformation of our communities and the renewal of the earth.

Come, O Spirit of God,

and make within us your dwelling place and home.

May our darkness be dispelled by your light,

and our troubles calmed by your peace;

renew, inspire and unite us with your heavenly life

that we may serve here on earth,

Amen.

Do take care and continue to stay safe,

With blessings and best wishes,

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle

Dean of Winchester

‘One Body in Christ’: You are invited to send a photo of yourself holding the message, ‘Peace be with you’ to choirs@winchester-cathedral.org.uk these will be used to show ‘cathedral people’ in forthcoming recorded and streamed Winchester Cathedral Services. It would be really good to include a wide range of people, do please send in your photo!

 

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19 May 2020

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‘Risen, ascended, glorified!’

Dear friends

This week, on Thursday 21 May, the 40th day of Easter, the church celebrates Ascension Day and the ascension of the risen Christ into heaven. Please do join in the Ascension Day Service from Winchester Cathedral, which you will be able to access at https://www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk/ascension/

When I was a parish priest in Huddersfield, the church organist delicately pointed out to me that I was choosing one hymn far too often. The hymn was ‘Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendour’ which ends with the soaring words: ‘Risen, ascended, glorified’. The hymn, both thoughtful and uplifting, reminds me that in his ascended glory, Christ is available to everyone, everywhere. As Archbishop William Temple wrote:

‘The Ascension of Christ is his liberation from all restrictions of time and space. It does not represent his removal from the earth, but his constant presence everywhere on earth.’

In days of lock-down, with the emphasis on safety and therefore the closure of places of gathering and worship, Christians have been praying at home. Winchester Cathedral has sought to respond very positively, with worship and reflection resources online; a live, remote, gathering for worship (on Zoom) for Evening Prayer; and letters to those without internet access. The 1000 year cathedral tradition of daily prayer for individual needs, for our city, diocese, county, nation and the world has continued, from our homes.

Surely, some good things are coming from this experience. As Temple says, Christ is everywhere on earth. Home is where we first learn about love, care and forgiveness. At Easter we see the risen Lord meet his disciples in domestic settings and homely ways. He visits them at home, he stays for supper and cooks them breakfast. Christ is at home with us.

Now, with the gradual relaxation of restrictions, we are preparing for clergy to safely enter the cathedral building again. Soon we will be able to live-stream a simple Eucharist. This will, in time, lead to the cathedral being open for private prayer.

It will be good to gradually see our church buildings open again. God is everywhere, and the church is people, but sacred buildings do have a particular role to play.

Our cathedrals and churches stand as icons of God’s presence. They hold the history and memory of communities and families, while enabling both grand public gathering for worship and the most intensely personal spiritual experience. In places of worship we share faith and tradition, and shape meaning together.

I’ve been reflecting on a story from the Jewish wisdom tradition:

The child of a rabbi used to go the woods each day to find God. His father said, ‘I’m glad that you are searching for God. But don’t you know that God is the same everywhere?’ ‘Yes,’ said the boy, ‘but I am not.’

As human beings we are sensitive to our environment. Entering the cathedral fills me with a sense of wonder. There, I experience my life in the context of the glorious immensity of God’s life and love. There, I am aware of the loving regard of the Creator, my significance as God’s child and, at the same time, my utter insignificance. The cathedral places my life and daily concerns in the context of the whole world and of eternity. I know that the cathedral means so much to so many. It’s hard to put into words and often moves us to tears.

God is the same everywhere, but we are not. Cathedrals and churches, forests and mountains, homes and gardens all enable us to know God more fully.

Please continue to take care of yourself and others, and stay well. Please stay in contact with the Cathedral and one another. Wherever you are:

May the risen Lord,

ascended and glorified,

be present to you now,

and at all times and all places.

Amen.

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle

Dean of Winchester

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

12 May 2020

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Dear friends

I’m sure that many of you, like me, watched the address to the nation on the 75th anniversary of VE Day, by Her Majesty the Queen. We heard the Queen speak from personal and first-hand experience of the profound joy of that day, of freedom. She spoke of the ‘great deliverance’ from total war that had affected everyone, and in which everyone had played a part.

Thanks to the Hampshire Record Office I was able to read about the response of our cathedral to the great news. On the Sunday following VE Day there were three special services at Winchester Cathedral. Dean Gordon Selwyn arranged the solemn ceremony and thanksgiving for victory that took place in the morning and the shared ecumenical celebration in the afternoon. In the evening there was an honouring of lost loved ones: the Dean invited people to bring posies of flowers to Evensong to lay in the cathedral. I was struck by the message, in the morning liturgy, that the nation had escaped the threat of slavery. The evils of the Nazi ideology, if victorious, would have taken away every right and freedom.

On this 75th anniversary parties and services could not take place as planned. Celebration and reflection moved into and outside our homes, and worship moved online and within households. This was poignant. In these days we save lives and keep safe not by military combat, but by staying indoors. Empty streets have become a sign of how well we are caring for one another.

As Government guides us, in the coming weeks, out of lockdown, we will continue to be concerned about how to take care of our own health and that of other people. The Cathedral will be following Government and Church of England instruction about the return of clergy to the cathedral and how and when the cathedral may open again for private prayer. I will keep you informed of changes as they gradually happen, and up-to-date information will be on the website.

The Coronavirus crisis has not been a war, but it has affected us all, and we have all had a part to play. We have experienced more keenly than I can ever remember, how our individual behaviour affects other people and how human society can only thrive by mutual care. The Cathedral seeks to be a ‘community of care’. Thank you for the part that you are playing, through prayer and acts of kindness, to showing and sharing care.

It took many years and great determination to rebuild the nation after the war. It will take time and determination to recover from this global pandemic. The Coronavirus has taught us that evil and disease do not respect borders; we need a big vision of human flourishing, of justice and mercy, of care for creation and peace.

Scripture gives us a great vision of human flourishing, of swords beaten into ploughshares, of justice flowing like water and of neighbours serving each other, of loving mercy and walking humbly with God. I hope that our faith will continue to inspire us in the days ahead.

I hope that in these challenging days you will feel able to support the annual Christian Aid Week appeal, this year supporting people around the world affected by Coronavirus https://www.christianaid.org.uk/appeals/emergencies/coronavirus-emergency-appeal

Her Majesty the Queen spoke of international friendship between former enemies, and so I will end with the final verse of the National Anthem. The language is of the nineteenth century, but the prayer is for today.

Nor on this land alone,

but be God’s mercies known

from shore to shore:

Lord, make the nations see

that men should brothers be,

and form one family

the wide world o’er.

 

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle

Dean of Winchester

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A MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN OF WINCHESTER

5 May 2020

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‘Let us not neglect to meet together..’ Hebrews 10: 25

These are days of social distancing and self-isolation and many of us are staying at home to keep one another safe.  In this strange season, we have no opportunity to meet up with friends or get together in the usual ways and we miss one another.

Normally, at this time of year, we gather together for the Cathedral Community Day, and consult about the life and ministry of the cathedral.  This year the normal meeting was not possible but it still felt really important to offer an opportunity to gather on-line.

I’ll admit to feeling some trepidation about this.  ‘What could possibly go wrong?’ came to mind, and I could think of a multitude of things that could go wrong in a potentially large digital meeting!  But in the event, all seemed to agree that it was a tremendously good meeting.  Thank you to the 70 – 80 who joined the meeting and the conversation.  For me, after six weeks of separation, to see one another’s faces and to hear one another’s voices brought great joy.  Some members of our community have experienced pain, illness and bereavement in recent weeks.  It was very good to gather and to pray together.

On Friday 8 May the nation celebrates the 75th anniversary of VE Day when Nazi Germany formally surrendered to the Allied Forces bringing an end to the war in Europe. The war continued in the Far East for a further three months.  After the terrors and privations of war, the street parties and celebrations of the victory in Europe were heartfelt and joyful.  In peace-time people could gather again without fear, in their homes, in churches and on the streets.  VE Day ushered in a time of national rebuilding and of hope.

Normally we would be marking this significant anniversary with celebratory anniversary gatherings of our own.  As we inch forward through this current crisis, with the hope of a gradual end to lock-down, we know that large public gatherings are still some way off.

So the cathedral will be offering a special VE Day act of worship for you on Friday through the cathedral web-site.  Although we are not able to gather together in person, I do hope that this worship will unite us spiritually and give each one of us a sense of being with others on this significant anniversary.

During the meeting of the cathedral community, several people said that the daily reflections, on-line worship and the daily Evening Prayer have brought them to a more personal sense of connection to God and the community.  It’s great that modern technology gives us new possibilities for building Christian community.  Please be assured that the cathedral will take the lessons we’re learning into our planning for the future, particularly that cathedral ministry should be available to people in their homes.

I’ll end with a prayer from the great leader of the church during the war, Archbishop William Temple. Temple’s vision of a post war society reflected the innate dignity of each person created in Gods image and influenced the development of the Welfare State in 1945.

O Lord Jesus Christ, who prayed for thy disciples that they might be one, even as thou art one with the Father, draw us to thyself, that in common love and obedience to thee we may be united to one another, in the fellowship of the one Spirit, that the world may believe that thou art Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Amen.

Catherine Ogle,
Dean of Winchester


Tuesday 28 April

Please click here to hear the audio version

Easter in a time of lockdown

Dear brothers and sisters

As the church continues to celebrate the season of Easter, I’m wondering how you are experiencing Easter this year?

Those who join us in Evening Prayer (via Zoom) are hearing the wonderful Easter stories of how the friends of Jesus met their risen Lord and come to understand the wonderful world changing event of the resurrection.  Our prayers each day are punctuated with ‘Alleluia!’

The natural world around us is bursting with new life, a visual reminder of Easter joy.  In the Inner Close the grass is verdant again, wisteria hangs in swags over the Cathedral Offices and we’re celebrating the hatching of peregrine falcon chicks.

St Augustine writes, ‘We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song.’  Christians live by faith in Gods purposes as revealed by the resurrection: that our Saviour has conquered evil and death and brings new life to the world.

Yet for me, and perhaps for you too, day to day reality doesn’t really feel like Easter. Humanity, throughout the world, faces a microscopic threat to life and we are all at risk.  Many are working with self-sacrificial dedication to save and to serve.  Many of us are feeling lonely, isolated and emotionally vulnerable.  Many have lost work and are worried about feeding their families and paying their bills.  These are challenging and uncertain days.

With closed churches and Easter celebrations taking place at home, this has been a quieter Easter for us all.  I’ve really missed the shared joy, the music and worship.  However, I’m discovering that a quieter and smaller Easter, can still be very real.  The other day Nigel Slater, the food writer, spoke about his solitary life in lock-down and that he realised he is noticing things more clearly – such as a flower blooming outside his window.  Paying attention and noticing new life and beauty may be a real source of Easter joy.

Easter is made real for us every day in the example of self-sacrificial love in our hospitals and care homes and from hearing the stories of health workers and patients.  For these people, and for all our essential workers, we are enormously grateful.  Easter is also made real in acts of kindness that we receive, from a kind letter, phone call, or even a greeting or enquiry, ‘How are you?’

Small occasions of new life and of Easter joy can transform a whole day.  I do hope that you are able to experience Easter, despite everything, and be fed and renewed to take on each day.

My prayer at this time is that as well as experiencing Easter, we might make Easter real for someone else.  That each of us may be able to offer some joy, kindness, attention and hope to someone else.

Almighty God,
You gladdened the hearts of the disciples
With the sight of the risen Lord:
Give us, we pray, an experience of the new life and hope of Easter,
that we might serve one another
and share the joy of Easter
through your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ,
Alleluia!

Amen.

The Very Rev’d Catherine Ogle,
Dean of Winchester

 


 

Cathedral Newsletter 03 2020 (PDF)

Cathedral newsletter 02 2020 (PDF)

Cathedral Newsletter 01 2020 (PDF)

 


Previous Dean’s Messages

21 April 2020

There’s a story deep in the pages of the Old Testament about facing fear.

Moses has led his people out of slavery in Egypt into the wilderness, where life was not at all as they expected. They complained bitterly about the food and water, and they spoke against God and Moses. God’s answer was to make things worse: he sent poisonous serpents among them!

Once the people realised their folly, God offered a solution. He told Moses to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole, so that those who had been bitten could look at it and live. To be cured, they had to face what they most feared.

In this Covid-19 crisis, many fears swirl in the air, such as those to do with our care homes. We are beginning to understand the fear of residents and staff, who have felt cut off and not given adequate protective equipment, and not even included in Government statistics. Thank goodness this is changing.

Fear is a basic human emotion, a natural response to danger and threat, and we need to learn from our keen sense of fear. However, we can’t be paralysed by it. Unless we face our fears, we can’t live with any degree of freedom.

As Jesus looked toward his death on a cross, a brutal execution, he remembered the story of Moses and the serpent: ‘When I am lifted up’ he said, ‘I will draw all people to myself’. He knew that what we fear above all is the poison of death; his death was going to provide the antidote to any who looked upon it.

Looking there, we see someone able to rise above suffering and pain because of his faith and trust in God, and because he believed that it was right to lay down his life for his friends. Christ was able to rise above fear to serve and save humankind.

My wife Sophie Hacker is an artist. Over the last few weeks, in response to the crisis, she’s been making a cross of recycled wood, painting it green toward the bottom and rising to gold at the top. Green stands for renewal, the renewal of creation, and gold stands for God’s glory revealed in this process of renewal.

With the Moses story in mind Sophie has added, spreading up from the base of the cross, representations of the virus, those ominous suckered sacs we see on the daily news. Though at first it might seem disturbing to have this foreign body being absorbed into the cross, it makes the same point as the Moses story. We must face what we most fear in order to overcome it, even the deadly virus.

As we do this, we’ll become better able to help others needing our care. This doesn’t mean being reckless, putting ourselves and others at unnecessary risk, but it does mean making whatever contribution we can to their health. Hats off to those on the front line; but how can we all, with more courage than fear, be key workers for the wellbeing of others?

Canon Roland Riem
Vice-Dean, Winchester Cathedral

 


 

13 April 2020 – Click here to hear an audio version.

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Dear friends

This has been an extraordinary Easter.  Our churches and cathedrals have been closed and silent.  But nothing, not even the coronavirus, can separate us from the love of God. The church, in its people, is alive and well and celebrating resurrection. Alleluia!

Happy Easter. Despite the dangers and difficulties of our present situation I hope that you experience Easter joy and hope and that you continue to do so in the days ahead.

Of course we have missed being together in our dear cathedral. Worship here has been disrupted by plague, politics and Civil War, but not in living memory.  Closing the doors of the cathedral has been a real sacrifice, but one made willingly, in order to promote everyone’s safety and to support the stay at home message. We look forward to gathering again in the cathedral, to worship and welcome, to choral music and bell-ringing, when we are able.

I’d like to share with you, if I may, some personal experiences of joy and hope in recent days, some sparks of grace.

Chapter discovered that Custos had been quietly and faithfully carving and preparing the 2020 Easter candle, though there was to be no Holy Saturday first Eucharist of Easter. So a short video was made, showing him finishing the candle and then I prayed and lit the candle from the porch of the Deanery.  This felt like a great expression of joy and hope.  Despite everything Easter happens! God brings about resurrection. We face restrictions and limitations, cancellations and postponements, but nothing cancels Easter.  Lighting the candle filled me with ‘sure and certain’ hope, for now, and for the days when we will be lighting it again in the cathedral.

It’s also been a great joy to me to see the cathedral staff and clergy, under challenging and changing working conditions, maintain the essential life of the cathedral.  We have even had a real person at the end of the Cathedral Reception phone, most days!  The challenge of offering daily reflections and Holy Week and Easter services has seen your clergy learn new 21st century ways of doing traditional things.  (Thank you so much for words of encouragement). We know that all we are learning will be helpful for ministry in the future, especially enabling those unable to be present physically to remain connected with our worshipping life.  This will continue and develop beyond coronavirus.

Finally, there is great hope for me from the growing social awareness that we are all in the same boat. Pope Francis has written wonderfully, in Urbi et Orbi about Jesus calming the storm: ‘We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disorientated.’ http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/urbi/documents/papa-francesco_20200327_urbi-et-orbi-epidemia.html  The coronavirus is indiscriminate.  Because of this there seems to be a new awareness of our common humanity, and common need.  This new sense will enable us to live with greater justice and compassion when this threat has passed. I hope so.

Please continue to keep yourselves and others safe.  Please stay connected with the cathedral and one another, until we meet again,

May the power of the cross,
the joy of the resurrection,
and the presence of our risen Lord
be with you, now and always, Amen.

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle
Dean of Winchester


Thursday 9 April

The Power of Love

Dear brothers and sisters

For Christians, these days are the most significant days of the year.  Traditionally, we mark them as ‘The Triduum’, from Maundy Thursday evening to Easter Day.  These days mark the journey in which we travel, in our hearts and imaginations, with Jesus on the way of the cross.  From the Last Supper, to Judas’ betrayal with a kiss, to arrest and trial, to carrying the cross to Calvary, to crucifixion and death, to a tomb and then to resurrection joy.

I do hope that you will be able to take this journey in company with the cathedral and the worship that is offered on-line, via the cathedral web-site.  Morning and Evening prayer is said each day, with evening prayer offered as a public on-line event.  You can find daily reflections and other short films from the clergy, a Maundy Thursday Eucharist followed by a Watch, Good Friday devotions and the Holy Saturday vigil.  On Easter Sunday, the Eucharist comes from Wolvesey led by Bishop Tim and Sally Dakin, and an Evensong is offered by English Cathedrals.  I do hope that you will take part and feel connected with others drawing closer to Jesus Christ.

Taking this journey is hugely challenging, because it opens our eyes not just to Christ’s suffering, but to suffering and sacrifice around us in the wider world. Travelling the way of the cross with Jesus causes us to become more aware of our common humanity.

On Maundy Thursday, Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment: to love one another as he loves them.  God shows us over these three days that he loves everything that he has made, completely, and invites us to live in love and peace with one another and creation.

And the lesson of Easter Day is that, in the end, love wins.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ shows us that nothing on earth is more powerful than the power of love.  After suffering and pain, after death and darkness, comes new life for the whole world.

Today, as the nation faces the threat of Coronavirus, there is much fear and anxiety, not just about illness, but about making ends meet.  People have lost work and incomes. There is nothing good about Coronavirus, but perhaps it has caused us to remember some important things that are easily forgotten.  It has reminded me that we were not made for isolation, but for relationship. It has reminded me that what we do and how we behave affects other people in very tangible ways, for good or ill.  It has reminded me that much lower paid work is absolutely vital to the health and well-being of society.  I’ve been more and more aware how much the rhythm of worship, hymns, scripture and liturgy shape my life and give it meaning.   We have also learnt vital lessons about how we can change our behaviour, so that pollution is reduced and climate disaster averted.

When we are through this pandemic, may we never forget the lessons learnt this Holy Week and Easter about our shared humanity, about self-sacrifice, and the power of love.

With blessings and best wishes

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle
Dean of Winchester


Friday 3 April

Dear brothers and sisters

This weekend, with Palm Sunday, we stand at the threshold of Holy Week and the world changing events of the cross and resurrection.  These are days when we share the deepest and most fundamental Christian memories and truths.  We take a faithful journey through Holy Week – the world begins to change because we are changed.  This isn’t difficult to do but it is deeply challenging.  We just need to journey with Jesus, and stay close by him, into Jerusalem and an unjust trial, into condemnation and carrying the cross, on to Golgotha and to death.  Then we wait.

Taking this journey with Jesus is challenging, because it opens our hearts and imaginations to his great love for the world.  As we draw closer to his suffering and sacrifice we will find that we become more aware of the suffering of our brothers and sisters.  We are drawn into Christ’s compassion.

Across the nation people have lost work and incomes.  Our food banks are appealing for more support and charities with reduced incomes are trying to meet ever greater need.  There is much fear and anxiety, not just about illness, but also about making ends meet.

I pray that we will all find a way of taking a full part in Holy Week from our own homes and be refreshed in our faith and commitment to loving our neighbour and being ready to serve and share the gifts and resources with which we have been blessed.

In the last few weeks we have devised a special ‘Holy Week at Home’ journey to support your participation in Holy Week, including locally devised daily reflections and worship from the cathedral clergy and our diocesan and suffragan bishops, and content materials from the national resources of English cathedrals.  Please join these via the cathedral or diocesan web-sites.  Try to take the journey gradually and carefully, day by day.  Each day plays its distinctive part in the unfolding drama.

During the current crisis, despite the closure of the cathedral, the centuries-old daily pattern of prayer has been maintained with Chapter meeting remotely from our homes.  We are now able to invite you to join us in Evening Prayer at 5.30pm.  Guidance for how to do this is on the cathedral web-site.  Whether or not you can join us we are here to pray for you.  You can contact us by letter or at pray@winchester-cathedral.or.uk with prayer requests and these will be prayed by Chapter in confidence.

On Palm Sunday I invite you to join worship from Wolvesey led by Bishop Tim and Sally Dakin, offered on both the cathedral and diocesan web-sites rom early Sunday morning.  I will be joining this Service remotely at 11.00am, perhaps you can too.  We will then be offering a many-voices reading of the familiar Passion Narrative.

May God bless us all during the coming week, and may we be a blessing to our neighbour in need.

Almighty God,
Whose most dear Son went not up to joy
but first he suffered pain,
and entered not into glory before he was crucified:
mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross,
may find it none other than the way of life and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

With blessings and best wishes.


28 March 2020

Dear brothers and sisters

For the first time in living memory the churches and cathedrals of the nation sit silent and empty.  For many of us this is an indescribable sadness and significant loss.  But, as the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have reminded us, the sacrifice is a necessary contribution to keeping everyone healthy and safe. By staying at home, we will be saving lives.

The good news is that the agencies, charities and institutions on which we rely are finding new ways of working.  Churches are finding creative and imaginative ways of being available, enabling prayer and worship and listening to everyone’s needs and anxieties.

Despite the closure of our building, your cathedral is maintaining the centuries-old daily pattern of prayer.  The clergy are ‘meeting’ remotely from our homes morning and evening to pray together.  Please keep in touch.  You can contact us by letter or at pray@winchester-cathedral.org.uk with prayer requests and these will be prayed by us, in confidence.

There are other new resources for you on the cathedral web-site.  Please do look out for more in the days ahead.  On Sunday, I invite you to join with others in worship led by the Bishop Tim and Sally Dakin that is offered to us on the Diocese of Winchester You Tube site. The service should be available to view from 6.00am via https://www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk/the-bishop-of-winchesters-live-communion-service

I will be joining at 11.00am, perhaps you can too.  We will be able to experience ‘spiritual communion’ with one another and the communion of saints.

Please be assured that when human touch and closeness are taken away from us God’s love is still real.  God is with you in your isolation and in your household. God is with you in your essential work or volunteering.  God is close to you when you are distanced from other people.

This weekend Passiontide begins and our focus turns increasingly to the cross of Christ and to the events of his passion. These are usually days when we share the deepest and most fundamental Christian memories and truths. I hope that you will feel able to take part and to draw strength from these memories and truths.  The world has changed around us but faith, hope and love abide.

When you feel anxious, you may like to remember the timeless words of a much-loved hymn:

Dear Lord and Father of mankind, Forgive our foolish ways!
Re-clothe us in our rightful mind, in purer lives thy service find,
In deeper reverence praise. In deeper reverence praise.

Breathe through the heats of our desire Thy coolness and thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire; Speak through the earthquake, wind and fire,
O still small voice of calm! O still small voice of calm!

With blessings and best wishes


 

25 March 2020

We are living through exceptional times.  Because of the coronavirus crisis, and the conditions needed to keep ourselves and others safe, our usual habits are challenged and our every-day activities curtailed. Thank you for all that you are doing to keep yourself, and others safe.  Thank you to cathedral staff who are adjusting to new ways of working.  I am so grateful for the spirit and values that are being lived out in our community.

Yesterday the Archbishop of Canterbury gave instructions concerning clergy staying at home.  Church buildings are now to be closed for private prayer as well as public worship.  Sadly, this means that we will no longer be able to ‘live-stream’ services for the cathedral in the morning and evening.

Chapter will continue to seek new and creative ways for us to live out the cathedral calling and ministry through these days so that prayer, community and service can continue.  Please do keep in touch and continue to send your prayer requests by letter, email or through social media. You will continue to receive regular messages and updates from me and each day there will be a new message and prayer on the web-site, recorded by one of the clergy, from home.  I’ve just recorded my first thought, from my garden.

Today is the feast of the Annunciation and we remember the love of God for the whole world.  We believe that God loves the world so much, that he wants to be with each of us, in person.  Mary said ‘yes’ to God and through the birth of her son, Jesus, God’s love is unleashed in the world.

We will need resilience, resourcefulness and patience to get through these days and weeks. My prayer is that each of us will know, personally, the comfort and peace of the love of God.  Though we stand at a distance from one another, I pray that, like Mary, we will carry God’s love and share it with others.

We are all invited by Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin, to pray the Lord’s Prayer, today, at noon:

Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come;
thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil for thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.


Monday 23 March

We are living through exceptionally challenging times due to the coronavirus pandemic.  The situation is fast moving and the conditions needed to keep ourselves, and others, safe means that our usual activities are changing. I do hope that you are adjusting to changing circumstances and keeping safe and well.

Over the weekend, while public worship is put on hold, Winchester Cathedral rose to the challenge from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to become a ‘different sort of church.’ For the first time ever we are now offering live streaming of daily services, through our own website and via Twitter and Facebook so that people can still worship with us from the safety of their own homes. I am deeply grateful to all those who worked tirelessly, and late into the night, to enable this to happen.

With contributions from cathedral clergy and the Bishop’s senior team we are also offering a daily video reflection and prayer on the web-site https://www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk/prayers-for-coronavirus/  These short films are also available on Facebook and Twitter and I recommend them to you.

These are all ways that will help you to stay connected with the cathedral, one another and with God.  We plan to offer more written resources and can also keep connected, by phone, email and letter.

As we move into this new week we’ll be continuing to develop positive responses to new challenges, including how cathedral staff can continue to work safely.  Our priority is to take care of one another and make sure that we’re offering the safest possible environment.

We will need resilience, resourcefulness and patience to get through these days and weeks.  I do hope that everyone who is self-isolating can continue to feel connected to the cathedral.  Do please send your prayer requests, for yourselves or others.  These will be prayed and placed on the altar.  For now, here is my prayer for each of us:

God of healing and hope, may this time of danger
by your Holy Spirit, bring out the best and not the worst in us.
Show us the ways in which we can share faith and love,
while standing at a distance,
and honour our connection with one another,
and with you,
through Jesus Christ our Saviour, Amen.

The Very Revd Catherine Ogle
Dean of Winchester

 


 

Thursday 19 March

Dear brothers and sisters

This Sunday, 22 March, marks two very different but significant issues.  Sunday is both the National Day of Prayer, in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, and it is also Mothering Sunday when, by long tradition, we give thanks for loving mothers (and all who have mothered us) and for the love and nurturing of Mother Church.

Although public worship is currently suspended throughout the churches, I’m very glad to say that Winchester Cathedral remains open.  You are invited to come and stay awhile in the security of its ancient walls, in which daily prayer has been said for more than 1000 years.  You are welcome to come, light a candle, and pray for all that is in your heart.

Although we are not able to invite you to public worship at this time, morning and evening prayers are being said and sung in the enclosed area of the Quire and the Eucharist is being celebrated by the ministers, each day, on behalf of everyone.  You can leave prayers in the cathedral, or send them to me, or any member of the clergy, directly, or through the cathedral office, or on twitter or through the web-site.  These prayers will be offered each day at the altar.

Please monitor the Cathedral web-site for further messages and information as the situation develops. This will be the primary way of communicating with our congregations and community.

My prayer is that Sunday may be a focus of faith, hope and love.  St Paul wrote: ‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.’

On Sunday perhaps we can all take time to thank our own mothers and the nurturing love that we have known from them and from other family members, carers and friends.  We can take time to pray for everyone affected by the coronavirus, here in the United Kingdom and around the world, for those who are isolated, lonely or anxious, for those who are ill and for those who are worried about employment and making ends meet.  We can give thanks for all who are working to take care of our daily needs and, especially, those who work in medical and emergency services.  We can pray for those who are seeking a vaccine.  The cathedral is a faithful witness to the enduring power of faith, hope and love.  These three elements provide a deep-rooted strength in which to stand strong in times such as these.

A virus is infectious in ways that are unseen but real.  I believe faith, hope and love can be just as infectious and real.  If we can be people who share kindness and care, our behaviour can be infectious in ways that bring life, comfort and joy.

I do hope that this weekend is a blessing to us all as we celebrate love and find ways to practice kindness and care. You may like to use this Mothering Sunday prayer:

God of love, passionate and strong, tender and careful:
Watch over us and hold us all the days of our life.
We thank you for mothers who gave us life,
Those by whose sacrifice and love we have been blessed.
May our lives enable love to abound in the world today
That no one need be anxious, lonely or afraid.
In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

I will be in touch again in the coming days.

With blessings and best wishes

Catherine Ogle
Dean of Winchester

 


 

17 March 2020

Dear brothers and sisters

Today the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have advised that, in the light of Government guidance around non-essential contact, public worship be suspended until further notice.  Winchester Cathedral will therefore be suspending formal public worship from tomorrow.  We will remain open and prayers will be said daily, morning and evening, by clergy and ministers on behalf of everyone.

The cathedral seeks at all times to be a community of care. At this very difficult time we will do all that we can to keep one another safe and well.  Plans for continuing cathedral ministry are being devised including the opportunity for ‘live-streaming’ of daily and Sunday worship so that you can join in at home. We will also seek to provide you with web-based and printed materials to enable you to be nourished by daily worship and ‘Holy Week at Home’.  Please contact me, or any member of the clergy, directly, or through the cathedral office if you would like us to pray for you or someone else for whom you are concerned.

Chapter extends warm thanks and appreciation to our wonderful cathedral volunteers.  Volunteers are responding to this situation, in consultation with their Section Heads, and many have decided to step back from volunteering during this time.  If you are in this situation, please do keep in touch and we’ll look forward to seeing you when it is safe for you to return.

I believe that the cathedral is called to be, at all times, a beacon of faith, hope and love and its more important than ever to be a place of continuing prayer.  Please be assured that you can continue to come to pray in the inspirational and beautiful cathedral, if your circumstances allow.

This wonderful place is a daily reminder that our nation has come through times of war, plague and destruction in the past. The cathedral is an icon of Gods loving presence, standing and withstanding, for all ages.

Please monitor the web-site for further messages and information as the situation develops. This will be the primary way of communicating with our congregations and community.

I will also be writing to you regularly with updates.

I’m writing this on St Patrick’s day and hope that his prayer will give us inspiration for the days ahead.  You may wish to say this for yourself, or on behalf of others.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

Prayers for Coronavirus

This page is dedicated to prayers, audio clips and videos for all those concerned with the current Coronavirus crisis.