A safe space to reflect

June 14, 2020

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Winchester Cathedral is looking forward to welcoming people through its doors again with phased re-opening plans. The cathedral building will be opening on Tuesday 16 June, following the Government announcement that church buildings can begin to open, for supervised individual prayer.

The Dean of Winchester the Very Revd Catherine Ogle says:

‘We are longing to see the cathedral open again and to offer a warm, safe welcome to everyone who wants to come inside. In times of uncertainty and anxiety the cathedral offers a much needed safe, sacred space. We all have a unique experience of lockdown. The cathedral space can hold every emotion that we carry and is a perfect place for both prayer and reflection.’

This is the beginning of Winchester Cathedral’s re-opening plans. Starting with individual prayer and reflection in the nave of the cathedral, which will involve limited opening times and social distancing measures, to ensure a safe experience for everyone. The Cathedral shop will be opening on the same day, again with measures in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit. Then, in line with government guidance, the Cathedral will be moving towards being fully open to visitors.

Although the building has been closed since Monday 23 March, the Cathedral has continued to be alive and active, supporting the community in new ways, throughout the pandemic. This has included daily video reflections from clergy and members of the community, to online services through zoom. And this will continue. Not only for the vulnerable or those not yet ready to visit, but for anyone who wishes to join in the Cathedral community, from any location. People from as far as New Zealand and Ohio, have been joining regular zoom congregations.

While the online channels will remain in place, the cathedral building, is an essential part of our local and national life. The building carries the story of the nation in its stone, wood and glass. The Dean comments:

‘The Great West Window is a sign of hope in the ability of our community to rebuild and heal. After the desecration of the Civil War the current window was created from fragments of broken glass. We are resilient and can rebuild after the most terrible suffering, with the support of one another. The cathedral looks to the future, with faith, hope and love.’

Details of re-opening plans, opening times, guidelines and safety measures, can be found on the Cathedral website. People are encouraged to check the website before visiting and follow @WinCathedral on twitter for latest updates.