What is that? Is it some sort of code?

Actually, it is more like a filter – a way of concentrating on the most important things in day to day life. Each letter stands for a gift of the Spirit as found in Saint Paul’s letter to the Galatians Chapter 5: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance”.

William Wilberforce, anti-slavery campaigner, who the Church of England recently commemorated, used these letters as part of his daily reflection and prayers; he wrote the letters, and scored himself against each of them. Wilberforce would thank God that he had been given grace in the areas in which he had done well and ask God to help him in the areas with which he was struggling. Every day, he weighed his thoughts, words and actions against this list and prayed that through this God might help him grow to become more Christ-like.

By repeatedly focusing on this, Wilberforce made sure that his prayer life was not something that was merely personal, but practical as well, stating that: “Surely the principles of Christianity lead to action as well as meditation.” Now, I am not suggesting we should all use this technique every day, but the rhythm of prayer which pours itself out as both meditation and practice is something to which we can all aspire. Wilberforce’s yearning was to be more Christ-like and to bring about equality of the kingdom on earth to bring an end to slavery and other forms of oppression and prejudice.

This month, the Cathedral is hosting Starring Lincoln Theatre Company’s production of Oliver! which has embedded in its story child-slavery and poverty. The world has changed hugely since Oliver was first published in Dickensian England but in many ways poverty, exploitation and the slavery that William Wilberforce fought against still exist, albeit in different forms. Lincolnshire police estimate that 29.8 million people are held in modern-day slavery across the world – it even happens in Lincolnshire – and if we think more widely, debt and poverty have always imprisoned people no less oppressively than the slave-owners of Wilberforce’s day.

The realities of food poverty and the need for food banks to support so many people across the nation is an overwhelmingly tragic part of our age.  Oliver’s depiction of child poverty although different is, in fact, still relevant to our times. Currently four million children – almost a third of children in the UK – live in poverty; that is around 9 in every classroom.  This puts a huge strain on food banks all over the nation. Therefore, the audiences for Oliver! are being asked by the Starring Lincoln Theatre Company and the Lincoln Foodbank to bring food to donate over the show’s run. Please do support them either through prayer or action, so that perhaps the kingdom can become more visible on earth.

I’ll close with one of Wilberforce’s prayers; “O Lord, I know not what I am, but to You I flee for refuge. I would surrender myself to You, trusting Your precious promises and against hope believing in hope.”


Worship & Mission

Lectio Divina Bible reflection Group
Saturday 3 August, 4pm-5pm
The Precentory, 12 Eastgate, LN2 1QG
We meet to read, ponder and pray through the Sunday readings for Eucharist of the following day. All are welcome.

Saturday 3 August, 9am-9.45am
You are invited to 45 minutes of guided silent prayer in the Ringers’ Chapel of Lincoln Cathedral. No experience of contemplative prayer needed. All are welcome.

Spiritual Classics Reading Group
Saturday 10 August, 10.30am
Longland Chantry, Lincoln Cathedral
This is an open group in which members read a book prior to the meeting and discuss it together.
This month the book is The Life of Teresa of Avila by Teresa of Avila.

Sacred Space
Once a month on a Sunday at 6.45pm
This popular service is gentle and reflective with time to wonder and explore, encouraging everyone to use all their senses; it offers a different way to experience worship at Lincoln Cathedral.

The short led service is followed by the opportunity to explore a number of different prayer stations. Each service will take a different tone and explore new ways to experience faith through music, art and silence.

Dates and themes for the coming months are:
September 22 – Abundant Grace
October 27 – Saints and Sinners
November 24 – Kingdom
December 15 – Light in the Darkness

Lincoln Theological Network Lecture
by Dr Sibylle Erle
Saturday 7 September, 3.00pm – 4.30pm
Anti-Clerical Views and Theological Thought: William Blake’s Visionary Christianity by Dr Sibylle Erle, Reader in English Literature in the School of Humanities at Bishop Grosseteste University, author and co-editor of the two-volume collection titled The Reception of William Blake in Europe (Bloomsbury, 2019)

This lecture, which is on William Blake’s response to the creation story in Genesis, explores body-making in Blake’s creation myth to consider the relationship between the human and the divine.


Prayer Group
We are a very small group meeting at 2pm on a Wednesday in the Longland Chapel to pray through the cards left in the chapels. Anyone wishing to join us would be very welcome. The service usually lasts 40 minutes.

‘Travels with my Bag’
A talk by John Campbell, Dean’s Verger, hosted by the Lincoln Cathedral Retired Staff and Volunteers Group. Thursday 8 August, 10.30am, 27 Minster Yard. A perfect opportunity to meet former colleagues and make new friends. Annual membership fee £5, guests very welcome £2.


Organ Concert Series 2019
Saturday 21 September, 7pm, Charles Harrison
Friday 4 October, 7pm, Organ Extravaganza
Sunday 22 December, 5.30pm, La Nativité du Seigneur

The Hallé
Friday 27 September
The Hallé returns to Lincoln Cathedral for its popular and highly acclaimed annual concert.
The musicians will fill the Nave with the stirring and atmospheric sounds of Elgar, Sibelius and Saint-Saëns. The Cathedral is also delighted to announce the return of Sir Mark Elder CH CBE, music director at The Hallé as the conductor for this year’s performance. The Hallé will be joined by our very own Organist Laureate, Colin Walsh for a rendition of Saint-Saëns’ Organ Symphony No.3 in C minor.

Tickets are available from www.lincolncathedral.com, by calling 01522 561658 or in the Cathedral Shop. Prices start from £12.

Handel’s Messiah
Saturday 23 November
We welcome you once again to our popular annual performance of Handel’s Messiah performed by the Choir of Lincoln Cathedral and the Lincolnshire Chamber Orchestra, conducted by our Director of Music, Aric Prentice.

Tickets will be available soon – more details to follow in the next Chapter Letter.

Wallace and Gromit
Tickets for Wallace and Gromit In Concert; The Wrong Trousers are now on sale.

On Saturday 4 January audiences will be treated to five showings of the film on a big screen in the Nave of the Cathedral, and the 30-piece chamber orchestra will bring the soundtrack to life in spectacular fashion.

It’s guaranteed to be a smashing show and ticket prices start from £6.

Bible Readings

Sunday 4 August
Seventh Sunday after Trinity

Sung Eucharist
Ecclesiastes 1: 2, 12-14
Colossians 3: 1-11
Luke 12: 13-21

Song of Solomon 5: 2-end
2 Peter 1: 1-15

Genesis 50: 4-end
1 Corinthians 14: 1-19

Sunday 11 August
Eighth Sunday after Trinity

Sung Eucharist
Genesis 15: 1-6
Hebrews 11: 1-3, 8-16
Luke 12: 32-40

1 Maccabees 14: 4-15
2 Peter 3: 8-13

Isaiah 11: 10-end of 12
2 Corinthians 1: 1-22

Sunday 18 August
Ninth Sunday after Trinity

Sung Eucharist
Jeremiah 23: 23-29
Hebrews 11: 29-12.2
Luke 12: 49-56

Jonah 1
2 Peter 3: 14-end

Isaiah 28: 9-22
2 Corinthians 8: 1-9