What are we here for?
There has been much soul searching during lockdown about the nature of what it is to be the church. There have been heated exchanges about both the importance of sacred buildings and the fact that the church is the people and not the building. Many creative initiatives have come to fruition during this time, from online worship, to zoom choirs as well as lots of outreach from faith groups in service to the vulnerable and needy. Food banks and community kitchens have burgeoned and serious attention has been paid to those who face discrimination or find themselves confronted with mental health challenges as a result of isolation and incessant uncertainty.
Here amongst the staff and clergy at the Cathedral one of the good outcomes of this period has been the opportunity to reset and re-purpose ourselves as we discern how we can better serve the wider community and our visitors. The sudden and unexpected crisis of the pandemic, together with a radical change in the way we live and connect with one another, has been a moment of truth. It has led us to consider the fundamental question: “what is our purpose and what are we here for?”
Some of that is to do with how we operate and reach out in service, welcome and hospitality but essentially it must be informed by our primary purpose as a place of prayer and worship.
It has been humbling and a great privilege to hear the stories on the lips of those who have crossed the threshold to light candles and pray over the past couple of weeks since we reopened. Both the sharing and hearing of those stories is an important part of communal healing. We have heard deeply moving stories of loss, separation and trauma alongside expressions of relief and a sense of homecoming. Some have come seeking meaning and solace, others to give thanks for mercies received and still others to allow the sacred building to minister to their souls and place them nearer to God as they try to make sense of things. It was extraordinary to witness the Cathedral resonating with prayerfulness and contemplation last Sunday. There was a quality to the stillness and silence that was tangible.
As every candle is lit and prayer offered, they contribute to the great story of this Cathedral. A place that has witnessed earthquake and fire, plagues and wars, scandals and drama throughout its long history. During it all, in the good times and the bad, Christian worship has proclaimed and enacted the enduring faithfulness of God, Yesterday, Today and Forever.
This Cathedral was built to the glory of God and stands as a beacon on the hill, witnessing to the love of God for all people for all time. The shorter Westminster catechism, approved in the month of July 1648, at a time when there was no reference to inclusive language, puts it succinctly: man’s chief aim is to worship God and enjoy him forever. This Sunday may it be our duty and our joy to worship together, to delight in Christ’s presence in Word and Sacrament and encounter the Holy Spirit moving powerfully in our midst. From that place may we continue to discern what God is calling us to do as we seek to make a difference and contribute to this significant time in the history of our world.
Worship & Mission
Resumption of gathered worship We are delighted to announce that from this Sunday 5 July, we are once again able to come together in shared worship at Lincoln Cathedral.
We will be offering a reduced number of services to begin with and hope to gradually increase these over the coming weeks.
Sunday 5 July – Holy Communion
Our first service back in the building will be Holy Communion at 9.30am in the Nave.
This week the service will include the lighting of the Paschal Candle, which we were not able to do on Easter Sunday. There will also be a special liturgy to mark the return of gathered worship.
Please read the important information below if you are attending, to help us keep the Cathedral a place where everyone can feel safe and comfortable to worship.
We understand that not everyone will be able, or wish to join us in the Cathedral for services at the moment. We will stream our 9.30am Sunday Eucharist live on our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/Lincoln.Cathedral
From Monday 6 July, our daily pattern of worship will be as follows:
Morning Prayer will take place daily at 8am in St Hugh’s Shrine.
If you are attending this service, please enter through the Judgement Door.
Evening Prayer will take place at 5.30pm Monday to Saturday and at 3.45pm on Sundays in St Hugh’s Shrine. For this service you may enter either through the Judgement Door, or the North West door and follow the one way system to St Hugh’s Shrine.
Holy Communion will take place every Sunday at 9.30am in the Nave. Please enter through the North West door.
Information for those attending Holy Communion
To allow us to observe social distancing and to accommodate as many households as possible, we will gather to worship in the Nave. Please enter through the North West door and follow the directions of stewards and the information signs in the Cathedral.
We encourage you to download the Order of Service each week directly onto your phone or IPad. You can find it on our website at https://lincolncathedral.com/worship-music/home-worship-resources/orders-of-service
This helps us to reduce the number of paper booklets produced. If you do use a paper booklet, please take it home with you.
There will be no offertory collection during services. We hope you will take the opportunity to use one of the contactless giving points or place cash offerings in the large wooden donation box at the entrance of the Cathedral.
We will not be physically exchanging the Peace during our worship and whilst there will not be any congregational singing there will be music provided by a cantor and organist.
At the administration of Communion please be directed by the stewards, use the hand sanitiser provided and observe single file, two metre distancing in the queue. You will be invited to move forward down the central aisle and return via the side aisles to observe a one-way system.
The Dean’s Verger Writes – for the final time.
So after thirty years verging on the ridiculous, the impossible but seldom the predictable, in Lincoln Cathedral, I finally lay down my verge.
The countless encounters have been, at times challenging, but on the whole a privilege. The privilege of serving in the great pile of stones which is Lincoln Cathedral is phenomenal but the privilege of meeting, working and dealing with people; the searchers, seekers and settlers, the tourist, visitor, pilgrim and the congregant, is humbling and rewarding beyond words.
Thank you for the many kind words and cards which have come our way over the past two weeks and for the support, help advice love and friendship which have been offered over the past 30 years.
I understand that it is hoped to have a get together and farewell once Covid-19 abates and we get back to some sort of normality, but wanted to express, in the meantime, my profound thanks at this special time of departure.
Pauline and Patrick join me in wishing Lincoln Cathedral a bright future as it awakens out of the Coronavirus induced hibernation.
Go well, go safe and if you ever come by Ingham there will always be a welcome.
Sunday 5 July
Fourth Sunday after Trinity
Zechariah 9: 9-12
Romans 7: 15-25a
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-end
Deuteronomy 24: 10-end
Acts 28: 1-16
2 Samuel 2: 1-11, 3.1
Luke 18: 31-19:10
Sunday 12 July
Fifth Sunday after Trinity
Isaiah 55: 10-13
Romans 8: 1-11
Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23
Deuteronomy 28: 1-14
Acts 28: 17-end
2 Samuel 7: 18-end
Sunday 19 July
Sixth Sunday after Trinity
Isaiah 44: 6-8
Romans 8: 12-25
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Deuteronomy 30: 1-10
1 Peter 3: 8-18
1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:16-28
Acts 4: 1-22