January - Chester Cathedral
Canon Jane Brooke writes:
A favourite book of mine as a child was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
so I was more than delighted when Helen Barber suggested that the cathedral produce an
exhibition showing parts of the book over Christmas.
It is an exciting, imaginative book set in another world which deals with trust, betrayal,
hope, courage, sacrificial love and life after death. Aslan, the lion - who has been depicted
at the entrance of the cathedral in a large, reclining, golden carving - is an image of Christ
and so God. The book offers us many insights into the nature of God. Here are three:
Firstly, it is concerned with how humans respond to hearing the word ‘God’ spoken aloud. When the children
first hear the name of Aslan in the book, even though none of them have heard about Aslan before, they all
respond differently. It says,
“And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but
the moment the Beaver had spoken his name everyone felt quite different. At the name of Aslan each one of
the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly
brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by
her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realise that it is the beginning of
the holidays or the beginning of summer.”
Secondly, we understand that God is not in our pocket, God does not wait simply for us to make requests or
commands. We are not at God’s beck and call. At the end of story, Lucy watches Aslan walk away into the
distance and sadly she asks if she will ever see him again. She is told,
“He'll be coming and going. One day you'll see him and another you won't. He doesn't like being tied down and of course he has other countries to attend to. It's quite all right. He'll often drop in. Only you mustn't press
him. He's wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.” Our God is not ‘tame’.
Thirdly, God is a God who, although within, is also set apart from our comparatively safe world. When the
children first hear that Aslan is a lion they are concerned and ask, ‘Is he safe?’.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he
isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
God is neither tame nor safe but God is good and God is the king. This children’s book along with the whole
Narnia series offers us many other insights into our relationship with God and the nature of God.
As we look back at 2014 - at the deaths in Iraq and elsewhere, the ebola outbreak, areas of poverty and other
world-wide issues - we remember to trust in our God who is good, our God who is king but our God who is
neither ‘safe’ nor ‘tame’. We look forward to 2015, in the hope that we have the courage to take risks, to make
changes, to show God’s love and so to bring forward God’s kingdom in this world.
Loving God, king of the universe, thank you for all the blessings you have provided in my life. Give me courage, to take
risks to reach out into the local community and into the world so that others may understand and know the blessings that
your love brings, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Worship in the cathedral
08.30 Morning Prayer
St Anselm’s Chapel
St Oswald’s Chapel
(11.30 on Thursdays)
17.30 Choral Evensong
09.30 Morning Prayer and Eucharist
St Werburgh’s Chapel
16.15 Choral Evensong
08.00 Prayer Book Communion Service
10.00 Cathedral Eucharist
11.30 Sung Mattins
(or Prayer Book Eucharist on 1st and
15.30 Choral Evensong
18.30 Evening Service
In residence: day by day
Canon Jeremy Dussek
Canon Jane Brooke
Wednesday The Dean
Canon Jeremy Dussek
Canon Peter Howell-Jones
Canon Peter Jenner
Date for your diary
Saturday 31 January 2015
BATTLE OF THE ORGANS
Cathedral book group: reader review
At the last book group meeting we discussed The Surgeon of Crowthorne by
Simon Winchester. Here’s what one of the members of the group, Sheila
Mason, thought of it:
This wide-ranging book with its quietly humorous touches proved to be very
popular with the group and provoked a spirited discussion. With chapter
headings like ‘The Man who taught Latin to Cattle’ and ‘Gathering Earth’s
Daughters’ it was difficult to foresee that we would be discussing the
compilation of the Oxford English Dictionary, two men of extraordinary
learning and genius and the devastation of lunacy and self-harm.
Simon Winchester has painstakingly researched the life history of the OED
editor, James Murray and the Broadmoor inmate, Dr. William Minor, and
tells how it came about that after 17 years of close co-operation on the work
of the dictionary, Murray eventually discovered that his meticulous
lexicographer, William Minor, was subject to severe delusions. Discussion
centred around the origins and triggers of mental ill health, the privileged and
humane treatment of Dr. Minor in Broadmoor for many years, and the kind
support of his family in the USA throughout.
We would have welcomed a professional view on the mental health issues.
While nobody felt drawn to the exacting work of etymology and word
definition, we were all grateful for the existence of the OED and the vast effort
involved in its creation.
The general feeling was that the story did not end on a sad note because Dr.
Minor died in the care of his family back in the States after achieving more in
his work than many less troubled people.
The next book group meetings are as follows:
2 February 2015 - The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
20 April 2015 - A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
1 June 2015 - Leaving Alexandra by Richard Holloway
All are welcome to attend! For more information contact Marketing and
Communications Officer Amie Jones: [email protected]
Cathedral at Height: evening Tower Tour
for Richmond Court Homeless Shelter
On Saturday 6 December, members of Richmond Court homeless shelter
were welcomed onto an evening Cathedral at Height tour.
Join us for an out of the ordinary organ
experience as our organists do battle
with one another and special guests!
Led by experienced tower steward, Abbie, and assisted by the vergers, staff
and users of Richmond Court were able to see their city from the highest
accessible point in Chester.
With Philip Rushforth, Benjamin
Chewter, Geoffrey Woollatt and guest
star Nigel Ogden (The Organist
Entertains, BBC Radio 2)
It was an evening enjoyed by all and they really appreciated this opportunity,
especially at Christmas.
Tickets available from the Chester
Cathedral Box Office:
Tuesday 10 March 2015
MAGNA CARTA 800TH ANNIVERSARY LECTURE
For the Honour of God and for the Reform of our Realm: Magna Carta, Church and
State, 1215 - 2015. Organised by the Chester Theological Society.
Tickets available from the Chester Cathedral Box Office (01244) 500959.
Winter Engage Youth Event
Chester Cathedral helped host one of the community projects of the event Engage, where young people
from local churches gather for worship, fellowship and community projects.
Young people set up a Nativity scene outside the cathedral’s west doors and invited the public to dress up as
people in the story, to help them understand the tale and perhaps think about it more during the Advent
It was a very enjoyable project and we hope to help with these events more in the future!
New for 2015!
Saturday 28 February 2015
The University of Chester is
proud to host the next annual
Cathedrals Group conference,
culminating in the Choirs
Festival to be held in Chester
The festival brings together
approximately 12 different
choirs from Cathedrals Group
institutions, resulting in a
massed choir of around 300
voices, conducted by Vicki
Bulgin, Music Director at the
University of Chester.
Tickets available from the
Chester Cathedral Box Office:
Education department update
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe exhibition has been a dominant factor in my life for the last six months!
It is actually quite humbling to watch an idea grow, develop and come to fruition. It has been an enormous
amount of work which could not have been achieved without the help, support and encouragement that has
come from so many different people. The week of installation was a serious logistical exercise which the
majority of the cathedral staff were involved with in one way or another and a really good spirit of
cooperation was evident.
The effect the exhibition has had on individuals who have visited cannot be fully known. However, we do
know that it has been really popular and many thousands of people have been through our doors and our
I would like to say a huge thank you to the volunteers and people from the congregation who have given their
time to act as stewards for the exhibition and have (happily!) dressed up for the part.
We have had over 500 children from a wide range of schools visit during December which is also a bonus
since December tends to be a “quiet month” in terms of school visits (although they obviously visit for the
many carol services). The opportunity to provide a clear Christian message which cuts through the secular
approach at Christmas time is a privilege.
Helen Barber, Education Officer