A Message from the Dean

April 18, 2020
Posted in News
April 18, 2020 Michelle

Photo: Simon Hulme photographing Dean John returning a fallen angel to its original position, for the Yorkshire Post.

Dean John writes…

This photo was taken just one month ago! There is no doubt I look forward to the day when I will be able to welcome everybody back in to the cathedral – a chance to admire the wonderful work that has been done in restoring our delightful choir stalls.

The project has generated a huge amount of interest, even making the Daily Telegraph! The theme of angels seemed to resonate with people and the media appreciated my joke that we are always in the business of restoring fallen angels at Ripon Cathedral!

In these darker days of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is gripping our region in a cruel way at the moment, mention of angels may prompt us to think of those people who are risking their own health to stand on the front line providing essential services – chief amongst them are NHS staff and other care providers. Of course, we all know there are many more who are engaged in vital work for our benefit.

The enthusiasm for the now routine Thursday evening national round of applause might suggest there are many who think that these people are to be counted as angels..

Another concept that possibly comes to mind is that of guardian angels. On one occasion, Jesus, when speaking about children, said:

‘Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven.’

Matthew 18:10

We might all of us pray that all God’s children in these threatening days may be encouraged by the thought that God, whether through the provision of angels or other means, is holding us safe on earth and in heaven. As our celebrations at Easter assert, we believe that God holds all his children in his love both in life – and in death.

A prayer:

Risen Lord, help us to see that you have conquered human failings, put death to flight, and have reassured us with the hope that all shall be well on earth and in heaven.

In these challenging times:

banish our fears;

strengthen all working courageously in the NHS and other care providers;

uphold all working tirelessly in supermarkets and many other organisations to serve our needs;

and give hope to every situation as we celebrate again your resurrection from the dead.

For your name’s sake. Amen.

With my very best wishes and every blessing

Dean John.


  • We’ll be bringing you news soon of a charity art installation at the cathedral – based on the theme of angels – in which you can become involved from your own home!
  • Join us (virtually) for evening prayer at 6pm Mon – Sat – with evensong on Thursday and a Eucharist at 10.30 am on Sunday led by Rev Caitlin with Canon Michael preaching. These can be accessed via the front page of our website.


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