Ripon Cathedral is gearing up to welcome some 10,000 people over the coming weeks – beginning with Advent Sunday this Sunday – the New Year’s Day of the Church’s year!
The stunning Advent banners are now hanging down the great pillars of the nave; they carry verses from scripture that are traditionally used in the evening services from December 17-23 and refer to different aspects of Christ’s life and mission. The last of these bears the words ‘O Emmanuel’ the Hebrew for ‘God With Us’ reminding us of the good news that we are preparing to celebrate.
The Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson DL said: “Advent is a great season of anticipation and preparation; of looking forward both to our celebrations of the birth of the Prince of Peace and to the day when His reign on earth is universal.
“After Easter Advent is my favourite season because it speaks so much of the age in which we live; there are already many signs of Christ’s reign on earth, not least in inordinate acts of human kindness seen even in the darkest of situations.
“At the same time we know that there are many things still to be put right and so we continue to pray daily as Jesus taught us, ‘Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
In the 10.30am service on Sunday the first candle will be lit on the Advent wreath, marking the counting down of the weeks to Christmas.
The cathedral’s acclaimed choir has been working hard to prepare for the spectacular 5.30pm Advent Procession on Sunday when carols and candlelight will celebrate the Advent themes of watching and waiting in hope for the world. Everyone is welcome.
Forthcoming highlights at the cathedral include:
*The enthronement of a chorister-bishop at 10.30am on December 8 – reviving a medieval custom! In celebration of St Nicholas, a bishop who gave generously to poor children, people are asked to bring a new gift (unwrapped) for a child, teenager or adult to be distributed by the salvation army.
*Evensong with Britten’s Ceremony of Carols at 3.30pm on December 15. We believe this is the 50th anniversary of this iconic piece of music being performed here – with the then Director of Music Ronald Perrin introducing it to the cathedral. The work will be performed by the full choir by candlelight.
*Journey to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve at 11am; children can dress as characters from the nativity and join in the story – followed by refreshments.
*Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve at 11pm including the Blessing of the Crib.
*Christmas Day Sung Service at 10.30am with choristers keeping the Ripon tradition of giving everyone an apple. Said services are at 8am, 9.30am, 12.30pm and 3.30pm.
*Boxing Day Pilgrimage to Fountains Abbey starting with a Eucharist at 9.30am and leaving the cathedral around 10am.