Ripon Cathedral opened its doors for private prayer on Monday (June 15), the first time since Mothering Sunday back in March!
Staff had been extremely busy preparing the building and as the great west doors were opened the clergy were greeted with smiles and salutations by those who had gathered.
Dean John said: “It was delightful to welcome people into Ripon Cathedral today; some bereaved, some giving thanks for healing or other blessings, others pondering questions – all pleased to be praying in this sacred space, some for the first time.”
The cathedral will be open for private prayer from 10am until 4pm Monday to Saturday and from noon until 4pm on Sundays. Printed and downloadable material will be available to help people with their devotions and there will be an opportunity to light a candle at various prayer stations. A member of clergy will also be on hand.
It’s the start of the journey towards a full re-opening for the cathedral and will see a limit to the number of people allowed inside at any one time; a one-way system around the building; seating that allows social distancing and hand sanitisers at appropriate points.
Entry will be through the automatic doors at the west end only with welcomers on hand and signage to remind people about the continuing need for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. A programme of continuous cleaning will also be taking place.
Funerals are allowed to take place but other gatherings such as baptisms and weddings are not permitted. Acts of public worship will not be taking place at this stage.
Ripon Cathedral closed its doors on March 23. Since that time it has responded to the crisis in creative and innovative ways offering a wide range of support to the community – both practical and spiritual – online and off – and has seen a growing number of people seeking prayer and worship in these uncertain times.
It will continue to offer digital services and prayer resources and these can be found at www.riponcathedral.org.uk