Dean John writes…
‘Whoever is not against us is for us.’ These encouraging words of Jesus are to be found in this Sunday’s Gospel reading from St Mark. There has been a turning point in the narrative of the Gospel and Jesus has now set his course on going to Jerusalem where he knows that suffering and death await him. He is doing his best to teach the disciples as they follow him. Someone had been casting out demons in Jesus’ name and the disciples had tried to stop him because he wasn’t part of the close band of followers. As usual Jesus saw the bigger picture.
That bigger picture of a wider community of supporters who are not necessarily part of the inner core is one which benefits the cathedral hugely. As has been even more evident over the last 18 months, many people in the region and beyond do take note of what the cathedral is doing and saying. Both regional and national media have helped us to communicate words of encouragement to people through this testing time, judging their audiences to be interested. In return generous financial support from people beyond our usual networks has helped to save us from what could have been a dire situation.
It’s not just financial support that demonstrates this wider support for what we do in and through the cathedral. I am always encouraged by the fact that a good number of our volunteers are people who would not necessarily regard themselves as practising Christians and supporters who are members of other faiths.
I believe this level of support for the Church and its mission, which we enjoy at the cathedral, can also be a source of inspiration for our mission in the parishes and an encouragement to retain our confidence in serving and witnessing to local communities.
What has been achieved over the last year, thanks in part to the support of volunteers and donors as well as the hard work and dedication of clergy and staff, is celebrated in our recently published Annual Review, available on the website and from Sunday, in hard copy!
Please do join me and other members of chapter from 10am on Saturday October 9 when we will be reflecting on the ways in which God has blessed us over the last year and also sharing some of our plans as we look forward to a year of celebration, our 1350th anniversary. We will also share the progress being made with Ripon Cathedral Renewed and the content of our safeguarding audit report.
The strengthening of the inner community of the cathedral is also something that we are celebrating at the moment as we see new people joining our worshipping community and new volunteers coming forward. I am delighted that on Sunday we will be welcoming our new Assistant Organist Shaun Turnbull.
With my very best wishes