The Bishop of Leeds returns to church for the first time since lockdown this week to celebrate one of the key festivals in the Church’s calendar at Ripon Cathedral.
The Rt Rev Nick Baines will lead the cathedral’s 10.30 am streamed service on Sunday May 31 as well as preach at the feast of Pentecost, celebrated as the birthday of the Church itself.
This will be the first time that the bishop has taken (or received) Holy Communion since the decision was taken by the archbishops and bishops of the Church of England that its churches and cathedrals would close their doors as the country went in to lockdown. It follows the recent return by the clergy to the cathedral.
Bishop Baines said: “I invite everyone in the diocese (and beyond) to join me in celebrating and praying for our neighbours at home and abroad. We look forward to being together physically again in due course; but, this is the beginning of a new phase in this pandemic and our response to it. Pentecost saw the empowering of Christians when the future was both uncertain and dangerous. In other words, we have been here before! Please join us.”
During the service Bible readings and intercessions will be done by the deans of the three cathedrals within the Diocese of Leeds – Bradford, Wakefield and Ripon and there will be musical contributions from each cathedral.
The Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson DL said:“The prayer and worship of the church has been sustained in the community throughout the period of locked churches however we have come to realise afresh just how significant these sacred spaces are. The prayers of the centuries, 13 centuries in Ripon Cathedral’s case, can be a source of strength as we face the challenges, opportunities and joys of our own day.
“So, it is an encouragement to us all that Bishop Nick comes to Ripon Cathedral to lead the diocese in celebrating the gift of the Holy Spirit and the blessing of the Church at a time when the world has become more aware of its need of both.”
Pentecost (Whit Sunday) comes 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus; the New Testament tells us how the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples in tongues like fire leaving them able to speak so that people of all languages could understand them. On that day 3,000 people were baptised. Whit Sunday is the old English name for this day, the Whit coming from the white robes worn at baptism.
The service will be streamed on YouTube and can be accessed via the front page of Ripon Cathedral’s website at www.riponcathedral.org.uk