Wakefield Cathedral was brought to life vividly on Saturday when hundreds of people from across the region came together to celebrate the re-dedication of the cathedral, the installation of Bishops and Archdeacons and its re-commitment to mission and service.
The sun shone, the worship was beautiful and after the town crier proclaimed silence for the Bishop of Leeds, Bishop Nick addressed the gathered and charged them to take the word of Jesus Christ out into the world – a fitting message delivered as it was from the steps of the Cathedral in the heart of the city while the market bustled a little way further down the precinct.
It has taken five years and £6.5 to breathe new life into this Grade 1 listed building and everyone agreed it is a stunning transformation.
During the week the local news media had been busy showing the transformation and free tours attracted over 130 people new to the city and the Cathedral.
The Dean, the Very Revd Jonathan Greener welcomed the congregation and said:
“For five years, we have worked to restore this cathedral to the glory of Almighty God. Today, with joy and thanksgiving in our hearts, we come to rededicate this building, and to recommit ourselves to the service of God’s people. So many individuals and organisations have supported this project with their time, their money, their enthusiasm and their prayers, and we are delighted that many are here to rejoice with us today.
“Our gratitude is profound. You have all played a part in helping Wakefield Cathedral to shine again, and in opening it up for worship, and as a place where the whole community can come to celebrate, to converse, to mark moments of shared sorrow, to enjoy music and drama, to reflect, to pray.
“The Chapter is proud to look after this building, but it does so on behalf of the city and district, the diocese and the region.
“Today is a new start for our cathedral, and equips us to welcome God’s people from across our diocese more warmly.
“Like our sister cathedrals in Bradford and Ripon, we are here to serve the whole of the Anglican Diocese of Leeds, and we mark this with the installation this afternoon of the Bishops and Archdeacons from the other episcopal areas.
As we gather now in God’s presence, we pray for the cathedral community, and for our beautifully renewed building.”
After Bishop Nick gave his address, Pennine Jazz struck up Oh When the Saints and led the congregation back inside the Cathedral where the chairs had been cleared for the service to segue into party with dancing, jazz music, champagne and canapés.
The features of the Cathedral were brought to life by local higher education project, Back Stage Academy with a unique lighting show.
The congregation included local dignatories, the vice Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, the Mayor of Wakefield, Sir Gary Verity from Welcome to Yorkshire and the former bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch and Bishop John Flack.
“We had a wonderful time,” said Jonathan.
A festival of events to showcase all the Cathedral offers runs until the end of June with headline act, BBC Radio 2’s Clare Teal, winner of British Jazz Singer 2015 on Friday June 3.
You can find out more about the festival and how to book tickets at www.wakefieldcathedral.org.uk/whats-on/this-is-wakefield-cathedral
Bless, O Lord, this cathedral, newly renewed to your glory. Pour out your Spirit on all who pray and serve and worship here, that for the people of our city and diocese, and for all who come through our doors, this may be a place where your love is known, your truth proclaimed, and your name glorified; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen. The Wakefield Cathedral Prayer