First it was worship and prayer, now it’s collection plates and donations as English cathedrals go online during lockdown.
Make a donation, however small here. Thank you.
The buildings might be closed, but cathedrals are offering an exciting and varied programme of worship, prayer, music and pastoral support online as they explore new ways of engaging with and supporting their communities and visitors during lockdown.
But with donation points, stewardship envelopes and collection plates behind closed doors, “giving” has now joined this new digital revolution with a call for all those who want to donate to a cathedral to go online and pay directly while the buildings are shuttered.
The Dean of Lichfield and the chair of the Association of English Cathedrals, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber said:
“We know that these are strange and frightening times; know we are here for you. Know that we pray for you every day.
“And when this is over, as it surely will be, and we can reopen our buildings, know we will be there alongside you to mourn those for whom you have been unable to mourn, to reflect on what has been, and to celebrate moving forward.
“We can’t collect donations as we used to, so please think about going online and supporting us at this time.
“This crisis pulls us together in ways few thought possible until quite recently, and it’s our togetherness that will see us through,” he added.
On March 23 all the Church of England cathedrals closed their doors to save lives, protect the NHS and encourage people to stay home. All their cafes, shops, exhibition centres and libraries were closed, all forthcoming tours and events cancelled. As many staff as they could were furloughed to save funds, and volunteers were sent home to keep them safe.
Yet is still costs between £1,800 and £18,000 a day to run and maintain the cathedrals. Cathedrals get no direct funding from the Government while the Church Commissioners contribute only towards salaries, not for upkeep, which means our cathedrals are wholly reliant on visitor donations, gifts from wills, other legacies and grants.
Now donation online has become part of the explosion in digital output by cathedrals as they find more and more creative and innovative ways across different social media platforms of being church during lockdown.
There are online prayer requests, virtual candle lighting, multi-tracked choir performances, organ recitals, daily reflections, gospel readings, and family activities online. Every cathedral has set up an online pastoral support group or a telephone ring-round system to ensure that those more vulnerable have help with shopping, dog-walking, picking up medicines, or simply receive a regular phone call during lock down. Cathedrals like Liverpool, Sheffield, Coventry, Manchester and Cathedral Isle of Man have concentrated their efforts on how to continue their social projects in a safe and sustainable way so they can remain open for food donations, continue to deliver food parcels, and support the homeless.
And there is prayer and worship available every day online from every cathedral.
Eve Poole, Third Church Estates Commissioner, said:
“The evolutions and revolutions of history have been written into the very structure and stonework of our great cathedrals. They have seen everything come and go. Their patient stability reminds us that life always adapts and carries on.
“Now they stand sleeping, waiting for us all to return to them, both to mourn and to rejoice, when this time has passed. While we wait, they need your help to sustain them, while they cannot earn their own keep,” she added.
If you’d like to make a donation to your local cathedral, you can find out how to that here.