Illuminated cathedrals, choristers singing from self-isolation, an online pilgrimage, a virtual egg hunt, creating miniature Easter gardens at home together, children and family activities, a musical journey, a virtual Come and Sing, and a poem for every day of Holy Week – this is how our Cathedrals are taking Easter to their communities during lockdown.
Cathedrals take Easter to the people this lockdown
Lincoln Cathedral will be illuminated in the colours of Holy Week every day this week. This Grade 1 listed building turned purple on Sunday through until Wednesday. On Maundy Thursday the cathedral will be lit up white, before the lights go out completely for Good Friday and Holy Saturday when the Church enters a period of mourning. Lincoln Cathedral will then turn gold on Easter Sunday to celebrate the joy of the resurrection.
In Lichfield, Artist in Residence, Peter Walker has created a different photographic image for every day of Holy Week using the front of this medieval three spired Gothic cathedral as his canvas – these images will be shared on Lichfield cathedral’s social media every day at 6.30pm for people to enjoy and reflect on from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
The choristers of Bristol Cathedral will uphold the ancient tradition of singing together on Easter Sunday – which dates back to 1542. Despite self isolation and social distancing, the whole choir – nearly 40 choristers, together with the back row – will be united – (albeit each from the comfort of their own homes) for a special celebratory multi-track performance of This Joyful Eastertide.
This 21st century lockdown solution is part of a package of worship and songs from “quirentine” offered by Bristol Cathedral.
Exeter Cathedral has created a virtual egg hunt and invited visitors to their website to find them all.
St Albans Cathedral has a full programme of live and pre-recorded services and a virtual cathedral choir. It has also started running a virtual children’s church which last Sunday made palm crosses and this week will create miniature Easter gardens.
St Edmundsbury Cathedral is inviting people to Come and Sing Stainer’s Crucifixion virtually together on Good Friday as well as continuing its traditional Holy Week and Easter services digitally – including the Easter Day dawn vigil.
Find out more here:
The Dean of Edmundsbury, the Very Revd Joe Hawes, said:
“It is during this difficult period, that we have to find a new way of being a church – worshipping online, through live-streamed videos on our Facebook page; pastoral care given over the phone; a bank of daily, uplifting music recitals, which our musicians recorded before the building’s closure – all evidence that, despite the empty offices, pews and pulpit, we as a church, are still here.”
Salisbury has created an online Holy Week Pilgrimage which invites people to make a digital journey around the cathedral – those wishing to pray, listen or reflect can activate a window of music, readings and prayer on each day of Holy Week within the virtual Cathedral. You can access their week of worship, readings and reflections here too.
It was a first for Cathedral Isle of Man on Palm Sunday when they shared a service via Zoom. They will gather again on Zoom on Good Friday for Stations of the Cross and for the Easter Day service. The Dean has also created a special Maundy Thursday service for people to use as they eat their evening meal to reflect on the Last Supper.
Worcester Cathedral’s first Poet in Residence, Amanda Bonnick has created fourteen poems inspired by the Stations of the Cross which are being shared on the Cathedral’s Facebook page every day of Holy Week. They have created a Facebook event for people to come together for prayers at the foot of the cross this Good Friday to pray for healthcare workers, front line staff and all those affected by Covid-19, and every day clergy live- stream prayers and worship, and musicians and choristers offer a short piece from their homes live on Facebook every evening at 6.30pm.
The choir is currently rehearsing a virtual performance for Easter.
At Ripon Cathedral, there are daily services, plus a daily reflection from the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Rev Nick Baines.
Wakefield has a mixture of pre-recorded material from its archive plus online services and readings from its clergy and congregation members. It will also include reflections from the Bishop of Leeds, music, prayers and poetry.
Each evening in Carlisle Cathedral the Dean shares a short video reflection inspired by a work of art featuring the Passion Story. These will be available to watch on the cathedral’s YouTube channel
And the full list of artworks can be found here.
Leicester has a mix of pre-recorded and live streamed worship, music and meditations available – including a service for Maundy Thursday which will invite people to wash their own feet or hands, and spend time in their own garden with a suggested reading. Holy Saturday will include the renewal of baptism vows and there are Easter messages from the Cathedral community for Easter Sunday as well as How to Make an Easter Garden project led by a member of the Cathedral Education Team.
In Canterbury, clergy have recorded online services and reflections. Two of their speakers for Holy Week, Malcolm Guite and Roger Wagner, have created recordings of their poetry and art talks. On Holy Saturday Canterbury will be keeping the watch.
This will begin with the lighting of the Easter fire and hear a compilation of clips featuring different voices from the Cathedral community.
The medieval roof bosses in Norwich Cathedral – seen up close by thousands of visitors who enjoyed the Helter Skelter last summer – are to feature in a new video for Good Friday telling the Passion story.
It is all part of Norwich’s digital offering this year which includes videos and daily podcasts on its YouTube channel and on Easter Sunday, BBC 3 will broadcast a repeat of its 2017 Easter Sunday Choral Evensong at 3pm.
The Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Jane Hedges, said:
“In these difficult and unusual times we must embrace new and inventive ways to celebrate this most special time in the Christian year.
“The regular rhythm of worship at Norwich Cathedral is continuing, albeit it in very different ways, and as we approach Holy Week and Easter, we are preparing a special series of podcasts and videos that we hope will help people continue to feel connected to the Cathedral community.”
The Dean of Hereford, the Very Revd Michael Tavinor has created a visual and a musical journey through Holy Week selecting music with short written introductions, and daily written reflections. There is a Good Friday Family service booklet to help families plan their own service at home too.
Guildford Cathedral is offering #HolyWeekAtHome resources as a week of daily worship, readings, and pieces of music online. Here and on its facebook page.
And in Bradford, there is morning and evening prayer every day, a national vigil on Easter Eve, lighting the Easter Fire at dawn on Easter Sunday on Google Meet, sharing daily reflections with the Bishop of Leeds, Bishop Nick Baines, and joining in the national hymn singing event Sing Resurrection with national Churches Together on Easter Sunday.
At Blackburn Cathedral, a new two-minute reflection goes out every morning of Holy Week on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube at 8am. Clergy can join in a renewal of their ministerial promises on Maundy Thursday and there will be virtual acts of worship on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
You can find a selection of recorded and live streamed services, meditations and music at Durham including the liturgy of Good Friday when the cathedral marks the death of Christ through preaching, prayer and music, with meditations on pilgrimage from different members of Durham Cathedral’s clergy. Join them online for a dawn service for Easter Day plus later that evening there is a digital offering of Evensong, using pre-recorded music by Durham Cathedral Choir and especially recorded organ voluntaries by Daniel Cook, Master of the Choristers and Organist of Durham Cathedral.
Find all their Easter services here.
Portsmouth Cathedral trialled their first online coffee morning on Zoom on Palm Sunday which was a great success and will continue every Sunday. Their Easter Carol Service this Sunday will combine archived recordings of the choirs from previous years with readings from members of the congregation recorded in their own homes this week.
In Newcastle, people can join them this Holy Week on their YouTube channel. They will be gathering round the cross and keeping the watch on Good Friday from 2pm with a service of Hymns and Reflections. Easter Sunday will be a service of light and celebration of the resurrection with hymns, readings and a reflection from the Bishop of Newcastle. Newcastle has uploaded prayer and worship resources too.
Join them for worship on their YouTube channel here.
Chichester Cathedral is working with the Bishop of Chichester, The Rt Revd Dr Martin Warner, delivering a schedule of live-streamed events for Holy Week. They’ve also developed new resources online, including inviting people to submit prayers via email, weekly video reflections and social media takeovers with Cathedral clergy.
And from Holy Saturday they will start to host online art tours every week via social media starting with a feature on a painting by Graham Sutherland located within the Cathedral.
Truro Cathedral has a mixture of previous recorded services plus prayers, vlogs, services and sermons recorded during the lockdown and available on the cathedral social media platforms.