June. What a month to look back on!

30th June 2021

We started the month saying a big thank you …

Art installations, reflective memorials to the pandemic, the Knife Angel, thousands of young voices from around the world united to sing to the G7 leaders, a Cathedral gin and a Cathedral beer, and our intrepid cyclists clocked up an impressive 1,300miles riding between 30 of our 42 cathedrals on the newly launched Cathedrals Cycle Route.

So much to report this month. Plus a bit of sunshine.

We started the month saying a big thank you to that unsung army of volunteers; the tomb dusters, tea makers, servers, stewards, bell ringers, peregrine watchers, flower arrangers, gardeners and tour guides, as we celebrated National Volunteers Week. Volunteers are vital to the life and ministry of our cathedrals as many of you who have received a warm welcome or a guided trip up the bell tower, well know. And without them our cathedrals would be so much less.

Southwark Cathedral could finally unveil its much anticipated annual Lent art installation – Mark Titchner’s Please Believe These Days Will Pass – first seen in the early days of lockdown on posters and billboards across our cities.

Chelmsford Cathedral invited members of the public to help build a community cairn in the grounds of the Cathedral to remember all those who have lost their lives during the pandemic and to offer an opportunity for everyone to pause and remember.

Ely Cathedral unveiled the glass sculpture, Solace, in its Lady Chapel as a reflective memorial to the pandemic. This 10ft high exhibit is made up of over 100 individually sculpted glass feathers by artist Layne Rowe and these glass “angel” wings are to support visitors and worshippers as they remember loved ones and contemplate all that has happened over the past year.

Solace – Ely Cathedral

It was all eyes on Truro Cathedral as the cathedral choristers led the Sing2G7 campaign that saw thousands of young people from 27 countries across the world sing a specially written song by Sir Tim Rice on a mega zoom event to give the G7 leaders their heartfelt message on the climate emergency.

The Knife Angel, the 27ft statue built from 100,000 confiscated knives and blades by sculptor, Alfie Bradley as a memorial to knife crime, was installed outside Hereford Cathedral.

Elsewhere our cathedrals began to announce exciting plans for visitors and worshippers as they continued to open up safely in line with the latest Government and Public Health guidance.

Luke Jerram’s huge art installations of Gaia and his Museum of the Moon can be seen at a number of our cathedrals in the next few months, including Ely, Bristol and Wakefield, the National History Museum’s Dippy on Tour was confirmed to open in Norwich Cathedral next month, and 74 sculptures by 24 artists from the South West Sculptors group went on display in Exeter Cathedral to reflect hope, resilience and new beginnings this summer.

Dippy Norwich Cathedral 2021

Worcester Cathedral hosted Young Voices New Visions in its medieval cloister, an annual exhibition showcasing the artistic talent of young people from across the county. Portsmouth Cathedral announced it will host the annual summer exhibition of Portsmouth and Hampshire Art Society after a year of being unable to exhibit their art.

Salisbury Cathedral became the first cathedral in the country to receive an Eco-Church Gold award from A Rocha UK, a Christian nature conservation charity. The awards singles it out as a beacon of good environmental practice for churches addressing the climate crisis.

Ripon Cathedral opened its latest exhibition A Century of Wedding Gowns specially curated by someone who knows a bit about wedding dresses and was actually on David and Elizabeth Emanuel’s team that designed THAT DRESS for the late Princess Diana’s wedding to HRH Prince Charles.

Lincoln Cathedral opened its new café and shop in its transformed Visitor Centre with the launch of a specially brewed Lincoln Cathedral beer, and Portsmouth launched its own brand of gin, The Dean’s Tipple.

Portsmouth Cathedral launches it's own Gin

As the month drew towards its end, Lichfield Cathedral unveiled a 3m bronze statue of its founding father, St Chad. The bronze has been created by the cathedral’s Artist in Residence, sculptor Peter Walker, and will stand in the cathedral’s newly established Hope Garden where, during the pandemic, volunteers planted 50,000 bulbs to flower around the time of St Chad’s Day (2nd March) each year as a gift of remembrance and hope to the city after the pandemic.

Meanwhile June saw hundreds of cyclists of all ages join in different legs of the Cathedrals Cycle Route (CCR) which links every one of our 42 Church of England Cathedrals. Our youngest rider, was 5 year old John Hunt who held the specially commissioned baton that has been passing from one cathedral to the next Olympic style along the relay, before joining his parents to ride the first five miles from Chelmsford Cathedral to St Albans.

The CCR is a unique partnership between Sustrans, Cycling UK, the British Pilgrimage Trust and the Association of English Cathedrals that links all 42 Church of England cathedrals in a new initiative to promote greener travel and mental and physical wellbeing.

Cathedrals Cycle Route 2021

The 2,000 mile Cathedrals Cycle Route is the invention of academic, entrepreneur and keen cyclist Shaun Cutler, from Northumbria University. It set off from Newcastle Cathedral on 30 May and is designed to help us all out of lockdown with opportunities for short and long cycle rides between cathedrals, new partnerships and fundraising for physical and mental well-being activities.

As we move out of the month of June into July, there are just 12 more days and 12 more cathedrals for our different groups of cyclists as they journey back up the north west of the country from Gloucester Cathedral to Newcastle Cathedral, back to where it all started!