Thanks January, Roll on February

29th January 2021

January witnessed rising infection rates which saw most of our cathedrals suspend public worship on the advice of their public health leaders to ensure social distancing and keep people safe.

Thanks January. Roll on February.

Local NHS providers took up our offer to utilise our spaces for vaccine clinics at Lichfield and Salisbury, while the Crypt and Undercroft of Blackburn Cathedral opened as one of the nation’s large scale vaccination centres while the main cathedral space upstairs remains open for private prayer and reflection.

The crypt area at Rochester Cathedral continues to be used as a test centre for asymptomatic patients in the Medway area.

The end of the month saw more bad news with the terrible announcement that over 100,000 people had now lost their lives to the pandemic.

This prompted the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to call on people to join in a daily prayer for the nation every day from February 1.

One hundred thousand isn’t just an abstract figure. Each number is a person: someone we loved and someone who loved us.’ Archbishop of Canterbury.

All our cathedrals will join the collective call to pray every day from February 1st.

In other news, we were pleased to join in National Heritage Fund UK’s Heritage Treasures Day and show off some of our amazing (and some little known) treasures.

We got super excited by the fact that plans are still going ahead at Hereford to host the Knife Angel sculpture in June.

Knife Angel Hereford Cathedral Summer 2021

We lit candles in our windows at 8pm to stand up against hatred and prejudice on Holocaust Memorial Day, and gave a sigh of relief to hear The Hamish Ogston Foundation (HOF) had joined forces with the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) to fund twenty-one stonemasonry and joinery trainees at Canterbury, Chester, Durham, Exeter, Gloucester, Lincoln, Salisbury and Worcester Cathedrals, to keep the specialist craftspeople they need to maintain and repair their heritage for future generations.

Funding for heritage crafts helps cathedrals through the pandemic

Roll on February … things can only get better.

Read all the news from January here.

Photo: Ash Mills