“If you can’t have fun in a cathedral you really don’t know what fun is; certainly in the church, ”he said in a recorded address.
“Cathedrals are the backbone of church life; they rise above the ups and downs of the life of the church, they plough through the difficulties the church faces, many of our cathedrals have gone through wars…..been a place of sanctuary at times of terrorist attack, like here in Manchester, and a place of hope when everyone is in despair.
“Cathedrals are where people gather to be united, and that’s beyond their Christian role…they are not just Christian centres; they are centres of life, hope and works.
“Cathedrals are where people gather to be united, and that’s beyond their Christian role…they are not just Christian centres; they are centres of life, hope and works….There’s just so many things you can do with cathedrals.
“I will certainly be praying for you and grateful for all you do.
“Cathedrals are fun; have fun…God has given them as places of celebration and joy and Good News – you’re Good News in your communities, for the church, you’re places that do exciting, imaginative things, you heal clergy….,,you lift our eyes from the immediate and the difficult to the hope that only God can bring,” he said in a recorded address to the 450 plus delegates.
It is the first time that every English Cathedral – plus cathedrals from Wales, the Isle of Man, South Africa and Australia – will gather under one roof to discuss and facilitate development of a strategic vision for the future direction of cathedrals through four days of keynote speakers, spiritual leaders and workshops.
The Very Revd Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield who chairs the Association of English Cathedrals said:
“It has been a long cherished ambition of mine to bring together all our cathedrals under one roof and to create a stimulating and engaging environment in which we can all grow together in confidence, trust and in the faith that makes us One Body in Christ.
“Every cathedral is different; yet we are all institutions and businesses charged with upkeep and funding; we all provide a focus for the Bishop’s ministry and a place of identity for our dioceses; we are all places of pilgrimage, heritage and discovery; centres of mission and service.
“But above all, we bring a unique sense of place to our locations; a visible, welcoming, accessible place that enables our communities, our cities and beyond, to flourish and grow,” he added.
The conference, Sacred Space: Common Ground organised by the Association of English Cathedrals, takes place from Monday 17 September to Thursday 20th.