Solomon Isles blog - "Mysterious Materials" - Chester Cathedral

Solomon Isles blog - "Mysterious Materials"

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Dean Tim and wife Jen (also Cathedral Education Officer) are away from the Cathedral for three weeks in the Solomon Isles, preaching, teaching, working with the diocese and meeting the locals. Here's today's blog.

Tuesday 18 June


Today I have been with the staff team at St Barnabas Cathedral contributing to a staff development day. The Cathedral is run by 20 staff covering many of the same functions as we have in Chester Cathedral along with a group of volunteers who mainly fulfil liturgical roles such as choir membership. We compared the operations of our two cathedrals. Their annual budget is about 2.5% that of Chester Cathedral. Being a parish church their responsibilities are largely pastoral and directed towards the congregation in contrast to ours, which is more missionally focussed and looking out towards visitors, the city, county and beyond. In other ways we are quite similar, providing hospitality, hosting large scale worship and community events. St Barnabas is currently undertaking a large building project called The Gallery. This has been stalled for a few years but is now well under way. The parallel with our Project Discovery was noted and I regretted not bringing Gloria, our goose mascot, to see. 


Sixteen of yesterday's seventeen teachers returned for day two, "Mysterious Materials". We were also joined by a retired school principal too. It turned out that three of the others were also school principals. I was pleased only to be learning this at the end rather than the start of the course. They all approached the workshop with enthusiasm and thought, and offered some good insights to my questions: Is God hard? Is God flexible? Is God porous? At the end they graduated with a certificate and garlanded me (pictured below).

Tim and Jen have moved on to Tabalia now, where there is no WiFi and likely no mobile signal.  Expect Tim and Jen's next update on Sunday 23 June.

The Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford

The Dean

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