New Lease of Life for Old Deanery
The Rochester Bridge Trust is taking a five-year lease to use The Old Deanery as office space for its expanding workforce and to accommodate community activities, such as its regular series of Bridge Wardens’ lectures.
Under the agreement, the Trust will pay for a refurbishment of the building to protect its structure and to make it suitable for modern office use.
Simon Lace the Chapter Clerk & Executive Director of the Cathedral said “We are delighted to be working with the Trust to refurbish this building and bring it into new use. This will bring in much needed income to support the work of the Cathedral and help to secure a positive future for this building. The arrangement deepens our existing partnership with the Trust which has been a generous supporter of the Cathedral over many years through grants for work to the fabric and a forthcoming exhibition which the Trust and Cathedral will be holding in the newly refurbished crypt from October.“
The Bridge Clerk (Chief Executive) of the Trust, Sue Threader said “This is a very exciting time for the Trust as we expand our engineering, education and other community engagement activities. The new space at the Old Deanery will accommodate our expanding team and ensures that we can continue to work in the heart of Rochester. It was important for the Trust to choose accommodation which gives us the opportunity to invest in one of Rochester’s historic buildings as this is one of our charity investment priorities, and it is an added bonus for us that we will be continuing to support the Cathedral which has been one of our closest partners since the Trust’s foundation in 1399.
Towards a Dementia-Friendly Cathedral
Anna Chaplaincy is a new role across all Christian churches, aimed at supporting older people. It has been pioneered by The Bible Reading Fellowship’s The Gift of Years. ‘Anna Chaplain’ was chosen as a title because it echoes the work of Anna, who the Bible tells us recognised the baby Jesus as the fulfilment of God’s promises; the name Anna emphasises that this is a hope-filled ministry, in the tradition of older people having prophetic voices and life lessons to share.
In Rochester, Anna Chaplains will work with elderly people and people with dementia in the community around the diocese. Chris will help the Dean and Chapter to work towards the cathedral being recognised as a Dementia Friendly venue.
Anna Chaplaincy was launched in Rochester Diocese in late 2016 through funding provided by The Henry Smith Charity. The team of volunteers is supported by a dementia specialist project officer. Many members of the team have personal experiences of dementia in their families or professional lives, several in ordained or licenced lay ministry roles. As well as the Cathedral, they cover 20 parishes in 13 deaneries.
The difference between Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends is that Chaplains are in leadership roles, supporting other volunteers and spending at least one day a week in the role. Anna Friends spend several hours a week working with people with dementia but have fewer responsibilities. Both roles are voluntary.
To find out about Anna Chaplaincy in your area, or becoming an Anna Friend or Anna Chaplain, please contact Julia Burton-Jones, Dementia Specialist Project Officer at email@example.com
For more information about Bible Reading Fellowship’s The Gift of Years and Anna Chaplaincy visit the website www.thegiftofyears.org.uk
Chris with the Archdeacon of Rochester, The Venerable Simon Burton-Jones, at the Commissioning Event.
Countess of Wessex at Mercers' Hall Reception
left to right: Johnny Robertson (Master Mercer) Philip Hesketh (Dean of Rochester) HRH The Countess of Wessex, Mike Aiken (Rochester Cathedral Trust Chairman)
On Tuesday 22nd February the Dean of Rochester, The Very Revd Dr Philip Hesketh, and the Chairman of Rochester Cathedral Trust, Mr Michael P Aiken MBE, welcomed their Royal Patron, Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex GCVO to a Reception which was hosted with the generous support of the Mercers’ Company at their Hall in Ironmonger Lane, London.
The reception was part of an ongoing series of fund raising events being held by The Cathedral Trust to develop new relationships with potential donors based in London.
The Cathedral’s new “Children’s Community Choir” was there to entertain the Countess and the guests and charmed everyone with their delightful singing. They were conducted by Claire Innes-Hopkins and accompanied by Cathedral Director of Music, Mr Scott Farrell. This new Choir is part of the Cathedral's outreach work to give the opportunity to any child in Medway who loves to sing to be able to join the Choir.
The guests were also entertained with a speech from Vice Patron, Dr David Starkey CBE, who amused all with his historical anecdotes yet still conveyed the need of Rochester Cathedral to those present.
Rochester Cathedral Trust is setting up a Music Endowment Fund so that the earnings accrued from it can ultimately pay the running costs of the ancient music tradition in the Cathedral, which costs £225,000 annually. The short term goal is to achieve an amount of £2 million which will be met by having each Chorister sponsored at £50,000 each. This money would be deposited in the Endowment Fund and the earnings accrued on it would be put towards the annual costs and the Endowment could remain intact in perpetuity. Each Choristership sponsor has a silver medal struck in their name the selected Chorister wears it at all services for the course of their life in the Choir. When they leave a new probationer is selected.