A personal message from the Dean
Tuesday 22 March 2011
Today at 10.30am I will be at St Paul’s Cathedral for the public announcement that I have been appointed the next Bishop of Stepney. My new role represents a return to my roots in urban ministry, and while I will relish the opportunity to work in one of the most challenging and exciting parts of the country, I will be very sad to leave the Cathedral, Rochester, and Medway. These last six years have been a great privilege, and I will carry with me an enormous number of precious memories.
My final Sunday here will be 3 July. In the afternoon at evensong (3.15pm) there will be a formal farewell and I hope that you might be able to set that date aside in your diary.
After being consecrated (as a Bishop) on 22 July we will move from the Deanery to our new home in Mile End at the beginning of August. The Bishop will appoint Phil Hesketh as Acting Dean once I have gone, so you can be confident that the Cathedral is in good hands, and will continue to serve the community with energy and commitment.
The Church of England will initiate an appointments process for a new Dean, but these things move very slowly and it is likely that it will be the Summer of 2012 before the next Dean of Rochester arrives.
There will be plenty of time for goodbyes in due course. For now I am fully focused here, and will look forward to meeting up with you once the dust has settled from today’s announcement!
Fun Quiz Night
We had a great evening in the Crypt on Saturday 5th February when we held our Quiz Night. Over 100 people joined us and we raised over £600 which will go towards the Cathedral's Development projects.
Special thanks to Rob Ryan and Colin Tolhurst for their Question Master skills and technical expertise, along with Andrew Coulson. Our scorers; Angela Watson together with Colin and Sheila Thompson did a fantastic job. They were so quick and kept up fantastically.
The evening was finished off by entertainment from David Sandon and his Barbershop Sextet. Thank you all and most especially to everyone that came along to support us.
Support from The Friends of Rochester Cathedral
We are very grateful to The Friends of Rochester Cathedral who have advised us of funding for two significant projects in the Cathedral.
The first is the Tudor Gate which is positioned in the railings enclosing the Cloister Garth to the south of the Cathedral and is badly in need of conservation and repair. The door frame is believed to be late 15th or early 16th century. We are also very grateful to the Ironmongers' Company who have very kindly agreed to fund the new wrought iron gate.
The second project is the Cathedral clock which has sadly lost it's chime and needs a substantial amount of work to them to be restored. It will also be given a full overhaul. We look forward to proceeding with both these projects, the value of which are £28,510.
The tower clock at Rochester Cathedral has been put out of commission this week (25th January 2011) so that work, financed by the Friends of Rochester Cathedral, can be undertaken by clock engineers Gillett and Johnston. The works will cover a range of items but fundamentally the clock and bell hammers will be removed to the Gillett and Johnston workshops for an overhaul, clean up and repairs.
The clock workings will be off site for approximately 8-10 weeks but the face of the clock will remain and the hands will be positioned at 12 o’clock. While it’s in the workshop it will be rebuilt and monitored . The moving parts and bell hammers will be thoroughly cleaned and any parts that are in bad shape will be replaced. The clock will be re-built and returned to site and reinstalled.
The three motors that drive the clock will also be replaced by gear driven motors that run more efficiently; the current motors date back to the early 70’s and they contain mercury so they need to be removed. Each motor has a different role to play with in the operation of the clock. One motor winds the clock up – the clock is still mechanically driven by its original method and if it wasn’t for this motor someone would have run up to the tower once a week to wind the clock up. One motor winds the springs for quarter chimes and the final motor winds the springs for the hourly strike.
When the clock returns and is up and running the quarterly and hourly strike of the bells will again be operational and make a very welcome return. The chimes have been greatly missed over Rochester. The night silencer will also be re-instated – this is a separate unit that stops the bells from ringing over night. In addition a pendulum regulator will be fitted to the clock. This is remotely controlled and will ensure that the clock keeps accurate time.
Unfortunately the Cathedral does not have enough funding available at the moment for any work to the dial of the clock which means the actual hands on the three faces will not be removed. This would cost a further £5,000 plus scaffolding charges, so the funding search is ongoing.
The funders of this project, The Friends of Rochester Cathedral, play a very important role in maintaining the fabric of the Cathedral. Chairman, Mr Bob Ratcliffe said, “We are delighted to be able to fund this project and I am looking forward to hearing the bells ring out over the City after a long period of silence”.
Southern Water Services Limited supports Rochester Cathedral
Rochester Cathedral derives its special character from the quality of its medieval architecture (from c1080) and an exceptional collection of surviving medieval and later wall paintings, tomb monuments, ledger stones and floor surfaces.
We have a small chapel called the St John Chapel, or Oratory, which is set aside for quite prayer and reflection. It is used to remember those victims of human violence, throughout the ages and throughout the world. There is a replica of the Coventry Cross, which was famously made from the medieval nails of Coventry Cathedral when it was destroyed by bombing in WW11. The crucifix displayed in this chapel was found lying on the battlefield at Salamanca after Wellingtons troops defeated the French in 1822.
The tiles that make up the threshold pavement in this chapel are probably some of the oldest in England, and have survived since they were laid during the 13th century. In 2006 they were subject to a restoration project funded by the Friends of Rochester Cathedral, but since then they have degraded once more. We had a proposal for a conservation flooring system called “Eyemats” which is a rubber backed floor mat which has been photographically imaged to capture the patina of stone so that an exact replica of the floor is produced. By the use of the “Eyemats”, visitors can see the medieval floor and can walk over it to gain access to the chapel, but the surface is protected for the future.
Southern Water Services Limited have very kindly agreed to fund this project. Beverley Thompson, Senior PR Manager of Southern Water is very pleased to be working with the Cathedral and we look forward to working with her going forward. Thank you so much Southern Water!
An Evening with Peter Owen Jones
Peter Owen Jones is an Anglican clergyman based in Firle, East Sussex. He has presented many programmes for the BBC including “Around the World in 80 Faiths”, “How to Live a Simple Life” and “Extreme Pilgrim”. Peter is also an author and visited Rochester Cathedral on 8th February and lead an evening of readings and reflections based on his bestselling book, “Letters From an Extreme Pilgrim – Reflections on Life, Love and the Soul.”
Excerpt from the Sunday Times 31st December 2007
A pilgrim’s physical progress
Who’s the bravest vicar in Britain? My money’s on Peter Owen Jones. No typical sherry-sipper, this man started as a farm labourer and ran a mobile disco on the side. He then moved into advertising, but heard the Call and became vicar of a parish in Cambridgeshire.
Now, 15 years later, he feels that the Church of England is too much a faith of the head and not enough a faith of the soul. So he set off on a quest in search of a more physical and mystical path to enlightenment.
All surplus funds raised from the evening will go to support the Education Department's Family Fun Days in 2011.