Bishop of Leeds the first to re-enter Wakefield Cathedral with prayers for all who have died of coronavirus

The Bishop of Leeds was the first to re-enter Wakefield Cathedral as it reopened for prayer and reflection on Wednesday, July 1 after more than three months in lockdown. 

The Rt Revd Nick Baines lit a candle on the altar and said a prayer for all those who have died during the pandemic and those who have lost loved ones, family and friends.

His visit marked the re-opening of Wakefield Cathedral and the start of its long journey back to full life and ministry after it closed down to keep everyone safe on March 23.

The Bishop was welcomed in for the first time since lockdown by the Dean of Wakefield, the Very Revd Simon Cowling.

The Dean said: “This is an important stage in the long journey towards the full life and work of our Cathedral and it was fitting to welcome our bishop as our first visitor who offered prayers for those who have died during this pandemic. 

“Wakefield Cathedral has been the spiritual heart of this city for so many centuries and while we have remained closed through this pandemic, we have been very active on digital media: streaming worship, sharing daily reflections and heritage talks, and keeping in touch with our congregations and our communities through our social media platforms.

“But it’s terrific to be opening up again so that we can welcome people back into this wonderfully uplifting building which has such an important place in the life of our city," he added.

Other churches across the diocese have also chosen to open their doors for prayer, with Ripon Cathedral re-opening on Monday, June 15 and Bradford Cathedral on Wednesday June 17. 

This week’s opening at Wakefield is part of a careful phased re-opening of the Grade 1 listed building. Careful preparations have been made to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone who enters the building: chairs have been cleared from the nave, hand sanitisers placed at the entrances, and notices put in place to remind people of the importance of social distancing. 

The cathedral will be open for individual prayer from 10.00 -15.00 every day from Wednesday 1 July. Public worship will begin on Sunday 12 July, with said celebrations of the Eucharist at 08.00 and 09.15 in the cathedral. This Sunday pattern will continue throughout the rest of July. 

From Monday 13 July and every weekday, including Saturday, there will be a celebration of Morning Prayer and the Eucharist at 08.00 and Afternoon Prayer at 14.30 in the cathedral. Again, this pattern will continue throughout July. 

The cathedral hopes to implement Phase 2 of its emergence plans on 01 August.

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