St Nicholas Cathedral Visit to Winchester
At the end of May, twenty-two people from St Nicholas Cathedral made their way to Winchester for this year’s Winchester Link visit.
Our Winchester friends had organised wonderful itinerary, and we were entertained royally. New friendships and new understandings grew day by day.
Members of the St Nicholas congregation and friends, including Canons Sheila Bamber, Peter Strange and Robert Gage, arrived in glorious summer weather. We were met by the Dean and members of the Cathedral Community in Winchester. After tea in the 15th century Priors Hall, we had a tour of the Cathedral, followed by Evensong.
The next day, we explored part of the ‘Wilfrid Trail’ in the Meon Valley. St Wilfrid was born and bred in Northumbria, but – thanks to political intrigue – spent some years on the south coast, where he founded a string of churches at the end of the 7th century. One of these, Titchfield, even retains some of Wilfrid’s original structure! To round off the day, we enjoyed a lovely ‘village’ Evensong at Corhampton, followed by a reception courtesy of their Friends.
On the Saturday we explored the City, including Winchester Castle (once the principal residence of English kings) and St Cross College, medieval almshouses that supposedly inspired Anthony Trollope’s novel The Warden. Then came another memorable Evensong in the Cathedral, followed by a gala dinner with the new Bishop of Winchester, The Right Reverend Timothy Dakin. He seems much interested in the Newcastle Link, and would like to develop it further.
Sunday was Pentecost. The Bishop presided and preached in the Cathedral, the music was glorious, our welcome was warmer than ever, and the weather fine almost beyond belief. The Cathedral Community hosted a hog roast at lunchtime, and then came Winchester’s Diamond Jubilee Service, attended by HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. By the end of the day, we felt replete in every sense, and Winchester’s hospitality can only be called ‘magnificent’.
This visit was not, however, just a ‘jolly’ in our sister diocese. As we make and deepen personal relationships, we steadily learn more about how much we have in common, and how much we can learn from each other. This partnership is by no means one way, and our Winchester friends are vocal in their appreciation of the ways the link with us has enriched their experience.
As far as the Cathedrals link is concerned, the task now must be to try and deepen this beyond simple exchanges of good will. We need to find specific and practical ways of continuing to share our cathedral experience, not least in how each cathedral can serve its diocese more effectively, focusing not just on the cathedrals themselves, but on the God they proclaim.
Canon Robert Gage
Diocese of Winchester
St Nicholas' Cathedral
Winchester diocesan Link
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