Leicester City Council has given planning permission to the Cathedral’s plan for a renewal and new build project to create a Heritage Learning Centre beside the main building.
In December 2018, a formal application was lodged with the National Lottery Heritage Fund for a grant towards the £11.3m project cost of the Leicester Cathedral Revealed project.
The project will see the restoration of the Cathedral building together with the creation of the new Heritage Learning Centre on the site of the former Song School, which adjoins the Cathedral and is now used mostly for storage.
Plans for the new two-storey stone building include terracotta and glass features, and have already been approved by the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England and the Leicester Conservation Advisory Panel. Historic England raised some issues with some of the design but did not object to the overall plan, and at Leicester City Council Planning Committee meeting on 19 February, the plans were approved by all the councillors except for one, who abstained.
The Cathedral will now work closely with Historic England and other agencies on details of the new building to address matters of detail.
The Dean of Leicester, The Very Revd David Monteith said: “This project will transform what we will be able to do. The restoration of the building will enhance the spiritual and cultural experience of being in the Cathedral. The Heritage Learning Centre will allow us to protect the historic setting of the Cathedral, while engaging with many more communities through exciting interpretation and learning facilities. It will also help us to cater for the increasing numbers of visitors the City has welcomed since the reburial of King Richard III.”
It is hoped the National Lottery Heritage Fund will approve its full grant of £3.3m this spring and then work can start on this transformational project for our Cathedral, serving the people of Leicester and Leicestershire as well as visitors from further afield.
It is expected that contractors might be on site by early in 2020 and the project will be completed in 2022.
One of Britain’s most important collections of modern religious art is coming to Leicester. Thanks to a joint project between the Church of England’s Leicester Cathedral and the Methodist church, the Methodist Modern Art Collection will be on display at 5 venues across Leicestershire from May 2 until June 9 2019 and will be accompanied by a month long programme of exciting creative events.
This unique collection of art featuring biblical themes and narrative has toured the UK and abroad since its inception over 50 years ago. There are over 45 works, including some by well-known artists such as Graham Sutherland, Elisabeth Frink, William Roberts, Patrick Heron and most recently Maggi Hambling. Most of the pictures depict scenes from the life and teaching of Christ including ‘Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem’ by Norman Adams and ‘The Washing of the Feet’ by Ghislaine Howard. Some artists were or are Christians, others not.
Venues for the exhibition are: Leicester Cathedral, Bishop Street Methodist Church, St Nicholas Church, St Andrew’s Church all in Leicester city and Launde Abbey.
The exhibition is free to visit and open 7 days a week. Special arrangements can be made for groups to see the collection with an expert guide by contacting us via our website www.wonderingsoul.co.uk
The Revd Fran Rhys, of Bishop Street Methodist Church, Leicester, commented: “I’ve known about the Methodist Modern Art Collection for 20 years and feel proud that the Methodist Church in Britain has this collection of paintings, which constitutes the largest modern Christian art collection outside the Vatican and which travels to many different venues around the country and overseas as well.
“It’s an opportunity for those who are already Christians to re-examine their faith and hopefully to gain new and deeper insights from the artworks and for others to enjoy some fantastic art which may well raise deeper questions for them, whatever their faith or none.”
It will be the latest in a series of popular and high-profile exhibitions that have been hosted inside Leicester Cathedral during the last year.
Arabella Doorman’s Suspended, which was hung in the Cathedral in the summer 2018 and Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon in March 2018 both attracted a large number of visitors from Leicester and beyond.
In addition to the exhibition, there will also be a programme of exciting creative events, including workshops, talks, artist residencies and a county-wide poetry project.
Dean of Leicester, The Very Revd David Monteith, said: “In a visual age, art can communicate and touch our souls beyond words. We want to wonder together about how these paintings might change us or help us see ourselves, our world or even God differently. It’s free and everyone is welcome.”
The exhibition is being curated by Bethany Piggott, whose post has been funded jointly by the Methodist Church, Leicester Cathedral and the Church of England (CofE)’s Leicester Diocese Growth Fund.
Jonathan Kerry, Chief Executive and Secretary for the CofE Diocese of Leicester and Cathedral Administrator, said “Not only is this a fabulous collection of paintings that will fascinate anyone who sees them, but we are very excited about the programme of talks, events and activities for all ages that will take place alongside the exhibition.”
We were delighted to host the Catholic bishops of England and Wales and Church of England bishops who met in Leicester from January 16th to 17th for their biennial conference.
Together 27 Anglican and 27 Catholic bishops explored a diverse range of subjects including opportunities for closer collaboration at a regional and national level. Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu were present throughout. Cardinal Nichols and Archbishop Welby addressed the gathering.
Dr Paula Gooder and Professor Paul Murray, members of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission, led the bishops in reflection on its latest document Walking Together On The Way. Drawing on their rich experience of walking together as fellow pilgrims, the bishops considered the life of their global communions. They explored similarities and differences between the structures of their churches.
The bishops also discussed how they might work together to address issues of national importance, including the UK’s relationship with the EU, recognising the unique role the Church plays as an instrument of reconciliation and peace in society.
The spirit of the meeting was expressed by Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, Bishop of Ripon, who said: “All good conversations start round the table over a meal.
“This 24 hour period has been a highly stimulating and honest time of sharing: prayer, fellowship, laughter and mutual support. I would like to think that the body of Christ has been enriched by this time and look forward to other opportunities to engage together.”
The Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Reverend Bernard Longley commented: “This meeting has highlighted how very far we have come in our fraternal discussions in the past 50 years. We have a strong bond, we are dealing with the same problems which we must continue to tackle in our different ways and support each other in our love for Christ and His flock.
“This meeting has been frank and realistic. I am both encouraged and strengthened by this sincere dialogue and our friendship as brothers and sisters in Christ. We journey onwards in hope – we have so much in common – in this drama of Redemption.”
The bishops gathered together for Evensong at Leicester Cathedral and for Mass and Morning Prayer at Holy Cross Dominican Priory in Leicester. Conference events and meals were provided by the St Martins House team and our neighbours at the Richard III Visitor Centre also hosted a tour for the bishops.
A joint choir of Leicester Cathedral and English Martyrs School sang at the Evensong, and Canon Alison Adams guided the bishops and other guests on a tour of the Cathedral afterwards.
The Bishop of Leicester, the Dean of Leicester, Leicester’s City Mayor and Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner have joined forces to launch Leicester’s Homelessness Charter.
The charter aims to improve the way organisations and individuals work together to tackle homelessness in the city, and to harness the enthusiasm of those who want to get involved but don’t know how.
More than 100 people from charities, the voluntary sector, local businesses and statutory organisations attended the launch, which took place at Leicester Cathedral at 2pm today (Monday 29 October 2018).
The Rt Revd Bishop Martyn Snow, Sir Peter Soulsby, and Lord Willy Bach, launched the charter by signing a pledge committing their organisations to support the aims of the charter.
The Rt Revd Bishop Martyn Snow said: “This is all about working together with the different groups within Leicester who have expertise on this issue for the good of people who experience homelessness. I am delighted that the Diocese of Leicester has been able to host and facilitate the development of this charter so that we all work together in genuine partnership to meet the needs of individuals at the heart of all we do.”
Sir Peter said: “The city council has a five year action plan to prevent and tackle homelessness in the city and we are spending more than £5 million a year to deliver this, working closely with many of the organisations here today. We know there are many other people working with energy and passion to support those experiencing homelessness in our city, and look forward to working with them to achieve our common aim.”
Lord Bach said: “There are many reasons why people are homeless including ill-health and drug or alcohol abuse. Sometimes it can be the result of crime and other times people turn to crime to try and survive. Society, public services and businesses need to work together to help people out of a revolving sequence of events that results in homelessness.”
It was also signed by the Very Revd David Monteith, Dean of Leicester, and by many of those attending, including representatives from the University of Leicester, Highcross Leicester, and faith groups. People who have themselves experienced homelessness took part in the event and have contributed to consultations on the charter.
The charter provides a vision, values and principles that can be shared by all of those working to prevent homelessness in the city, and to support those affected by it. It aims to reduce duplication, improve communication between those working with homeless people, and to raise awareness of services and how the public can help.
As a next step, many attendees at the launch have signed up to join identified action groups around particular aspects of homelessness, with dates already fixed for the first meetings. People experiencing homelessness will be involved in this work.
A website will shortly be created, which will track progress and enable other individuals and organisations both to pledge their support and to join in in practical ways. This will mean organisations working together and others perhaps lending expertise or giving of money and time.
Our Advent, Christmas and Epiphany theme uses word play to point to the Inn of Bethlehem whilst asking what might make for resilient families.
The Holy Family was hardly conventional. Before they had chance to settle, they fled as refugees. Returning home, Jesus turned out to be a challenging child. Grief scarred them as he died young from a violent death echoing too many families today.
Families come in all shapes and sizes: for example take a mum, a dad and 2.2 children, or a gay couple with elderly parents living together as a household. Families frame our lives. They can be sources of strength. For others they become a threat as perhaps the context for abuse.
Jesus entrusts his mother to John and his disciples to Peter. So a diverse, unlikely group grow to be a band of sisters and brothers. They build a new way of family in a shaky world. These Christians discover a love beyond biological ties.
This is a love of Jesus which is unchanging. It creates compassion over division. It resists evil and overcomes fear with forgiveness. It can even heal the wounds inflicted from broken family relationships.
The original Stable Family offers us wisdom. It can help us build Stable Families at home and within society. After all, we need to be loved, and to belong, to feel safe so we can thrive.
The Very Revd David Monteith, Dean of Leicester
The Dean’s Advent and Christmas Message
Services and Events
Sunday 23 December – Advent IV
15.00 The Cathedral Carol Service (II) A traditional service of readings and prayers with Choir and Congregational carols. No booking needed. All welcome.
CHRISTMAS EVE Monday 24 December
15.00 Blessing of the Crib A short service with carols and readings for children of all ages and their families as we build and bless the crib.
18.00 The Cathedral Carol Service (III) A traditional service of readings and prayers with Choir and Congregational carols. No booking needed. All welcome.
23.30 Midnight Mass: The First Communion of Christmas All welcome, to celebrate in the presence of the Christ Child and the Crib, with the Cathedral Choir, carols, incense and candlelight.
CHRISTMAS DAY Tuesday 25 December
08.00 Eucharist (BCP) All welcome.
10.30 Festal Eucharist for Christmas Day A Christmas morning service with carols, incense and Holy Communion. All welcome.
Sunday 6 January 2019 – Epiphany
10.30 Epiphany Eucharist All welcome.
Saturday 2 February 2019 – Candlemas
15.00 Installation of The Revd Canon Paul Rattigan All are welcome to a special service on Candlemas to install Paul Rattigan as Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Canon Chancellor of Leicester Cathedral. Preacher: The Bishop of Leicester.
Christmas in the Gardens
5pm–10pm daily Cathedral Gardens – Free
Marvel at LightWeight, a four metre high sphere in the Cathedral Gardens, lit up with shimmering colours and live animation.
A quick stop at the face-recognition camera and you can add your own face to the mix of this unique and interactive installation. Will your image be in a flock of mischievous angels flying around the sphere, or the face of another quirky animated character?
Come along and see for yourself, and soak up the festive atmosphere in the beautifully lit gardens.
Christmas in the Gardens is presented by BID Leicester and St Martins House, produced by Big Difference Company.
2 December 2018 – 6 January 2019
Throughout Advent and Christmas, we invite you to visit our Prayer Stable in the north aisle. We invite you to pray for your own family or for another family who need God’s peace or healing. We recognise that families come in all kinds of configurations and we know them to be places of great pain as well as great joy. God promises to meet us where we are. Please also pray for the Household of Faith in all its diversity across this Diocese. You may wish to use these bible verses to focus your prayers:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. Ephesians 3.14–17
28 January 2019
Can you share a story about what is putting pressure on you and the people you care about?
The Cathedral is a founding member of Leicester Citizens: a people’s alliance of education, labour, and faith working together for the common good in the city. We are listening to hundreds of people in our institutions to find out what people care about preparation for an accountability assembly in Leicester before the May 2019 Mayoral election.
If you have a story to tell about what is putting pressure on you and the people you care about, we are listening.
Search for ‘Leicester Citizens Listening Event’ on Eventbrite.
Dates for your diary
Join us for two Comedy Festival gigs in the Cathedral in 2019:
James Cary: The Sacred Art of Joking
Wednesday 13 February 2019, 7.30pm (Tickets)
The devil may have all the best times. But does he have all the best jokes? Was Jesus funny? Why does religion have to be so serious? BBC Comedy writer and church-goer James Cary (Miranda, Bluestone 42) explains why Christians should be able to take a joke and how the Bible is way funnier than it first appears. Seriously.
An Improvised Funeral Wednesday 20 February 2019, 7.30pm (Tickets)
Oxford Imps ask you to join us at Leicester Cathedral for a completely improvised funeral! Taking your suggestions we will show the life and times of a fictitious individual. With vibrant vicars, horrendous hymns, and flashbacks to the life of the deceased. You’ll die laughing as we urn your applause putting the fun into funeral. “refreshingly interactive” Opening Night “Devilishly funny” Daily Info “Dead Funny” Oxford Mail “Devastatingly funny”***** Ed Fringe Review
Changed Opening Hours over Christmas
From Wednesday 26 December 2018 to Sunday 6 January 2019, the Cathedral closes earlier every day at 16.00. Please take note of these reduced opening hours before arranging your visit.
Below you can see the seasonal booklet – pick one up in the Cathedral now!
The Bishop of Leicester is pleased to announce the appointment of the Revd Canon Paul Rattigan, Canon for Discipleship at Liverpool Cathedral, to the combined role of Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Canon Chancellor at Leicester Cathedral. The date of Paul’s installation will be announced in due course.
Bishop of Loughborough, the Rt Revd Guli Francis-Dehqani – whose role includes that of Sponsoring Bishop, overseeing and supporting the vocations of those called to ordained ministry – also welcomed Paul’s appointment. Bishop Guli said: “I’m very excited about working with Paul who combines a real love for Cathedral ministry with a passion for vocations. He will be a great asset to the team here in Leicester and we’re looking forward to welcoming him.”
The Very Revd Dean of Leicester, David Monteith, said: “A third of Paul’s time will be spent on Cathedral educational work. He will bring much experience in this area. As we welcome Paul, we pray he will thrive and help us become more of ‘a beating heart for city and county.”
Paul, who is married to Anne and has a daughter who lives with her family in Nottingham, has himself spoken of his connections to the Midlands and his commitment to both cathedrals and vocation.
He said: “Vocations and discipleship have long been a passion of mine. Cathedrals are a more recent love but no less important in my calling to this new role. I grew up in the Midlands and then went to university where I studied various subjects before moving to Liverpool to teach maths and psychology. It was here that my call to ordained ministry crystallised and I was ordained in 1995 at Liverpool Cathedral.
“Since then I have served in various parishes from inner city to suburbia in both Birmingham and Liverpool. I was delighted to return to Liverpool five years ago to become Canon for Discipleship but surprised to find myself at the cathedral which is not my background at all. Since then cathedrals have gotten under my skin and I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to focus on discipleship.
“Having been involved in careers guidance before ordination, I quickly became part of the vocations team during my curacy and have continued this for over 20 years. Firstly becoming Examining Chaplain, then Diocesan Vocations Adviser and currently a BAP adviser as well as working closely with St Mellitus North West. Therefore, when I saw this post where I could more fully serve within the vocations field as well as keeping my love of cathedrals and discipleship going I felt a definite call to this post.
“There are changes currently going on within the discernment and training for ordained ministry and new ones for the future. I am looking forward to being part of a newly formed team, walking with people, as together we discern what God is doing in their lives.
“I will be sad to leave Liverpool and our friends but my overarching impression of Leicester, and the people I met during the interview process, was how hospitable everyone was. I am very excited about getting to know new friends and a new area.”
The season from September to November is titled ‘Planet – Politics – Peace’ and covers a variety of events connected to the liturgical year and other themes. Over this period of time various events and services explore the question of how faith and action hang together and influence each other.
We begin by celebrating Creationtide, an ecumenical and international initiative from 1 September to 4 October. We reflect on God’s gifts in creation and the challenges arising from the dominium terrae, that God has given human beings ‘dominion over the works of your hands and put all things under their feet’ (Psalm 8). The season concludes on the day Francis of Assisi is commemorated. Francis, patron saint of ecology and the environment, is remembered for his advocacy of poverty and simplicity, as well as his love of all God’s creatures.
Being entrusted with the care of God’s creation is anything but political in times of environmental crises like plastic pollution and climate change. Historic occasions like the centenary of suffrage and the Armistice at the end of World War 1 pose their own focal points within the bigger question of how God wants us to exercise our care for his creation and how God calls us to live in a complex and unfinished world.
The Reverend Canon Dr Johannes Arens, Canon Precentor
Sermons on the Theme
The combining thread throughout this season is the question of faith and action. How does my faith (or vision, values) influence my actions? To this end, Sunday Eucharist guest preachers will preach on a theme linking to ‘Planet – Politics – Peace’ as below.
There But Not There
9 October – 13 November 2018
All of us are used to war memorials, but during this period of time a number of transparent silhouettes will take up seats in Leicester Cathedral, representing some of the fallen of the First World War. This is part of an exhibition on the impact of the war on the community of the former parish of St Martin’s (now Leicester Cathedral) which is exemplary for other communities in the wider country.
Extensive research by local historian Elizabeth Amias has been done on biographical information for those who lived here, those who went to war, those who died, those who returned alive and all of those who had to live with what this has done to us. All are welcome to the opening of the exhibition with an introductory talk by Elizabeth Amias on 9 October, 6.30pm (see page 4).
As homelessness increases nationally, the local Church of England, City Council and organisations working with people who are homeless, are joining forces to develop a Charter aimed at tackling the issue.
A draft Homelessness Charter is out for consultation until 7 September 2018. You can read the draft charter and submit your comments by clicking here.
It aims to establish principles and values which will enable people and organisations to work together better to tackle homelessness, trying to prevent it happening as well as providing more support for those affected by it.
The Charter will also provide a framework for improvement in the way different groups and organisations support people who are homeless or sleeping rough; enabling change; raising awareness; providing advice and developing a more co-ordinated approach.
In November last year a targeted campaign was carried out under the principles of the European End Street Homeless Campaign to provide more detailed information and insight about those who were currently or had rough slept in the last six months. This included a survey of people sleeping outside in Leicester or using night shelters.
Information gathered from the survey, and from the city council’s five-year Homeless Strategy, has been used to help shape the Charter.
Discussions started in January when the Church of England at St Martins House Conference Centre in Leicester, brought together a forum made up of a range of agencies including, the Police, the Red Cross, the Y Centre, One Roof Leicester and Street Pastors.
The Revd Canon Alison Adams, Chair of the homeless forum working group, said: “We invite all interested parties, whether individuals or groups, to read this draft Charter and respond to this consultation.
“We will review the outcomes of the consultation, hear peoples’ views including those of people directly affected by homelessness, explore what other cities are doing with regard both to tackling homelessness and developing a Charter which brings organisations and individuals together to support and contribute to tackling homelessness. Hopefully, we will be able to launch a finalised Charter at an event in late autumn 2018.
“I hear many people seeking to understand better and asking what they could do to make a difference. This Charter will establish principles and values and enable people to work together better to tackle homelessness.”
Cllr Andy Connelly, Asst City Mayor for housing said: “There are many different groups and individuals across the city offering support to people who are homeless and people sleeping rough. We welcome the creation of a charter which aims to bring together all those who are working to reduce and resolve this in our city.”
St Martins Lodge, just opened in October 2018, offers 28 fully en-suite double and twin bedrooms of luxurious accommodation within a fully renovated Grade ll listed building opposite Leicester Cathedral and within the historic Greyfriars area, just yards from the spot where the remains of King Richard III were discovered in 2012.
Many bedrooms offer unrestricted views of the Cathedral and its beautiful Gardens, adjacent to the King Richard lll Visitor Centre, St Martins House Conference, Wedding and Events Venue, and the Guildhall.
Breakfast for overnight guests will be served in the White Rose Café.
St Martins Lodge is operated by the same team as St Martins House Conference Centre, which is an activity of the Church of England Diocese of Leicester.
AN ICONIC portrait of King Richard III will go on display at Leicester’s New Walk Museum next summer, thanks to a new initiative by the National Portrait Gallery in London.
The gallery’s Coming Home project is loaning works depicting famous people to the places they are most closely associated with – which means that the late 16th century portrait of Richard III by an unknown artist will be loaned to the city of Leicester in 2019.
The portrait – which measures around 25” x 18” – shows a head and shoulder view of the King, who appears to be placing a ring on the little finger of his right hand.
News of the loan comes as Leicester’s King Richard III Visitor Centre celebrates its fourth birthday.
Deputy city mayor Cllr Piara Singh Clair said: “The remains of King Richard III were discovered in Leicester and reinterred in Leicester Cathedral in 2015, so it’s fitting that this prestigious portrait is ‘coming home’.
“This oil painting is one of the primary portraits of King Richard III, so it’s an image that will already be familiar to many people in Leicester – especially those who have been to our visitor centre.
“We are delighted that New Walk Museum will be part of this project and we’re very grateful to the National Portrait Gallery for making this loan possible.”
The Coming Home initiative will see 50 portraits from the national collection travel to towns and cities across the UK.
A portrait of William Wilberforce – who led Britain’s campaign to abolish slavery – will go on display in Hull, the place of his birth, David Hockney’s Self-Portrait with Charlie will be shown at the Cartwright Hall Art Gallery in the artist’s hometown of Bradford, while a photographic portrait of Sheffield-born athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill will go on loan to Museums Sheffield.
Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “Every corner of the UK has well known faces who have played a significant role in our nation’s history. I am delighted that 50 of these famous figures will be returning home so that current generations can be inspired by their stories. We are determined to ensure that more of the UK can see some of our world-class art collections, and with thanks to the National Portrait Gallery, Coming Home is an exciting first step in the right direction.”
The National Portrait Gallery has been collecting portraits of men and women who have made a significant contribution to British life and history since 1856.
Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, said: “We hope that sending portraits ‘home’ in this way will foster a sense of pride and create a personal connection for local communities to a bigger national history; thus helping us to fulfil our aim of being truly a national gallery for everyone, in our role as the nation’s family album.”
Coming Home is supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, by generous contributions from The Thompson Family Charitable Trust, and by funds raised at the gallery’s Portrait Gala in 2017.