|Comment on this report, or find other reports.
|Our Mystery Worshippers are volunteers who warm church pews for us around the world. If you'd like to become a Mystery Worshipper, start here.
|Find out how to reproduce this report in your church magazine or website.
Worshipper: Teutonic Knight.
Church of the Holy Trinity, Chichester, West Sussex, England.
of England, Diocese
It is the smallest medieval cathedral in England, the oldest
part dating back to 1075. That, combined with the clean unpretentious
lines, give it the intimate feel of a parish church. Chichester
Cathedral is famous for its free-standing 14th century bell
tower, and has the longest uninterrupted aisle of any English
cathedral. The spire, rebuilt after it collapsed in 1861, fortunately
without loss of life, is the only English cathedral spire visible
from the sea. The shrine of St Richard is located in the retro-choir.
The quire boasts a fine set of wooden misericords from the 14th
century, and the Lady chapel has been beautifully restored recently.
Chichester Cathedral holds together modern and ancient art in
a unique mixture of artifacts, with a number of modern works
of art especially commissioned for the cathedral in the 20th
century. The Garden of Eden (the green inside the cloisters)
is regularly used for modern art exhibitions.
It regularly hosts concerts (some of them free), lectures, social
and educational events. The small choir of 14 trebles, six lay
vicars and up to four probationers is one of the last bastions
of the all-male cathedral choir in England, though interestingly
the master of the choristers has been a woman since 2007. Since
2002 peregrine falcons have been breeding here. The cathedral
entertains ecumenical relations with both Roman Catholic and
Lutheran cathedral communities in Germany as well as Chartres
Cathedral in France.
The origins of the city of Chichester are Roman, and large sections
of the old city walls survive. It is one of the few English
cities that retains its ancient street pattern very noticeably
in the city centre, with four intersecting roads corresponding
to the major compass points. The cathedral is very close to
the geographical centre at the heart of the city. Nearby are
some civic buildings. A little further, but still in the centre
of the city, is an art gallery, the university, and the famous
Chichester Festival Theatre.
The Rt Revd Dr Martin Warner, whose enthronement as Bishop of
Chichester took place at this service; the Rt Revd Mark Sowerby,
Bishop of Horsham; the Ven. Sheila Watson, Archdeacon of Canterbury;
the dean and chapter of Chichester Cathedral; the Worshipful
Mark Hill, QC, Chancellor of the Diocese of Chichester; John
Rees, Registrar of the Province of Canterbury; John Stapleton,
Registrar of the Diocese of Chichester.
The date & time:
Feast of Christ the King, 24 November 2012, 3.30pm.
What was the name of the service?
Enthronement of the Rt Revd Dr Martin Warner as 103rd Bishop
How full was the building?
Packed with all the great and the good of the diocese both ecclesiastical
and secular: all the parish clergy and licensed readers, visiting
clergy, and one lay representative from each parish.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
The regular stewards were supported by additional helpers, all
of them friendly but overwhelmed by the occasion.
Was your pew comfortable?
No. The cattle-class plastic folding chairs broken out in the
aisles and transept for occasional events are among the worst
available, in my opinion. They were highly uncomfortable and
also placed much too close together, with almost no leg room.
The business-class padded chairs in the nave are much better,
though a bit 1970s.
How would you describe
the pre-service atmosphere?
This was a great civic and ecclesiastic occasion and therefore
had none of the usual reflective pre-service quietness. Ticket-holders
were instructed to be in their pews at least half an hour before
the start of the service, and the reason for this became clear
when the minutely choreographed procession commenced and a hush
descended on the congregation.
What were the exact opening words of the
From the dean of Chichester Cathedral: "My brothers and
sisters in Christ, we have come together in the presence of
Almighty God to inaugurate the ministry of Martin, Bishop of
Chichester, and to place him in the episcopal chair of his cathedral
What books did the congregation
use during the service?
In the pews had been placed a 32-page booklet containing the
whole order of service, with introductory notes by dean and
chancellor of the cathedral and the words of the oath of allegiance
sworn by the new bishop in his private chapel before the start
of the service.
What musical instruments
Organ and cathedral choir, and the gospel choir of the University
of Chichester during the welcome following the enthronement.
Sadly, where I was sitting the choir was barely audible.
Did anything distract you?
So many clergy and other dignitaries could not help but be a
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip,
happy clappy, or what?
Traditional high Anglican evensong with additional full pageant
for the occasion, and with the cathedral clergy sporting for
the first time vestments commissioned for high days. Alas, the
taking of photographs was expressly prohibited, but the diocese
has kindly posted photos on Flickr.
Exactly how long was the
On a scale of 1-10, how
good was the preacher?
10 Bishop Warner delivered the sermon with conviction
and the urgency of someone constantly on the move and looking
ahead a tonic much needed in this diocese. He pulled
In a nutshell, what was
the sermon about?
The diocese cannot escape the full responsibility of its institutional
failure to protect young people in its care in the past. The
political processes of synodical government have failed to endorse
the desire of the majority of people in the Church of England.
It is not the institutional Church, but the life and witness
of individual Christians, that provide the real reference points
for Christian truth. He neatly linked this to the gospel reading
from Matthew 14:22-33 (the calming of the storm), stating that
faith is discovered, and the nature of divine love revealed,
in suffering and the grind of daily life through the transformative
redemptive mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In the wake of past failures we now have to learn a language
of new righteousness and truth, drawing on all creative resources
available to us. Perfect love casts out fear. Do not be afraid
to share the gospel of Christ in this diocese.
Which part of the service
was like being in heaven?
The sermon, which addressed the problems facing this diocese
openly without pussy-footing around and avoiding uncomfortable
truths. But the icing on the cake was the fact that the new
bishop, who was one of only three senior clergy to vote at the
general synod against the appointment of women bishops, was
himself enthroned by a woman, the Archdeacon of Canterbury.
And which part was like
being in... er... the other place?
The feeling of being merely an observer having to sit
in the aisle and watch the proceedings on screens to make way
for the one-off visiting dignitaries in what is my own diocesan
cathedral. It gave one an idea of what it might have been like
in the Middle Ages when the ordinary people would not have been
allowed anywhere near the sacred.
What happened when you
hung around after the service looking lost?
This was not an occasion to hang around looking lost, but rather
to join the throng.
How would you describe the after-service
A big marquee had been erected in the Garden of Eden, where
champagne in glasses and coffee and tea in styrofoam cups were
being served. The bishop cut the cake produced by trainee caterers
from the local college. I missed the canapes, though.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
8 Iím glad an enthronement is a rare occasion. I would not like to give over the cathedral to occasional visiting dignitaries too often. I do live close, but unfortunately not quite close enough to become a regular.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a
Yes. This diocese will be resurrected from the grave and emerge
in glorious light.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The sermon and the very deep voice of the Archdeacon of Canterbury.
|We rely on voluntary donations to stay online. If you're a regular visitor to Ship of Fools, please consider supporting us.
|The Mystery Pilgrim
| One of our most seasoned reporters makes the Camino pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Read here.
| Read reports from 70 London churches, visited by a small army of Mystery Worshippers on one single Sunday. Read here.