Parishes Give Thanks for Cathedral Jubilee

14th May 2011

As the bells pealed out in celebration, members of Anglican churches in and around Farnham were among those from the 165 parishes who packed Guildford Cathedral on Saturday 14th May 2011 to take part in the Diocesan Service of Thanksgiving for the Golden Jubilee of the consecration of their Mother Church.

Gowns, robes and wigs were in evidence as colourful processions of Clerical, Civic, County and University dignitaries filed in.

The Service opened dramatically, when the Bishop of Guildford, outside the closed doors of the Cathedral, knocked with his pastoral staff, saying the words: “Lift up your heads, O gates be lifted up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in” and the congregation responded: “Who is the King of Glory?”

Only after the Bishop had knocked three times, in a continuing dialogue with the congregation, did all within cry out with a loud voice “OPEN! OPEN! OPEN!”.  Then a fanfare was sounded, the doors were flung back and Bishop Christopher entered with his escort — the magnificent and inspiring celebration had begun.

  Parish representatives leaving after the celebration with their Jubilee Candles.

Music of great splendour was provided by the Cathedral Choir and the Surrey Advanced Brass Ensemble.

Bishop Christopher Hill was preacher and, during the service, he consecrated a new font, a 50th Anniversary gift from the Cathedral Friends.  He led the congregation in a renewal of baptismal vows and sprinkled them with holy water.

The Bishop said he had recently been speaking with the Queen about the Golden Jubilee celebrations, recalling that Her Majesty was present at the consecration of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit on 17th May 1961.  She said: “Good gracious, what a long time ago!”.

In culmination of the Service of Thanksgiving, a representative from each parish went forward to be presented with a Golden Jubilee Candle to take back to his or her own church, to be lit on each Sunday until Pentecost as an act of thanksgiving for the Mother Church.