700 and still counting
What a beautiful place! … this is a ‘must see’ when in Norwich. Very welcoming, from the moment we stepped through the door … were greeted by a guide with information and a very welcome leaflet (I love a leaflet!). Trip Advisor October 2016
Beside the sheer beauty of the building (and the yummy cakes in our café), visitors repeatedly comment on our welcoming, friendly and informative volunteers. This is a great tribute to the wonderful team of volunteers who do so much to contribute to the life and ministry of our Cathedral.
At the last count we have over 700 volunteers supporting nearly every aspect of Cathedral life from Welcomers and Guides to helping in our shop and Refectory café, through to our Stewards, Day Chaplains and Flower Arrangers.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of our volunteers are the newly-retired. After a lifetime of work, volunteering at the Cathedral provides a way of still being active and involved and to feel they are still have a contribution to make, as well as being associated with one of the county’s most iconic buildings. They value the chance to be part of the Cathedral’s life and to get to know the building better.
Every time I go into the cathedral I see something I hadn’t noticed before, even the way light falls on stone or a name on a memorial I hadn’t read before. (Caryl: Guide)
And the longer you spend in the building the more there is to discover:
The abiding delight is delving into the building’s absorbing history, and then sharing this information amongst our visitors within the building’s unique atmosphere of holiness. (David: Guide)
Remembering the Benedictine foundation of the Cathedral, we regularly remind one another of the calling to treat each visitor as if they were Christ himself. This is a high calling, and we know, from time to time, we will fall down on this. Nevertheless each of our volunteers wants to play their part in ensuring our visitors enjoy their time at the Cathedral and have the best possible experience:
Welcoming people of varying nationalities makes me feel like an ‘ambassador’ for England, Norwich and the Church itself. (Eleanor: Welcomer)
And of course you never know who you might meet. One of our Welcomers, an Australian by birth, found herself welcoming a visitor from a very small community back in Australia where her father still lives.
Spending regular time in this ancient shelter house of prayer also has its own impact on our volunteers:
I love the special tranquillity and sense of history in the Cathedral. My two hours each Tuesday afternoon put the events of a busy week in perspective and enable me to share with visitors my enthusiasm for the glories of this numinous building. (Pat: Guide)
We owe a great debt of gratitude to our volunteers for all they contribute to the life and work of the Cathedral. They highlight the important role volunteering plays in society and are a daily reminder of the part that people at all stages of life can play in enriching the life of both community and Church.
If you would like to volunteer at Norwich Cathedral, and especially if you would like to help as a Welcomer or Guide, please contact Julia Jones via either 01603 218448 or email@example.com to request an information pack.
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Articles in this issue...
Spiritual gifts in later life
"I believe that spirituality is very much part of my religion, my faith, my meaning, my understanding, and spirituality lifts me and aids me in my everyday work."More
Monday Mardle at Saxlingham Nethergate
Corinne Douglas and Celia Blyth are archetypal "third agers": in their early 70's, active, committed members of their parish church. Twelve years ago they saw a need in their community and decided to do something about it.More
Volunteering is good for everyone!
Giving just a little of your time can make a big difference, not only to those you’re helping but to yourself too. A May 2012 study by the Royal Voluntary Service (formerly the WRVS) found that volunteering in later life decreased depression and social isolation. It was also found to boost quality of life and life satisfaction. For us as Christians, it’s also encouraged in the Bible: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)More
God’s grace perseveres through our ages and stages
When I was asked to contribute this comment, it was a shock to realise that I had been numbered as one of the Elect of the Third Age - but of course, that’s what I am, with a fair number of All Hallows’ Community.More
From beginning to end with Open the Book
The bible is full of stories of people who entered into ministry later in life. With more people now aged over 60 than under 18 in the UK, what role do older people have to play in relating to the younger generation? Irene Nickerson talks about her role as Open the Book Coordinator for Norfolk.More
Building an intergenerational culture in your church
For many it seems society is becoming ever more divided and more insular and we are losing the ability to communicate – especially across intergenerational boundaries. Toddlers, Teenagers, Generation X, 3rd Generation – all these terms divide up our communities, putting them in boxes that mean we plan activities by age – young people in schools, older people in retirement homes.More
The Gift of Years
As more churches seek to respond to the challenges of a rapidly ageing population, The Bible Reading Fellowship’s The Gift of Years ministry signposts ways in which our later years can be more spiritually fertile, and infinitely more fulfilling.More
Face to Faith – Val Dodsworth
Val has been involved in the rehabilitation of offenders for most of her life. After 20 years in the Probation Service and five in the chaplaincy in Norwich Prison, in December 2000 she started the House of Genesis (A place for a new start) by welcoming homeless men into her own home.More
From generation to generation – learning life lessons
Biddy Collyer had been living alone in a two bedroomed house in Norwich city centre for 15 years and during that time had a number of lodgers, all male. Last year she knew that a young friend from church, Suze Rose, wanted to move from Dereham where she had been working and living with her parents since leaving University. Biddy invited her to move in while she completed her training as a Beauty Therapist. Twelve months on, the reflect on an experience of house-sharing across generations.More
Talkin’ ’bout my generation
Contrary to what many rock starts expected, they did not die before they got old, and our churches nowadays contain many from the rock generation. Some of them are in leadership positions. Time Lenton explores the concept of the "boomer" Christians.More