700 and still counting

Author: The Revd Canon Andy Bryant

Published on: 1 January 2017

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 wwbarf@pngurqeny.bet.hx to request an information pack.

The author...

The Revd Canon Andy Bryant

Licensed clergy

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