My cathedral life: Lucy Thalange

Published on: 1 May 2017

My parents started taking me to Norwich Cathedral when I was three years old so naturally Sunday school was the highlight for me. I also enjoyed people-watching, and at communion I noticed that it was only the people that put their hands out who got the bread.

I was hungry so every week I would put my hands out to see if I could get some bread but the priests saw right through me and gave me a blessing instead.

One week, when I was about 11, I noticed one of my friends from Sunday school being an acolyte (although at this point I thought it was pronounced ‘alcolyte’ which suggests a slightly different role). I wanted to help during services like she did, so I got my parents to talk to the Canon Pastor at the time to see if I could have confirmation lessons. Each Saturday morning for two months I, and another girl I became friends with, learnt more about how the services worked and looked more closely at the teachings of the Bible.

Getting confirmed was definitely a turning point for me as a member of the cathedral community. I was much more aware of Christianity as a part of my life and now understood why everything was done in a certain way. Becoming an acolyte also gave me a sense of purpose. The Dean also asked me to meet and give flowers to the Queen when she came to open the Hostry. This clear acceptance into the cathedral community gave me more confidence to socialise after the services and I made friends with some of the older members of the congregation.

At fourteen I joined the Cathedral Girls’ Choir as did one of my childhood friends (purely by coincidence). Not only did it bring us closer but we both made lots of new friends who I’m sure we’ll stay in contact with for years to come. My friend wasn’t particularly religious so I really enjoyed seeing her fall in love with music I’d been listening to all my life (and now she’s even thinking about getting confirmed). This was another turning point for me as I had done a lot of choral singing before but not in a way that involved giving back to a community that had helped me grow.

Being members of the Cathedral Girls’ Choir helped both of us grow as musicians and has shown me a new way to be a part of the cathedral community. As if it were all some sort of mystic cycle my friend from Sunday school became Head Chorister and a year later my childhood friend and I became Co-Head Choristers. This is our last year before we leave home and it’s safe to say we’re already missing it.

I honestly couldn’t have dreamt of a better experience as a member of the cathedral community. I have seen the cathedral change and grow just as the cathedral has seen me change and grow. I have been encouraged to take every step that I did and introduced to new paths I didn’t know existed, so all that’s left to say is “thank you”.

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