Being Installed as an Honorary Canon
23 October 2023
The Revd Karlene Kerr is Team Vicar of Gaywood Team Ministry, King’s Lynn shares her experience of being installed as Canon at Norwich Cathedral.
I have always loved Cathedrals – these great bastions of faith and tradition hold a special fascination; the architecture, their place in the nation’s often dark and turbulent history, the centuries of worship, and the whole concept of the ‘Mother Church’. It’s long been my goal to visit all the major English cathedrals, a quest I’m still on!
In my discernment journey in the early noughties, I was asked by someone where I envisioned serving in my future ministry. I replied that I would love to serve in a cathedral or be connected to one somehow. The reply that came was “no, only certain people are called to ministry in Cathedrals – you have to have particular skills…” Oh, I thought, I’m clearly not that sort of person.
Fast forward to Sunday October 15 2023 when I was installed as an Honorary Canon at Norwich Cathedral. What does this mean to me? Apart from it being an honour and privilege, it felt immediately as if a door which had felt shut had been flung open and the people inside with smiling faces said a very loud, ‘COME IN’. I am always heartened each time the Dean and others uses the phrase ‘your cathedral’.
My installation represents the fact that there is a strong commitment from the senior staff to ensure that racial justice, diversity and inclusion become embedded into the life and ministry of the Cathedral. The responsibility is thankfully, not solely mine and that of my minority ethnic colleagues. Rather there is a collective recognition and acknowledgement that racial justice, indeed justice of any kind, is all our responsibility. Now is the time for substance over symbolism.
Lastly, it means that somehow, mysteriously, without any planning or direct action on my part, I have arrived where I once said I wanted to be. God both saw and heard – he saw my dampened enthusiasm and my mental and physical slump when the response was no to my desire to be part of a cathedral – and he said YES. I am moved to the point of tears. What a mighty, faithful God we serve.