Reflections 2017: Christine Wilson – A peaceful and happy New Year to all

It has been a stunning year at Lincoln Cathedral! We began with the tremendous news that our bid for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund had been successful.

This coming year work will begin to restore the Romanesque frieze on the West Front. Landscaping will begin on the Dean’s Green to create a new public space and work will get underway to develop the new visitor centre with shop, café and an interpretation space to display some of your cathedral’s treasures.

Together with the city we joined in marking the 800th anniversary of both the Battle of Lincoln and the signing of the Charter of the Forest. Highlights of the celebrations were the enactment of the battle at the West Front and the fabulous Charter of the Forest dinner which had the vast nave of the building decked out with trees, candles and forest greenery as we welcomed 800 guests.

On a chilly November day, I had the privilege of dedicating the Cathedral Copse at Monks Wood where 120 oak saplings were planted by many local families to provide timber for the cathedral building in the next century.

So many events were enthusiastically supported by visitors and pilgrims during the year including performances of Handel’s Messiah, The Halle, Jekyll and Hyde and the Snowman. We delivered a unique occasion with the London Livery Companies showcasing ancient crafts at our Heritage Skills Festival and a real delight for me was the wonderful Jazz Mass during the Lincoln Jazz Festival.

Our worship has been enriched throughout the year by an influx of gifted choristers drawn from 10 local schools. The choir is enjoying new premises with a brand new ‘Song School’ at newly refurbished 16 Minster Yard. There has also been a turnover of many key members of staff.

Alongside my arrival as Dean towards the end of 2016, this last September we welcomed the Revd Canon Sal McDougall as our new Precentor. As a gifted singer and musician she looks after our life of worship. Early in the coming year we will be welcoming a new Canon Chancellor who will develop our engagement with the concerns and needs of the city as our public theologian and our newly appointed Chapter Clerk will be leading the operational work across the Cathedral.

Being voted the best cathedral in the #cathedralworldcup on Twitter demonstrated the huge support and many partnerships we enjoy. We look forward to strengthening our commitment to serve the city, the diocese and all of Greater Lincolnshire, making our contribution to the work of mutual flourishing both spiritually, intellectually and physically in the year ahead.

On behalf of the Cathedral Community I wish you every blessing for a peaceful and happy New Year. We hope to see you in 2018. All are welcome!