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Christine Wilson

Christine Wilson

Christine Wilson became the 81st Dean of Lincoln and the first female to hold the position in October 2016. She was Archdeacon of Chesterfield in the Diocese of Derby since 2010.

This year marks 950 years since the construction of Lincoln Cathedral began.

The building has stood on the hill above the city, a beacon of faith and worship ever since, and as I reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to what the coming year may bring, it is reassuring to be reminded of that constancy through the centuries.

We approached 2021 with cautious optimism; in-person services resumed in mid-February and the vaccine rollout was picking up pace and offering protection and peace of mind. While the journey through 2021 may not have been as smooth as we might wish, there has been much to celebrate – not least the faith, resilience and creativity shown by the community as we navigate the uncertainties of life together and embrace new ways of fulfilling our mission.

Online worship has now become a regular part of our lives; what began as a response to the restrictions imposed by lockdown, has now flourished into an established way for more people to encounter faith and spirituality. Those who are unable to visit the Cathedral to take part in services – not just those who are housebound, but also people from all over the world who hold the Cathedral in their hearts – can now join in from their own home and feel part of our community. Similarly, we contributed to a video for care workers to share with their housebound clients – bringing the music of our talented choir and the joy of the Christmas story directly into their homes.

As well as these alternative methods of engagement, a source of much personal joy has been welcoming so many people into the Cathedral again. After the quiet imposed by the enforced closure of the Cathedral in 2020 and at the start of 2021, it has been uplifting to feel the building resonate with life, music, prayer and thanksgiving.

Our festive, orchestral performances of The Snowman created a magical atmosphere, bringing light into the dark – both metaphorically and literally – as the nave was illuminated with vibrant colours and sparkling snowflakes, and families and friends came together for an experience which they will remember for years to come.

The Cathedral community very much enjoyed welcoming Songs of Praise for the first time in 16 years. While it was undoubtedly unusual to see Christmas trees in the nave and to be singing Christmas carols in September, the event brought some welcome enjoyment and was a great opportunity to share this city which we all know and love with people from across the country.

Heritage Rescue have also been filming throughout the year, shining a spotlight on the skill and dedication of the teams that tirelessly maintain and conserve this historic building.

The opening of our new shop and café has allowed us to offer hospitality to more people than ever before, and in the coming weeks, the final parts of our new visitor centre will officially open, with the unveiling of the Romanesque Frieze which forms the magnificent centrepiece of our new exhibition gallery. I can’t wait to share this wonderful new space with all our visitors, and I would like to take this opportunity to express my huge pride in all the members of our team who make this happen and ensure that the Cathedral fulfils its mission of welcome and hospitality every day of the year.

As we step into 2022, there can be no certainty about what the next year will bring. But what we can be sure of is that we will step forward with hope, demonstrate love and compassion, and continue to ensure that the Cathedral is a visible sign of God’s love where all are welcomed.

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!

Christine Wilson became the 81st Dean of Lincoln and the first female to hold the position in October 2016. She was Archdeacon of Chesterfield in the Diocese of Derby since 2010.

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