‘They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them’
Today, Remembrance Sunday, we pray for our service men and women who gave their lives in defence of our country in the two World Wars and in times of conflict or in peace-keeping duties in recent times. We remember them and acknowledge their ultimate sacrifice. We are mindful also of those injured and maimed by conflict and war and re dedicate ourselves to praying and working for peace. The Merchant Navy Remembrance Service will take place here at 3pm this Sunday afternoon.
There are copies available in the Crypt Chapel and the Cathedral which present the Annual Summarised Report of the Diocesan Accounts for 2016. As the diocese is one large charity these figures include the consolidated accounts of all the parishes, the central services, diocesan clubs and other commercial companies that form part of the one Charity. The accounts have to be presented in a set format as laid down by the charity commission but the written commentary and the key figures offer a clearer picture regarding general parish income and expenditure. The state of our Cathedral finances is a much more challenging one to that of the combined Diocesan summary. We do live from hand to mouth running at a slight loss each year as well as carrying a debt from previous large scale repair and refurbishment works which we are only managing to pay off in small amounts each year. I have to meet with our accountant in the next few weeks and the hope is that I might be able to get him to provide us with a user friendly picture of our Cathedral finances that I can make available for parishioners to see. The financial picture at St Vincent’s is also one of considerable debt and with the two debts combined I can lay claim to being the parish priest who owes the biggest debt to the Diocese. Fortunately the Diocese doesn’t own a debtors prison!
This coming week there is the joint concert of the Metropolitan and Westminster Cathedral Choirs on Wednesday at 7pm. The Tate will be opening an exhibition on the work of John Piper (one of the two designers of the majority of the glasswork throughout our building) from Friday until March 2018. The Friends of the Cathedral are holding a sell-out Christmas flower arranging demonstration in the Gibberd Room on Saturday afternoon, though you can still get tickets at Cathedral House if you are quick.
Next Sunday Choral Evening Prayer at 3pm will incorporate the singing of a Bach Cantata accompanied by a string quartet.
Looking further ahead to the start of the season of Advent, there will be a series of four evenings reflecting on and discussing the Advent Sunday Readings. Look forward to seeing you there. The first session will take place in the Chapel in the Chemin Neuf Student House on Wednesday 29 November from 6.30pm – 7.30pm. It will be a warm and friendly forum and you don’t have to commit to coming to them all.
Canon Anthony O’Brien