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Cathedral, Derby, England
Worshipper: The Revelator.
Cathedral Church of All Saints, Derby, England.
of England, Diocese
A church was originally built on this site in 943. The tower
survives fron 1530 and the rest of the church and interior
decor from 1725. The church was upgraded to a cathedral in
1927 and Derby was upgraded to a city in 1977. Inside, the
church has very dark wooden pews and fittings; it has a set
of choir stalls prior to the nave and a retro-choir behind
the altar. The nave is ornate wrought-iron bearing various
royal insignia, and the altar is contained beneath a cream
and gilt ciborium bearing a Chi Rho. The ceiling is pale pink
and gilt. At the left back corner there is a small room for
children and the prayer candles are also kept in this area.
The church: The cathedral has
both a choral and a pastoral outreach to schools in Derby,
and provides the chaplain to the University. They state they
provide welcome and hospitality to pilgrims and those in distress.
There is an Embroidery workshop, in charge of the design,
restoration and maintenance of the cathedral's vestments and
altar cloths, and which works closely with the University's
textile department. In 2005 two peregrine falcons were discovered
nested in the tower and the website has pages dedicated to
following their progress.
Derby is a city in central England. It has a rich history
involving Romans, Vikings and Saxons. In the 18th century
the area played an important role in the Industrial Revolution,
with many engineering advances. The Davy
lamp was invented here and the 18th century artist Joseph
Wright lived here, amongst others. Derby was upgraded to a
city in 1977 and now has a population of around a quarter
of a million. Its biggest employers remain engineering companies,
along with more recent businesses such as internet banks.
The cathedral is in the city centre, in what is now called
the cathedral quarter, an area that also features museums,
shops, cafes and wine bars. Near the cathedral there is an
industrial silk museum and the 19th century St Mary's Roman
The cathedral's curate, the Revd Dawn Glen, presided. The
preacher was the Very Revd Dr John Davies, dean of Derby.
The deacon was the Revd Andie Brown, canon theologian.
The date & time:
Feast of St Stephen, Deacon and First Martyr, 26 December
What was the name of
How full was the building?
About a quarter to a third full.
Did anyone welcome you
A lady said hello to me. I had bought my two year old daughter
with me and I was very helpfully shown the children's room
(a cosy-looking room at the back with toys in it) and I was
also given the service booklet.
Was your pew comfortable?
My pew was covered with some nice hassocks that were comfy
to sit on.
How would you describe
the pre-service atmosphere?
Very quiet and reverential.
What were the exact
opening words of the service?
There were no opening words – the service just started
straight into the opening hymn: "Come, thou Redeemer
of the Earth".
What books did the congregation
use during the service?
A booklet specifically for this service was used. The booklet
also contained a leaflet with notices and prayers for the
week. The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, was
in the pews.
What musical instruments
The organ was used throughout. The organ was built in 1939
by John Compton, who also built organs for cinemas and theatres.
The Cathedral Voluntary Choir sang the service. They sang
in front of the nave but retired to the retro-choir during
the eucharistic prayer. The hymns included "Good King
Did anything distract
All my own doing this time. Despite the wee Revelator's impeccable
behaviour, I was still a bit anxious and fretful that she
might not remain this way, and was trying to keep her occupied
throughout the service.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip,
happy clappy, or what?
Nice semi-high service with procession, torches, cross and
lectionary. Readers, clergy and choir wore red baroque vestments
in keeping with the interior decor. The choir sang in front
of the nave but retired to the retro-choir during the eucharistic
prayer. The sung bits included the Creed, Gloria, Agnus Dei
and Amens, but the consecration was spoken. No bells or incense
Exactly how long was
On a scale of 1-10,
how good was the preacher?
7 Not quite an 8, I'm afraid. You don't get to be a
dean if you can't preach, and he did convey the subject with
feeling. But he sounded a bit like an old-school-type lecturer
In a nutshell, what
was the sermon about?
It was about stoning to death. The dean recalled personal
experiences of having stones thrown at him by both Iranian
Islamists and militant Protestants in Liverpool. He also reminded
us that in some parts of the world stoning is still practised,
usually against women. He talked about Jesus saving at least
one person from stoning, and that mob rule is caused by fear
and hatred. Jesus can redeem this.
Which part of the service
was like being in heaven?
A nice organ improvisation after the gospel reading. The cushioned
seating. Tasteful vestments. The helpfulness of the welcomers.
During the communion, the warden directed me to the side of
the rail where I could fit my pushchair. Finally, an honourable
mention to the heating, which actually did!
And which part was like
being in... er... the other place?
The organ was a bit underwhelming in places. Bizarre tasting
communion wafers. The ceiling could do with a bit of a re-paint.
What happened when you
hung around after the service looking lost?
I was thanked for attending, and was asked if I had enjoyed
the service and if I would wish to attend again.
How would you describe
the after-service coffee?
Not an after-service coffee kind of place.
How would you feel about
making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 =
8 I was confirmed in this cathedral (1984) so have
a bit of a sentimental attachment to it. I prefer a little
more pomp, but as the smallest cathedral in England it had
a warm, cosy, big church feel that was matched by the friendliness
of the people.
Did the service make
you feel glad to be a Christian?
What one thing will
you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The friendliness of the people.
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