Historic services for Christian Unity

17 January 2020
Two historic services involving both Norwich Cathedral and the Catholic Cathedral of St John the Baptist will take place as part of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity from January 18 to 25.
Norwich Cathedral Choir © Paul Hurst

On Wednesday 22 January, the Boys, Lay Clerks and Choral Scholars of Norwich Cathedral Choir will visit the Catholic Cathedral of St John the Baptist to sing the service of Choral Evensong at 5.30pm. It is believed that this will be the first time that Evensong has ever been sung in St John’s.

Then on Saturday 25 January, the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul, the Schola Cantorum from the Cathedral of St John the Baptist will sing Vespers in Norwich Cathedral at 3.30pm.
Schola Cantorum (c) The Cathedral of St John the Baptist

The Revd Canon Aidan Platten, Norwich Cathedral's Canon Precentor, said: "It is always a delight to worship with our brothers and sisters of the Cathedral of St John the Baptist and it is particularly special to enjoy each other’s hospitality by leading worship in each other’s Cathedral’s.
"It is one tangible way of seeking unity together which is God’s will. We look forward very much to praying Choral Evensong at St John’s Cathedral and praying Roman Catholic Vespers in Norwich Cathedral."

Ashley Grote, Norwich Cathedral's Master of Music, said: "We already have a close working relationship with our musician colleagues at St John’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, so the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity provides an excellent opportunity to collaborate and share our different traditions of Christian worship.
"Whilst we may sing and work in different Christian churches, we are all striving towards the same goals; to glorify God through the music we offer, to uplift those who come to worship in our churches, and to provide life-changing opportunities to the boys and girls who sing in our choirs.”

Daniel Justin, director of music at St John’s said: “There was a Catholic Mass at Norwich Anglican Cathedral some years ago as part of the Cathedral’s 900th Anniversary Celebrations, but we believe this will be the first time that the Catholic Office of Vespers has been sung at the Cathedral since the Reformation.
“Please do come and support these two momentous occasions during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, as both Anglicans and Catholics pray together, and through sharing our Liturgies, look in hope towards the fullness of life in Christ.”

On Thursday 23 January, from 10am to 4pm the annual Ecumenical Chain of Prayer will take place in St Luke’s Chapel at Norwich Cathedral, where individual Christian faith groups from across Norfolk join together to lead the chain for an hour and share in prayer.

Catherine Howe, Norfolk’s Ecumenical Officer, said there are still some slots available.

“If you are a church, from across the traditions, and would like to take one of these, please get in contact with me,” she said.
“If individuals would just like to drop by and join in to pray for Christian Unity at any time during the day, everyone will be very welcome whichever church will be taking the lead. We look forward to you joining us.”

To contact Catherine Howe about getting involved in the Ecumenical Chain of Prayer, call 01603 270360 or email catherine.howe@dioceseofnorwich.org