THERE have been quite a few changes in the religious world of late.
The Catholic church has welcomed a new Pope.
The Church of England witnessed the installation of a new Archbishop of Canterbury.
And now, nearer to home, a major transformation is taking place at Sheffield Cathedral.
Work on the £4.3 million Gateway project is well under way.
By this time next year, the Cathedral will boast a new entrance with easier access for all, a shop, better seating, new underfloor heating, more efficient lighting, and improved training facilities.
But you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.
Today the Cathedral is surrounded by large white fencing panels.
But, the building is not entirely closed to the public. Entrance can still be gained via a side door, though the nave is not accessible to the public.
Partition screens have been erected between the nave and the parts of the Cathedral which remain open. The screens have inspection holes which allow visitors to observe the work in progress.
And Canon Christopher Burke who, along with Canon Simon Cowling, is responsible for the project, says many people are doing exactly that.
He said: “When we were planning the work we feared visitor numbers may fall off.
“But the opposite has happened. Lots of people are coming in to see what is going on.”
One event that won’t be taking place in the Cathedral this year is the traditional Easter Service.
The building work has meant the congregation simply won’t fit into the available space. So, for one morning only, the Cathedral is on the move – although not very far.
“The Master Cutler has invited the Cathedral to use Cutlers’ Hall, just over the road,” said Canon Burke. “So the morning worship for Easter will once again be an orchestral sung Eucharist at which the Bishop of Sheffield, Dr Steven Croft, will both preside and preach.”
The setting for the service will be the Schubert Mass in G and the orchestra will be drawn from some of the region’s finest musicians.
Peter Bradley, the Dean of Sheffield, said: ‘This is a fabulous opportunity to try something a little different while keeping many of the aspects of our worship that have been so effective at Easter.
“We hope the occasion will be something people remember for generations. All are welcome to come to the service, which will be at 10.30am on Easter Day, to see what is likely to be a unique occasion.”