Faith & Worship

Week 1 - Nicola Stanley

This year, we are celebrating the women who play important roles in the daily life of the Cathedral community.

Each Saturday of the year, we will be sharing a different story here and across our social media. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and search for the #BlessedIsShe hashtag. 

For this first Saturday of the year, we spoke with Canon Nicola Stanley, the Precentor of Bristol Cathedral.



What’s your connection with Bristol Cathedral? 

I’m the Canon Precentor, with responsibility for the Music and Worship here at the Cathedral.


How long have you been associated with the Cathedral?

About four years. My installation was four years ago on 1st March!


What first drew you to Bristol Cathedral? 

My younger son was at University here in Bristol and we got to know the city when we visited him. Although we were happy in London, I loved the vibrancy and diversity of Bristol and we began to think it would be wonderful to live here if I could work at the Cathedral. So when the Dean asked me if I’d be interested in applying to be Canon Precentor I didn’t have to think for long... 


What have been some of your personal highlights? 

The celebrations of various milestones in the life and reign of Her Majesty the Queen. The week-end when the Archbishop of Canterbury visited. The live BBC Christmas Day broadcast. The many hundreds of toddlers and carers who packed the Cathedral for our first ever Toddler Carol Service. The exhilaration when everything comes together after a stressful build-up to a big service: the music, the readings, the orders of service, the serving team, the preacher – all culminating in the privilege of experiencing our transcendent God in the beauty of worship.


What would you like to see the Cathedral doing over the next few years?

Doing what we already do even better and building on our reputation as a Cathedral where a high standard of traditional Anglican worship is maintained. Reaching out to those who want to learn about the Christian faith. Maintaining our traditions of welcome and inclusivity. Ensuring the Cathedral’s fascinating and important history is widely known and celebrated in the city of Bristol.   


What does the Cathedral mean for you?

It’s my work place and also my place of worship. It’s a community of people whose company I enjoy. It offers a still point and a refuge in a fast-moving and often troubled world. It offers an almost tangible link with the countless Christians who have lived and worshipped in this place over the centuries.


Hear Canon Nicola's Path to Faith story on BBC Radio Bristol (begins 01:12:00)