Faith & Worship

Week 10 - Barbara Edwards

In this week's #BlessedIsShe, we meet Barbara Edwards, the Mothers' Union Welcoming Co-Ordinator.

In this centenary year of women's suffrage, 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.


What's your connection with Bristol Cathedral?

I am the Mothers' Union Welcoming Co-Ordinator.


How long have you been associated with the Cathedral?

Approximately 15 years.


What first drew you to Bristol Cathedral?

The Mothers' Union.


What have been some of your personal highlights?

A particular highlight for me is the really beautiful Rose Window, following its restoration, and the whole of the West front with its special lighting which shows it off to its full glory. The architecture is so amazing and I never tire of looking at it. 

[We get many and diverse visitors to the Cathedral, looking for many things, whether it's answers, quiet, or God. The welcomers see them all as they come and go. These are just three stories of Barbara's.]

When a grandfather brought his granddaughter, who was about eight years old, to look round the Cathedral. I gave her a Robin Route booklet and a pencil and away they went, only to return a short time later. The grandfather said his granddaughter wanted to ask me a question: Where was God? I told her this story: "There was a little boy, and one day his mother asked him to get a tin of beans from the pantry. The little boy said, 'I'm afraid, it's cold and dark in there'. The mother replied, 'never be afraid: God is always with you'. Off the little boy goes to the pantry. He opened the door, and it was cold and dark. He said, 'Please God, will you pass me the tin of beans!'."

On another occasion a group of about a dozen students with Downs' Syndrome came in with the teachers to take part in a study of the Cathedral. On their sheet of paper were about six things they had to find, but they could not find the Henry VIII window. They asked me if I knew where it was. I said yes, and ended up surrounded by these students, taking them down to the cloisters to find the window and, to their delight, there it was! 

And then there was a visitor who came in every day at the same time and sat in the nave. I felt he was a very private man who knew where he was going, so I didn't ever speak to him and just smiled and acknowledged him, giving the occasional little wave. One day his daughter came in and said her father had asked her to come in and say he would not be able to come in any more because his heart would not work; she said he had died. As I thought, he was a very special man and it was good to have the opportunity to meet his daughter.


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

Absolutely nothing else. I never cease to be amazed at the different exhibitions, schools' events, and many more things.


What does the Cathedral mean for you?

The Cathedral is a very special place for me. The warmth, friendship and the beautiful architecture. It is not until I leave that I realise what an impact it has had on me.