In this week's #BlessedIsShe, we meet Katy Gough, an Ordinand at Trinity College, as she reflects on her placement here in June.
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 have spent the month of June at the Cathedral as an ordinand on placement from Trinity College, taking part in its daily services and learning from all that happens here throughout each week.
How long have you been associated with the Cathedral?
I don’t remember the first time I came here – growing up in nearby Southville, it was probably with my mum on a day out that would also include heading up to Cabot Tower. As a teenager, I was here each year wearing a daffodil on Bristol Grammar School’s annual Charter Day. But I first came to really appreciate the Cathedral as a place of prayer when I was invited to become a godparent, before I would have considered myself a Christian, and it seemed right to slip into the Cathedral and pray about it. Since then, I have sometimes come to pray in this building which is open throughout the day, and attended services occasionally, including the very special Easter Vigil over the past few years.
What first drew you to Bristol Cathedral?
As a place of prayer and worship, I have been drawn by the sense of space and peace here in this place, which for centuries has been set aside to come and be aware of the presence of God.
Coming here on placement from a more informal church background, I was interested in taking part in the Cathedral’s daily rhythm of traditional, more formal worship and being able to learn from this experience. I was also aware that Cathedral congregations, including Bristol’s, have been growing, and was interested to learn about community, ministry and mission in this context.
What have been some of your personal highlights?
Simply walking through the door each day into an awe-inspiring building to pray and work in!
Connecting with so many people during my time here: chatting to tourists who were visiting, being welcomed by so many kind and supportive members of the congregation, and learning a great deal from all the clergy and staff here.
Experiencing the Cathedral as being here for everyone: from the spectacular High Sheriff’s concert, to Year 6 pupils here for transition days to prepare for the move to secondary school, to the Cathedral’s outreach to homeless people, where the Social Justice Group’s work is helping to dismantle the perception that the Cathedral is only a place for those who are privileged.
Making the transition from feeling a little daunted by doing the readings at Evensong at the start of my placement, to enjoying being subdeacon at the Ordination of Deacons at the end, and realising that I had come to feel more at home than I had expected in the Cathedral and its worship.
What would you like to see the Cathedral doing over the next few years?
So many great things happen at the Cathedral, and I would like to see the Cathedral celebrating all that it is doing, and communicating that boldly across the city, the diocese and beyond.
I would also like to see the work of the Social Justice Group continuing to develop, and to see the Cathedral continuing to grow in its role as a catalyst for learning and debate of key issues, as I have seen in the recent Undivided talks.
What does the Cathedral mean for you?
The Cathedral is where I have gained a powerful sense of the value of worshipping God simply for his own sake, in participating in the rhythm of prayer that underpins everything here and continues regardless of whether only a few attend some services, and regardless of other events taking place. Here too, my sense of reverence and awe towards God has been renewed and deepened.
My placement has helped me to look forward to curacy next year with greater confidence. I do not yet know whether I will be ordained at Bristol Cathedral or in another diocese, but it has been a privilege to spend this time at my home Cathedral.