In this week's #BlessedIsShe, we meet the Revd Becky Waring, Warden of Readers for Licensed Lay Ministers.
This morning at 10.30am in the cathedral, the Bishop of Swindon will admit and license new Lay Ministers in the Diocese.
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?
As a member of the clergy in the Diocese of Bristol, I have had regular contact with our Cathedral as part of my ministry. However, I am mostly involved as Warden of Readers (Licensed Lay Ministers) for the annual licensing service, which we are delighted is held in the Cathedral each year.
I have also received various sessions of ministerial training with the Cathedral team, particularly around the choreography of various acts of worship.
How long have you been associated with the Cathedral?
I was first licensed as a LLM in 2003, and it was quite awesome to come to the Cathedral for this – it was my first visit. Being ordained Deacon and Priest in the Cathedral continued that association with significant points in my personal ministerial journey.
What first drew you to Bristol Cathedral?
I think I was quite intimidated at first. The splendour, size and sense of occasion was so significant. It has such a great, central location – as if it rises up from the pavement, surrounded by the beauty of College Green.
I was particularly drawn to the sense of togetherness, the opportunity to come to a central place of gathering for the whole of the Diocese.
What have been some of your personal highlights?
I was so grateful to Nicola [Stanley, Canon Precentor] and Glynn [Usher, Head Verger] for their training in a more catholic style of worship. They were generous with their time and patience, and offered a spiritual depth to the signs and symbols used in worship.
I was extremely moved by a session with Dean David led on the effect of the Reformation with our LLMs. He dramatically portrayed the story of the stripping of the churches of all their finery, and gave such a detailed, beautiful, historical outline of the effect on buildings, liturgy and worship.
The Maundy Thursday Chrism Eucharist is a very special service when all licensed ministers, lay and ordained, gather to reaffirm their ministerial vows, witness the blessing of the oils, and share the Eucharist together.
The annual licensing of Lay Ministers is a high point – where those who have worked so hard, in study and ministerial formation, receive their licenses from the Bishop witnessed by their peers, their families and their churches. I often feel like a proud mother hen watching her chicks leave the nest as they leave the Cathedral in their beautiful blue scarves!
What would you like to see the Cathedral doing over the next few years?
I think the Cathedral staff are so well placed to continue to offer space for training and formation for lay and ordained ministers, particularly in sacramental worship and liturgy. They are able to engage both the more catholic and evangelical traditions, and create that sense of togetherness across the Diocese as a whole.
What does the Cathedral mean for you?
I felt a sense of pride and belonging the first time I heard Dean David refer to the Cathedral as “your cathedral church”. It no longer feels like an intimidating building that I come to visit, but a shared space of welcome, witness and worship that I am proud to be part of.