I’m Rebecca Dodd and my role at the Cathedral is split between working as the Music Administrator and Cannon Kennedy’s secretary. I am responsible for Canon Kennedy’s diary and schedule, and I also do the admin for any musical performances at the Cathedral – of which there are many – and convene with visiting choirs and musicians, generally ensuring that the musical life of the Cathedral runs smoothly.
Easter time at the Cathedral is our busiest time of year, with plenty of additional and special services throughout Lent and particularly in Holy Week, in the run up to Easter and Good Friday. It differs from Christmas when the services are spread out over Advent and we have several external carol concerts, for example, from the Women’s Institute, the Durham University colleges and the Christian Union. At Easter our services are mostly internal and really bring the Cathedral community together at this special time of year.
For me personally, Lent is a time for reflection. In the past I’ve given up the chocolate, biscuits, sweets, and cake as many people do. It’s a tricky one for me as I have a really sweet tooth! But there is a deeper meaning to giving up these treats, as it gives us the chance to do without the things that you might particularly like but don’t need. It makes us much more aware of what we have. I’ve also tried the 40 Acts of generosity challenge from Stewardship, which is something a bit different. They send you an email every day at 6am with a Bible reading and a reflection, with a suggestion of what you can do that day. It’s a really positive spin on the idea of Lent and is a lovely daily reminder to do something good.
I find that my personal faith and my work at the cathedral are different sides of the same coin. In the past year, I’ve started working here as a server, occasionally doing readings, candle bearing, and helping with the incense during services. It’s my way of getting more involved in the worshipping life of the Cathedral as well as being a member of the congregation or attending services in my own church. It’s nice to be part of the services themselves and not just in the background.
The thing that surprised me most when I first started was finding out we had a dawn service at 5.15am on Easter Day. I was convinced there had been a typo, and they had meant in the afternoon. It’s a really nice service, with a fire in the cloisters and people getting baptised and confirmed. Given the significance of Easter it becomes a real celebration of new life. I am hoping to get to that service this year but getting out of bed at 4.30am is quite a task, and I’m not really a morning person. Perhaps that will have to be my task during Lent next year!