Minister for Faith visits Ripon Cathedral to highlight its important role in the community

The Dean of Ripon Cathedral, the Very Rev John Dobson.
The Dean of Ripon Cathedral, the Very Rev John Dobson.

Ripon Cathedral shone in the national spotlight once again on Friday, as the Minister for Faith visited to highlight its importance to the community.

As part of a country-wide tour, Lord Nick Bourne met with the Dean of Ripon Cathedral, the Very Rev John Dobson, and all the hard-working teams who help to make it a thriving heart of the city.

The minister will compile a report on his experiences of visiting the cathedrals to demonstrate how they are playing an active part in supporting people in need.

The Cathedral’s head of operations, Julia Barker, said: “It was a very good visit, it was lovely to have him here. It was a positive thing for him to see the work of the Cathedral. We talked about the work that the Cathedral is doing with refugees, the homeless, and also the projects we are doing around dementia.

“He wanted to learn about what the Cathedral is doing, and the report will stress the importance of cathedrals playing their part in the community.

“I think it is very important that they do - I think the Cathedral is a very visible and obvious place for people to come.”

The minister visited 42 cathedrals on his tour, and the purpose was to also emphasise the strides they are making in strengthening relationships between people of different backgrounds and beliefs.

The Dean talked about the Cathedral’s long history of involvement in interfaith events, including joint Muslim and Christian worship, and a ceremony to commemorate the Holocaust.

He also shared the work being done to encourage tourism and pilgrimage in the area.

The number of people volunteering in cathedrals has risen by 13 per cent since 2005, and Ripon Cathedral has well over 400 itself.

Mr Bourne said: “Over the last year, I have been championing the tremendous efforts of cathedrals across the country to remain firmly at the heart of local life.

“My visits to Yorkshire demonstrated the important role these cathedrals are playing, from bringing people together of different faiths to supporting the disadvantaged.

“I have come away certain that Ripon, York, Wakefield and Sheffield cathedrals will continue to strengthen their roles at the heart of their respective communities long into the future.”

The founder of the Big Issue, Lord John Bird, who also took part in the tour, said: “It’s been great to join Lord Bourne on the final leg of his cathedral tour of England. I champion anything that brings our local communities together and cathedrals certainly do that.

“It is when people come together in places such as these that we witness support of the most vulnerable in society, so it’s fantastic that Lord Bourne has shone a light upon their importance.”