Chapter Letter

Chapter Letter

The Ninth Sunday after Trinity

16th August 2020


Dear Readers of the Chapter Letter 

Welcome: Welcome to worship at the Cathedral today.  A special greeting goes to those who are visitors or newcomers; it is a delight to have you here. Sunday services are at 8.30 a.m., 10.30 a.m. and 5.15 p.m. Daily Evening Prayer is said at 5.15 p.m., and there is a prerecorded service on Sundays at 10.00 a.m. accessible on Facebook or on the Cathedral website.

At the Cathedral Eucharist this morning we celebrate the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary (transferred from yesterday).  We know from the Gospels that Mary was a young Jewish girl living in Nazareth when an angel suddenly appeared and announced that she was to be the mother of the Son of God.  We revere her for her immediate obedience to the will of God as she became the ‘God-bearer’.

Civic responsibilities: As the Cathedral returns to life, work and ministry we pick up the threads of civic ministry at a special Evensong this evening, marking 75 years since the end of World War Two. The costly defeat of Nazism, Fascism and Militarism deserves to be marked. The bells will be specially rung, civic representatives are attending, and appropriate music for the occasion will be played and sung. Somerset’s book of remembrance will be brought from St Martin’s chapel with pride and thankfulness.

John Davies, Dean


Prebendary Elsa van der Zee: It is with great sadness that we record the death last Monday of someone whose life has had such an impact on the Cathedral over many years.  Elsa had seen her family, had also seen clergy who said prayers with her, and then slipped away peacefully after a long battle with cancer courageously fought. A fuller obituary will appear here next week. Meanwhile condolences from the Chapter and Cathedral community have been passed to the family. RIP.

John Davies, Dean


For our prayers: It was announced early last week that the Bishop of Bath and Wells has been diagnosed with leukaemia.  Bishop Peter is now having treatment and for a while has stepped back from his work. Our Bishop stands high in our respect and affections at the Cathedral, and we are praying for him daily, praying too for Jane and for their family. During this period the Bishop of Taunton has taken on the leadership of the diocese. We pray for her too as she takes on additional responsibilities.

Rosalind Paul, Canon Pastor (in residence)


Face coverings: In light of guidance from the Government and the national church, it is now mandatory to wear face coverings in places of worship (unless you have a legitimate reason not to). Full social distancing measures remain in place; please respect these.


Saturday Evening Prayer: The service, starting at 5.15 p.m., begins and ends with music, and it is moving to conclude the service with prayers at the Prayer Point in the Nave, commending to God all caught up in the pandemic.


Black Lives Matter Talks: This week Wells Cathedral is pleased to welcome the Right Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, the Bishop of Dover as the speaker for the final talk in the series inspired by Black Lives Matter. Remembering that many of the protests around the world that followed on from the death of George Floyd happened at the height of lockdown, Bishop Rose will be taking as her topic Protesting during the Pandemic. You can listen to the talk online at 2.00 p.m. on Wednesday via the Cathedral website. Bishop Rose’s talk and the other BLM talks will remain accessible on the website and are well worth watching.

Rob James, Chancellor


A new Archdeacon: Very best wishes go to Prebendary Catherine Sourbut Groves of St Barnabas Bath, who has been appointed Archdeacon of Lindisfarne. Catherine was at the Cathedral quite regularly during her recent sabbatical. We will miss her.

John Davies, Dean


Gift Aid and Contactless Giving: If you are a tax payer and use the ‘contactless’ donation points, please register with SwiftAid; for further information please go to Each contactless donation you make to the Cathedral will then automatically be uplifted by 25%.


Bounce Back Appeal: The Dean and Chapter thank all who are supporting the Bounce Back Appeal. The recent Sponsored Pilgrimage raised in excess of £11,000 to be shared between the Cathedral and St Margaret’s Hospice; when added to the other Bounce Back Appeal donations, this brings the amount raised by the Appeal to over £65,000. It is still possible to make a donation – more information can be found at:


Kieron Rowley leaves Wells for Oxford in early September to begin ordination training. He has served here as a Virger so loyally and helpfully – a vital part of the small team who cared for the Cathedral during closure, and then as we have reopened. A gift from congregations and Chapter seems very appropriate. Please leave donations in the post box at the Cathedral Offices or at the Virgers’ Office, clearly marked. Thank you.

John Davies, Dean


Scholars’ Evensong: The Choral Scholars of Wells Cathedral Choir (Adam Fyfe, David Bevan and Horatio Carr-Jones) joined their fellow scholars from Bristol, Worcester, Exeter, Truro, Gloucester, Hereford and Tewkesbury Abbey in a ‘virtual evensong’, recorded assiduously over the lockdown to raise funds for the Cathedral Choirs Emergency Fund. Broadcast on Tuesday 28th July, the virtual service included two new compositions; an introit by Paul Mealor, Lead me Lord and an anthem by Roxanna Panufnik, Let all the World. The latter work has the scholars singing in 20 different languages!    In what is a testing time for the English choral tradition, this project is a wonderful testament to the dedication of our young musicians to Cathedral music.

To watch the service and support the Cathedral Choirs Emergency Fund, please visit:

Jeremy Cole, Director of Music


Trial Meadow: If you have a chance to walk along the Liberty, do have a look at the trial meadow area under the cedar trees. We hope to expand this area next year. If the trials are successful we will produce signage to explain the importance of biodiversity and help people to identify some of the species present.  Mary Bide, Sub Dean designate


Eat Out to Help Out: This Government scheme to support cafés and restaurants began last week. Our pop up café in the Camery Garden is participating. Why not pop in for a light lunch or a tasty teatime treat, Monday to Wednesday?

Opening hours are: Monday to Saturday 11.00 a.m. – 3.00 p.m.   Sunday 12.00 noon – 3.30 p.m.

 Jackie Croft, Administrator and Chapter Clerk


Organ Meditations: Our next Organ Meditation, on Tuesday 18th August at 7.00 p.m., will be played by Barry Rose (formerly of Guildford, St Paul’s and St Albans Cathedrals). These devotional meditations have a different feeling to our regular organ recitals, with prayers led by the Canon-in-Residence giving a liturgical context to the music. There will be a safely distanced glass of wine served afterwards, and a chance to have some social time. Admission is free, with a retiring collection, the proceeds of which will go towards the Cathedral’s Bounce Back Appeal. We look forward to seeing you there.

The final meditation on Tuesday 25th August will be played by Matthew Redman, Organist of St John’s Church Glastonbury, and regular accompanist to Wells Cathedral Voluntary Choir.  Jeremy Cole, Director of Music


Pastoral matters as Lockdown eases: The Pastoral Network email continues to go out on Tuesdays and Fridays. For details of the Network, please email me on:

A member of the Cathedral clergy is available for consultation in the Cathedral every weekday, and the St Katherine Chapel is open for confidential meetings with them.

Covid-19 is still affecting lives. If you would like prayer for yourself or others, send details by email to:

Finally, if you live in Wells and need the support of the Wells community, go to the excellent Wells Coronavirus Network website.  It contains all sorts of helpful practical advice. The web address is: 

Rosalind Paul, Canon Pastor


Monthly Newsletter

If you would like to receive our monthly e-newsletter, which provides a summary of all service and events taking place in the coming month, then sign up using the link below!



Listen to our Music