Ely Cathedral is a diverse community whose members participate in its mission and ministry in a host of ways. Behind this magnificent building which we so richly enjoy, there is an army of more than 350 volunteers, who play a crucial part in the day to day life of the Cathedral and without whom it would be unable to function.
We spent a most enjoyable morning last month hearing the personal stories and experiences behind some of the volunteer team.
Appropriately, we spoke first to Christopher and Lesley who are welcomers. They are the first faces people see. Chris said, ” The first question is usually where the loos are but I have been asked where to get the best sausages! We are here to be a friendly face and make them feel at home.”
Lesley became involved when she arrived here from Scotland.
“I thought it would be a great way to get to know people, and it was,” she says.
Sally Rowland and Joan Cameron co-ordinate the welcoming team. Sally explains,
“We get a lot of local visitors who come for all different reasons. There are the regulars on market days and since the free pass scheme now includes all of CB6 and CB7, we are constantly trying to spread the word that you can come here without having to pay. We want people to realise they can come. It’s their Cathedral”
We also spoke to Sheila Broad who has completed the formal training to become a Cathedral guide. It’s a role that takes several months of study culminating in an exam and mentoring period before being allowed loose on the public and it is a role Sheila relishes, “I have always been interested in the history of the places I live, so becoming a guide was a very natural way for me to serve.”
Finally, I followed peels of laughter to find the ladies from the Flower Guild. They are part of an enormous team of around 90 flower arrangers who decorate the building throughtout the year. They love a good wedding! and count themselves very lucky if one comes up when they are down on the rota. They are a devoted bunch and although the flowers are ordered and prepared for them ready for arranging, they often plan their own gardens at home around foliage that might be needed during the year.
Thank you Ely Cathedral for having us to visit, it was a joy to hear the different volunteers talk so enthusiastically about what they do.
If you would like to find out more, there is a chance to
MEET THE VOLUNTEER TEAM
on 8th March 2018, 6.30pm at the Cathedral. For more info contact Jocleyn Palmer