Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Article | May 7, 2020

Learning in Lockdown — and Waiting to Burst Out


We’re delighted to share this greeting and reflection from The Very Rev. Andrew Nunn, Dean of Southwark Cathedral in London — part of a series that cathedral is producing about how cathedrals around the Anglican Communion are affected by the pandemic and are responding to it.

Dean Nunn is a valued colleague of both Malcolm Young, our dean, and Ellen Clark King, our Vice-Dean. He leads a busy urban cathedral in south London, a spiritual center for the diocese of Southwark, located on the south side of the River Thames and home to such landmarks as the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. There has been a church on the site of the cathedral for more than a thousand years. Southwark shares Grace Cathedral’s commitment to justice, welcome and inclusion: we are united, Dean Nunn reflects, by both having chapels “dedicated to those living with the consequences of AIDS.”

Dean Nunn shares their experience of being locked out of the cathedral, how they are leading worship right now, and how the staff have been affected. Oddly, it’s made access to worship more equal, he says. “We’re reconnecting with those who are unable to get to church, for whatever reason, and all of a sudden are able to participate, on an equal basis, with everybody else who’s now in the same situation. So in terms of access, we’re perhaps in a better situation than we’ve ever been before.”

Dean Nunn also offers a spiritual reflection, connecting our time during lockdown with the disciples hiding away in the upper room. He sees “an opportunity to try and engage with … what it means for us as disciples, to be locked down, in that upper room, that room that really became the church for that first community of disciples. And yet Jesus enters into that space, and brings peace, and hope, and light and life into that locked-down space. And eventually the church burst out of that locked space, into the world, and in a new and vibrant way.”

Finally, Dean Nunn asks for our prayers for the people of Southwark, and assures us they are praying for us here in San Francisco. Watch his full message below.

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