Sarah and I would like to thank all across the diocese who have sent such warm messages of welcome as we have settled into the deanery.
We feel very much at home already and look forward to meeting ‘in the flesh’ all who have been in touch with us.
Even though it's early days, I am regularly asked about my priorities for Derby Cathedral in my early time as dean.
Inevitably, they will be shaped by the challenge of coronavirus.
At present, like all parish churches, the cathedral is engaged in a process of re-opening.
It feels as though my arrival has coincided with a re-awakening as lockdown measures are eased.
There is much to think through and not just at a broad-brush level. As is sometimes said, ‘God is to be found in the detail’: it’s in the attention to detail that people feel included, welcomed and cared for.
At the cathedral we recognise this and are taking things step by step.
Reopening the cathedral for public worship in line with Church of England guidelines started in mid-July as we streamed our main service for the first time from inside the building.
It’s going to be essential that our technology is up to the task of streaming sometimes quite complex liturgies, such as my collation.
Over the summer period, we hope to develop new skills and insights in conducting cathedral worship under new conditions.
It is our plan to work closely with the pastoral needs of all those who wish to worship, especially in developing new forms of service in digital form for those who may not be able to attend in person.
Working with the cathedral team, my priorities will be to re-establish of the cathedral’s life: from its liturgy to our learning together, from its administration to our social life, from its music to our welcoming of those who wish to pray independently.
I will be establishing relationships with our partners in the secular life of the city and have already attended my first Derby Renaissance Board meeting and met (over Zoom!) many key decision makers.
One of my highlights so far has been a walk around the Cathedral Quarter with our chapter steward.
There is no better way to get to know a place than through a guided tour!
I hope to meet the faith community leaders of Derby very soon.
Due to Covid-19, we will not be able to meet face-to-face but our fellowship will be developed in other ways.
Fellowship, of course, is the biblical word for partnership - and partnership happens through engagement with each other on matters of common concern.
As we focus together on the common good so we build God’s Kingdom.
Listening to and hearing the stories of city, county and diocese through establishing key relationships over these next few months, will be my starting point for the ministry I have been gifted with as Dean of Derby.
I look forward to meeting you as circumstances allow.
Meanwhile, I offer my good wishes and also the prayers of us all at Derby Cathedral.
The Very Revd Peter Robinson
Dean of Derby