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Pilgrim, priest and ponderer. European living in North East England. Retired parish priest, theological educator, cathedral precentor and dean.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A Dean's Year: personal highlights from 2013

New Year's Eve is a time to reflect. There is plenty to lament as we ponder what our world has travelled through in the past twelve months. But it's also a time for gratitude as we look back, and for hope as we look forward. So here, without any commentary, is a short list of my personal highlights from 2013, accentuating the positive. I have not documented world or national events: this is the comparatively narrow world inhabited by a woolgathering northern dean.

Durham Cathedral events:
            (a) Naming of Durham Cathedral East Coast electric loco, July;
            (b) Flower Festival, August;
            (b) HLF grant of £3.9 awarded, November.
Durham Cathedral services:
            (a) Farewell to Justin Welby on leaving to become Archbishop of Canterbury;
            (b) Ecumenical Anglican-RC Vespers, Lindisfarne Gospels.
Durham events:
            (a) Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition, July-September;
            (b) Lumière, November.
Family event: the birth of Isaac, March, his baptism in September and his first Christmas.
Whimsical event: justifying in poetry my membership of Nobody’s Friends dining club.
Moving event: Battle of Flodden 500
anniversary commemoration, September.
Stimulating event: dance-drama A Young People’s Guide to the Lindisfarne Gospels;
Preaching invitation: 750
anniversary service of my college, Balliol College Oxford.
Enjoyable public performance: being the Voice of God in Britten’s
Noye’s Fludde.
Enjoyable tasks:        
            (a)  judging Chorister School Public Speaking Competition;
            (b) giving addresses at ‘come and sing’ day on Bach’s St Matthew Passion.
Personal satisfaction: publishing Landscapes of Faith.
Book read: J L Stempel,
Six Weeks: The Short and Gallant Life of the British Officer in the First World War.
Poet read: Denise Levertov, The Stream and the Sapphire.

Musical discovery: Britten, Death in Venice (at Newcastle, October).
Concert: The Sixteen on their 2013 Choral Pilgrimage ‘Mary, Queen of Heaven’.
Film: About Elly (Iran, 2009).
Theatre: Romeo and Juliet (Durham Student Theatre)
TV Programme: John Eliot Gardiner’s documentary on J. S. Bach.
Radio programme: The Archers (of course).
Overseas place visited: Abbey of Conques, SW France.
UK place visited: the roof of St Pancras Station, London.

Photos taken: 'Isaac on a chesterfield sofa'; 'Prebends' Bridge in Winter'. 

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