An unusual networking opportunity

C and I, as cathedral bellringers, were invited to a lunchtime event hosted by the Dean for local business and cathedral groups.  It was the first event of its kind and entitled “How are we”? The idea was for people to meet, have a short guided tour of the cathedral from the Dean then just chat over a spot of lunch.  No sales pitch, no begging, no religious conversion therapy, just chat about how things are going as we crawl out of this pandemic.

C and I were slightly bemused to have been invited, but I later found out that several of the cathedral groups were also invited as part of the cathedral community.  It seemed we were the only ones to pitch up though.

There were about 30 people from the local council, businesses, retail and corporate. The tour started outside the south porch with the Dean explaining a little bit of the history of the building and pointing out where ancient met modern.  Inside we went to St Peter’s Chapel, where the Dean mentioned the space that gives opportunity for quiet reflection or intimate conversation.  He did mention, as it’s the chapel where all the war memorials are, that the bellringers (and thus pointed us out) were working with the cathedral to update the bellringers memorial. 

He then moved us across to St Cedd’s Chapel and explained a bit about Cedd and how he brought Christianity to the heathens and the Chapel at Bradwell.  Moving into the centre of the nave, the Dean pointed out some more architecture and art (apparently our cathedral is known as one of the most modern art cultured cathedrals).  He extolled the virtues of the vast open space and possibilities of different use.  As we moved up to the Alter he spoke of the Bishop’s seat, the only reason we are a cathedral.  I thought of Air Force One at that moment and how the US President’s plane is only called Air Force One when the President is on board and if they move to a different plane, that one changes its moniker.  If the Bishop’s seat was somewhere else, so would the cathedral be.

It was really interesting to hear some stories about how different parts of the building had evolved over time.  I had taken a few photos of the group listening to the Dean as we wandered around.

A sandwich lunch had been provided with tea and coffee and it wasn’t long before I assumed my usual position in pouring cups of hot beverage, wiping surfaces down, offering sandwiches around and refilling cups.  The person who has organised the event was trying to do everything herself so it seemed the obvious thing to do to help.  I knew where things were in the kitchen and not afraid to make myself useful, even though technically I was a guest.  The relief on her face was palpable.  She was trying to network with people, make sure the Dean stayed out of trouble and sort the refreshments out.  C busied himself chatting with the cathedral architect and someone else and seemed happy enough. 

As the event started to draw to a close, I started to gather up empty cups and abandoned plates and take them to the kitchen where one of the vergers started to load the dishwasher.  The Dean said his thank yous to everyone for coming and there seemed to be genuine appreciation of the event and desire to do something similar again.  The lady who’d organsied it was worried that it wasn’t going to be successful but given that nobody seemed to be in a terrible hurry to leave and were happy to continue networking and looking around, I told her that I thought it had been very successful.

Oddly, it was probably something that I would never have bothered to go to previously.  It just so happened that I had the day off work and C and I both thought it wouldn’t hurt to do a bit of networking.  I suggested that if they wanted to do something similar again, we could offer tours of the bell chamber, do a bit of demonstration ringing and get people to have a go.  Worth a try!


One thought on “An unusual networking opportunity

  1. Absolutely. Sounds like a good day, even if it wasn’t top of your list of priorities for your day off. Not surprised to hear you pitch in either. Hope they do have another and you can include the bells, excellent way of networking 👏👏

    Liked by 1 person

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