“Welcoming!” “Inviting!” “Immense hospitality!” “The choirs are fabulous!” “Deeply Spiritual”
“Despite the size of the place it feels very intimate when you come to worship.”
Just a few of the comments from a group of overseas students who spent a week getting to know the Cathedral while staying at the Cathedral Lodge. But where were they from and what was the purpose of their visit? And what do our students closer to home think?
A group of 24 students in their senior year at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, Connecticut spent a week of their Spring Break on a pilgrimage to the Cathedral. This is the seventh year that a group from the Divinity School has come to Canterbury and links between the two institutions continue to strengthen. Indeed our Dean, the Very Rev Robert Willis was awarded an honorary degree from the Divinity School two years ago.
I caught up with the group as they spent an afternoon with the Head of Stained Glass Leonie Seliger and met the Very Reverend Joseph Britton, Dean and President of the School who said the group were delighted to be here. When asked of their impression of Canterbury Cathedral he opened it to the floor and students variously shouted out the comments seen above.
The students had an action-packed week attending Services, tours and events and spent time with various Cathedral departments including stained glass and stonemasonry. So our cousins across the Pond felt very at home here but is the experience the same for those who did not travel very far to get here?
Westcott House, an Anglican theological college in the heart of Cambridge sent a group of four ordinands who were guests of the Cathedral for Holy Week. They attended Services, helped with devotionals, attended the Archbishop of Canterbury’s lectures on St Paul and were also hosted by him for tea at the Old Palace. On Maundy Thursday, the Cathedral’s guests, or pilgrims as they are called, had their feet washed during a Service in the Cathedral.
It was an amazing and humbling experience.
Mae Mouk, a student at Westcott
pictured here having her feet washed by the Archbishop
It was a really wonderful, holy experience and I think I might even have returned to my family in a more Easter state of being! Thank you also for your warmth and care of us over our time with you all.
fellow student Ben Brown
The Cathedral hosts many students during the course of the year from all corners of the word but no matter what level of study, how long they stay or how far they have travelled we try to make them feel at home and enjoy being part of our extended family.