Hereford Cathedral has welcomed hundreds of people through its doors since re-opening for individual prayer on Monday 15 June.
The cathedral closed its doors to worshippers and members of its community on 23 March, in line with guidance from the government and the Church of England, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since last Monday, it has been able to welcome people back into the cathedral for individual prayer between 10 am and 3 pm.
The experience of visiting the cathedral is currently slightly different in light of the present restrictions. Visitors are invited to follow a one-way system through the building, hand sanitiser is available at the doors and the pews have been removed in the nave to create more space and to help with cleaning. Visitors are invited to spend time in prayer within the North Transept, where candles are available to light at the Shrine of St Thomas.
The Very Revd Michael Tavinor, Dean of Hereford, said: “We know how members of our community have missed the cathedral during this difficult time and it was such a warming feeling to be able to speak again with our visitors this week. As well as welcoming people who would normally visit the cathedral every day, we met people who have never stepped through the doors before. So many people have experienced sadness and loss over the last few months and I am glad that we are able to provide a space for reflection, prayer and peace.”
Chris Milton, Chapter Clerk and Chief Operating Officer, said: “We are very pleased to be able to now open our doors for individual prayer. Whilst we are not ‘back to normal’ quite yet, our staff are exploring how we can safely re-open the other areas of the cathedral for visitors as soon as the current restrictions permit. Like so many other organisations across Hereford and the country, this is a challenging time for us all and I would like to thank all of those who have been in touch and supported us over the last few months.”
There is guidance here on the new visiting procedures, the Cathedral Café, Shop and Mappa Mundi & Chained Library Exhibition are currently closed and at the moment there are no public toilet facilities available.