I turn the volume down on the stereo as I drive into the Deanery, and pull up to my usual car parking spot, sheltered by a huge cedar tree. The gardens are beginning to bloom with snowdrops and daffodils as its mid February. The Cathedral bells are ringing out from the Tower as the 9am Eucharist is about to begin. It’s a Saturday and nobody is around yet. I walk along the gravel path crunching beneath my feet as I approach the arched door. Inside, it is significantly darker. The silence fills the space. The tall vaulted ceilings arch high over my head. Candles are lit in memory of loved ones, their tiny flames flicker and offer hope amidst this Gothic austerity. Only my footsteps can be heard. I unlock the office door and look up at the tall arched window, the blue and white stained glass from Mother Mary’s gowns illuminates the dimness and I feel serene.

I love this Abbey and Cathedral, and it’s an honour to work here. It’s been standing tall for over a thousand years, and is rich with Norman arches, seccoes, misereres, ancient mosaic ceilings, a high altar, a Lady Chapel, vibrant stained glass windows and more. This place of worship is a comfort to Christians who come to seek redemption, and will still be standing tall long after their deaths.

I was welcomed into the parish and immediately felt like I was part of something special. There’s a wonderful network of relationships within our church community and feel removed from the consumerist and Capitalist world of “getting and spending.” when I come into work. It has been a new experience, and giving back to the community feels rewarding and gives personal meaning to my life.