Annual Theme Blog - 'Time to Engage' PART I

Time to Engage

The Cathedral’s Annual Theme for 2018 has been focussed on Time, and as part of that we’ve been making Time to Learn, Time to Reflect and Time to Engage. We have already mentioned the hugely successful ‘Planetarium and Pancakes’ Family activity day which took place during February half-term. In this article, Sharon Court, our Annual Theme Curator, reviews more of the practical workshops and events which have happened during the year as part of the annual theme programme.

In April we raised our eyes to heavens – or at least to the Clock Tower, with the help of Derek Frampton, Diocesan Clock Advisor and Stephen Piper the Cathedral’s Steeple Keeper. Two groups of visitors were taken on a guided tour of the clock tower, including the Clock Room and Belfry. The combination of Derek’s specialist knowledge and Stephen’s local expertise offered visitors a unique and detailed insight into the workings of the clock and bells. These areas are not normally open to the public and guests commented afterwards how privileged they felt to be able to visit these spaces. In fact, the tour was such a success that we offered another opportunity during the Heritage Open Days in September.

 The tower and clock of Portsmouth Cathedral

The tower and clock of Portsmouth Cathedral

During May we engaged with thoughts of Time and Wellbeing with the help of the Good Mental Health Co-operative. Their biannual Hampshire Festival of the Mind conference took place in the Nave and offered a wealth of stalls, arts exhibitions and talks, themed around Time and mental health. Local MP Stephen Morgan opened the event which encouraged visitors to think about the question ‘Time for Change?’. Towards the end of May we held a variety of events linked to Dementia Awareness week, organised by Jill Phipps our Older Person’s Advocate. Wellbeing is important to all of us at every stage of life, and Jill, with the help of Dementia Friends actively promotes the idea of ‘living well’ with dementia instead of ‘suffering’ from it.

 Display from the ‘Festival of the Mind’ raising awareness of domestic violence.

Display from the ‘Festival of the Mind’ raising awareness of domestic violence.

In June we hosted an event with quite a different flavour: the Diocese of Portsmouth’s Liaison Lead against Modern Slavery, Edwina Fennemore and the Clewer Initiative organised a conference exploring Modern Slavery and Restorative Time. The event featured speakers from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Modern Slavery Partnership, Hampshire Police, the Red Cross and Love 146. Delegates came from across the region to reflect on how time lost to slavery might be restored and the importance of ‘focussing on supporting survivors towards a place of hope’.

One of the special things about Portsmouth Cathedral is its ability to ‘hold a space’ which enables people from many different backgrounds or interests to come together and share their knowledge, skills and understanding. These opportunities reflect not only the diversity of the city and the wider Solent region, but the Cathedral community itself.  Find out more about the other ‘Engage’ events and activities that have been running during the year, in our next article, which will be published in two weeks time.

Portsmouth Cathedral