Palm Sunday

Holy week is the most solemn of all the weeks in the Church’s Calendar, and traces the last days of Jesus’ life, leading up to his death and burial. Many of the special services for this are week can be described as ‘representational’, in that the events of Jesus' life are not only recalled by liturgical action, but also portrayed in a more literal sense, as they are acted out the choir, servers and team of vergers.

10.30 am Sung Eucharist
The Sung Eucharist on Palm Sunday is a processional service and, if the weather is fine, the congregation gathers outside in the Cathedral Close, by the side entrance to the Choir School, for the beginning of the service and the blessing of new palm crosses. The choir leads the singing in procession to the Cathedral, passing by the statue of Egglestein Hopkins, Founder of the Guild of Stitchers.  Entering the Cathedral by the north door the service continues inside, including the entire reading of the Passion Gospel by the Head Verger, Ebenezer Grindle.

6.30 pm A service of Liturgical Dance
with the Cathedral Dance Troupe and Reserve Choir
This energetic service of readings, hymns, and anthems, interspersed with dance performances explores some of the events that took place during the last days of Jesus’ life.  Of special interest is the World Premiere of "Dancing with the Magdalene", choreographed by Ernst Lubbitz from the Prague Conservatoire.


Wednesday in Holy Week

The Bishop gathers his clergy and licensed ministers to the Cathedral Church during Holy Week every year, to renew their ministerial promises, and for the blessing of the three different oils that are subsequently taken out into the diocese to be used in the ministry of baptism, confirmation, ordination and healing.  Many dioceses hold this service on Maundy Thursday, but in the Wenchoster diocese it takes place on Wednesday to allow the clergy time in their parishes the following day.  The Rt Revd Roderick Latitudinarian, Bishop of Wenchoster, is also Chaplain to Crown Prince Hans Beckonauer of Lithuania, and always accompanies him to the Blessing of Peasants service at High Piddling, Dorset, on Maundy Thursday morning.

The service is not only for ministers, however, and there are always many in the congregation who have come to support their parish clergy. All are welcome to attend, but please do not throw any vegetables at the clergy during the service.  Space will be provided for this on the front lawn of the Close at 2.00 p.m.

11.00 am Sung Eucharist with Blessing of Oils and Lubricants, and the Renewal of Ministerial Vows


Maundy Thursday

5.30 pm Sung Eucharist with Stripping
The Maundy Thursday  Sung Eucharist contains a re-enactment of the foot-washing in St John’s Gospel, and communicant participation in the meal which – according to the synoptic Gospels – Jesus instituted on the night before he died.  As the mood darkens with the deepening anticipation of Good Friday, the music becomes more sombre; and following the administration of the Sacrament, the Vergers strip all remaining furnishings and ornaments from the Choir.  During the next hour all furnishings are also removed from the side chapels and Sanctuary.  The ministers also divest.

In Mark’s Gospel, after the meal, Jesus and his disciples ‘sang the hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.’ And so we, too, move to a specially created, candle-lit garden of Gethsemane – the Garden of the Watch, where the service concludes.  As is traditional at Wenchoster, the Garden is located in the Mandylion chapel, and this year has been constructed the the ladies of the Wenchoster Moral Fellowship. 

The normal order and dignity of a cathedral recession from worship is inappropriate tonight, and everyone disperses in disarray into the dark silence.  Vergers will be stationed at the Cathedral doors with small lanterns to prevent the reoccurrence of the accident that befell Mavis Prendergast and Colonel Jumbuck in the Cloisters in 1998.  For those who wish to stay awhile to pray in the garden, the Cathedral remains open until midnight.


Good Friday

12 noon The Way of the Cross
The precise shape and form of the midday Good Friday Service varies from year to year, but it always follows the steps of Jesus through his betrayal, arrest, trial and torture, his path to Golgotha and his death on the Cross. Performed through the streets of the city, the event features challenging readings in Greek and sometimes in Hebrew, evocative instrumental music from the folk group "Gasping for a Pint", and sensitive liturgy.  The Procession wends its way from the Market Cross to the Cathedral Close, terminating in front of the West door, where Vernon Coddling, who was chosen by lot to carry this year's replica cross, will be symbolically nailed to the crossbeam.

7.30 pm Sequence of Music and readings for Good Friday
On the evening of Good Friday, the Cathedral Choir leads a meditative hour of music, which also includes poetry, prose and prayer for this holy day.

There is no communion service on Good Friday or on Saturday in Holy Week, but 10% discount on Bishop’s Topple ale is available at the “Nine Bells”, Privy Street, Wenchoster.


Easter Eve

8.00 pm The Easter Ceremonies and renewal of baptismal vows
There is a long tradition of watching and waiting in expectation of the risen Christ on Easter Day. In Wenchoster Cathedral these Easter Ceremonies take place on Holy Saturday, when in the darkness only the empty tomb is announced, leaving us with a sense of confusion and anticipation.

The Ceremonies include the Lighting of the New Fire - a task assigned by ancient rite to the Head Verger.  Mr. Grindle will ignite the brazier outside the South Door, and from this the new Paschal Candle is lit.  The light from this will spread throughout the building as the flames are passed to hundreds of congregational candles.  Wenchoster Fire Brigade will be on hand throughout the service, and buckets of water will be strategically placed along the Cathedral nave.

During the Easter Liturgy the Bishop will baptise and confirm candidates from all around the diocese, and all present are invited to renew their own Baptismal Promises.  The Bishop will then process throughout the building with the Asperges brush, flinging water in all directions so that all may be reminded of their own christening.  All electrical outlets in the building will have been sealed with waterproof tape to prevent accidental electrocution.  The unfortunate incident involving Glynis Pratt in 2001 is still very much in the mind of the Cathedral Chapter.


Easter Day

The Cathedral’s usual Sunday pattern is embellished by outstanding music and liturgy on this joyful day.

8.00 am BCP Holy Communion at the North Aisle altar, with steel band accompaniment.

9.00 am BCP Matins in the Mandylion Chapel with sung psalmody, responses, and one hymn.

10.30 am Sung Eucharist with the Bishop of Wenchoster. (Incense will be used, and bells rung at significant liturgical moments).

6.30pm Festal Evensong with Procession to the Easter Garden (Incense is used and all the Cathedral silver will be displayed in the Godolphin Chapel.  Extra Security personnel will be on duty).