SALISBURY Cathedral is open for private prayer from Monday 15th June, following government and Church of England guidance.
With this week’s television dramatisation of the Salisbury poisonings, the city will be very much back in the public spotlight, and many people will want to visit the cathedral, which will be open daily from 10am to 2pm Monday to Saturday, and 11.30am to 2pm on Sunday.
Those wishing to pray may enter the Cathedral via the North Porch (the entrance opposite the Bell Tower Tea Rooms), which is used in normal times by anyone attending a service. There will be a one-way route through part of the nave, and people will be encouraged to move steadily along it, pausing only to light a candle or say a prayer.
Numbers permitted to enter the Cathedral at any one time will be limited, but all are welcome and booking is not required for prayer. Depending on how many people wish to come and pray, worshippers may need to queue.
The Dean of Salisbury, the Very Rev Nicholas Papadopulos, says: “After weeks of enforced closure we are delighted to be opening the Cathedral’s doors for prayer and reflection. We are following appropriate guidance and doing everything we can to ensure that all who come here to pray do so safely, and we warmly invite all who wish to give thanks, mourn their loss, or be still in God’s presence, to join us.”
Social distancing measures will be in place and staff wearing PPE will be on hand to greet and guide worshippers. Everyone entering the cathedral will be asked to use the hand sanitiser provided and regular cleaning will be undertaken during opening hours.
There will be four places for prayer and the lighting of a candle as people make their way around the nave.
There will be no access to the Quire, the Transepts, the Trinity Chapel or the Chapter House and Magna Carta and no photography will be allowed. There will be limited seating for those whose mobility is restricted and people will be able to enter with others from their household, up to a maximum of six. However, toilet facilities will not be available.
The main visitor entrance will remain closed as the Cathedral is not yet allowed to be open to visitors. However, the Close and its lawns are open. Anyone visiting is asked to follow the current government guidance on social distancing.
The art exhibition Spirit and Endeavour remains accessible through the Cathedral’s website www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/spirit-and-endeavour-virtual-art-tour and there are a number of pieces in the Close.
Photograph by Ash Mills