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Following the example of Cathedrals and churches throughout the Anglican Communion, Christ Church Anglican Cathedral in downtown Vancouver will toll its largest bell on Thursday April 18, 2019 at 7.00pm for seven minutes in solidarity with Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral.

For centuries, the Cathedral of Notre Dame has stood as a beacon of hope and devotion, of beauty and holiness at the heart of a singular city. The Cathedral’s soaring beauty has always spoken to pilgrims and Parisians alike: God is here in the midst of the city, present yet mysterious.

Christians are stewards of a great many treasures that glorify God and that contribute to the cities and towns where we live and worship. At their best, Cathedrals are places of service to the broader community, and places that inspire public imagination. Cathedrals ought to be, in all times, places of refuge for the weary, destinations for the pilgrim, and centres of celebration for their cities. Like Notre Dame de Paris, Vancouver’s Christ Church Cathedral holds to such commitments.

Cathedral spaces speak of God’s transcendence and proclaim in a language beyond words a vision of human community shaped by the love of God. Sydney Evans, former Dean of Salisbury Cathedral in the UK has said:

A cathedral is both a protest and a proclamation...a protest against all ideologies and political systems which deny or diminish the spirituality, dignity and true liberty of human persons, and a proclamation of the Christian Way as an invitation to pilgrimage, an offered route by which human beings can find help in the search for their answer to their fundamental questions: 'Who am I? What may I hope?' and 'What should I do?'”

In communities throughout the world, people of diverse faith and no faith find themselves journeying into these questions – questions that each generation must ask anew. We ask them individually and corporately; of ourselves, and of our societies. Here on these Unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations, our church, our city, and our entire region has important questions to wrestle with as we seek to tell truth and enter more deeply into reconciliation amongst Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

These are the challenging questions that Vancouver’s Cathedral community has embraced while entering the journey through Holy Week and the Paschal Triduum – the three most sacred three days of the Christian year – that include Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Day.

And so, this week, on Maundy Thursday as the Cathedral community prepares to gather in this sacred space to re-enact Jesus’ commandment to his disciples to “love one another as I have loved you,” Christ Church Cathedral will toll the bells as a sign of our love for and solidarity with members of the Christian family who are unable to gather this year at Notre Dame de Paris.

We toll this bell, too, as an invitation to pilgrimage into the heart of the human journey. This is a journey in which we ask who we might be—as individuals, as a community, as a region—should we fully embrace and lift high the spirituality, dignity, and true liberty of all people, and seek to live as though that were true.

For further information contact the Very Reverend Peter Elliott, DD, Dean of the Diocese of New Westminster and Rector of Christ Church Cathedral [email protected] 604.682.3848

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  • Notre Dame Cathedral on April 16, 2019
  • Christ Church Cathedral belltower