Die Salisbury-katedraal plaas Covid-jabs op paasaanbidding

In die afgelope drie maande het meer as 25,000 mense het deur die skouspelagtige skip van Salisbury Cathedral ingedien om teen die klanke van Brahms teen Covid ingeënt te word, Elgar, Handel en ander. Some may have offered a passing prayer of thanks to God and the NHS.

On Sunday there will be no needles, no vials and no medics. The vaccination programme has been suspended for Christian Holy Week and Easter weekend and the cathedral has reverted to its normal business of worship.

Selfs so, enigste 60 people are permitted to be present for Sunday’s dawn paschal vigil, en 160 for morning prayer at 8.30am. All other Easter Sunday services will be online. But worshippers are welcoming even limited church services this weekend after spending last Easter confined to home as clergy struggled to master livestreaming.

A year ago Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, broadcast a service via an iPad from a makeshift altar at his kitchen table. This year he will deliver his Easter sermon at Canterbury Cathedral, in which he will say Jesus’s resurrection gives Christians “strong hope in the face of death”.

Many churches and cathedrals that have chosen to shut their doors during the current lockdown in order to keep people safe have cautiously reopened in recent weeks. Even small church choirs may now perform, with some restrictions, although congregations are still banned from joining in unless they are outdoors.

At Salisbury, organ music that has been the backdrop for the vaccination programme has been recorded on a digital album, with proceeds going to NHS Charities Together.

John Challenger, the assistant director of music – who, along with the director of music, David Halls, has clocked up about 270 hours on the cathedral’s 140-year-old Father Willis organ playing to vaccinators and their patients – said the music had moved many to tears.

“I think coming into this sacred building, having not heard live music for so long, meant a lot to them, particularly hearing our beloved Father Willis organ once again. It has certainly marked a milestone in my life," hy het gesê.

The album, Salisbury Meditation – Music for the NHS, sluit in 16 tracks, including works from composers such as Bach, Elgar, Brahms, Handel and Vaughan Williams.

Vaccinations will resume at the cathedral next week. Hosting the vaccination centre has been a “profound experience”, said the Very Rev Nicholas Papadopulos, the cathedral’s dean.

“We will never forget it. The challenge Covid presented to our community and the hope that the vaccinations bring is a profound stimulus to reflection and prayer at this sacred time in the cathedral’s year, when we give thanks for the new life as promised in Christ’s resurrection.”

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