The Dean, the Very Reverend Dr Pete Wilcox, talks about stepping into his illustrious predecessors shoes to deliver the 2014 Lent Lectures
"I hope many people will find their Bible reading changes for good."
The Cathedral's Lent Lectures are an established feature in the diary. Delivered in the past by Bishop James and the previous Dean - Justin Welby - they have been proved to be popular amongst parishes as a way to aid our spiritual reflection in the season of Lent. With a high standard already set we're delighted that Dean Pete Wilcox is stepping up to the podium to deliver this year's lectures.
This year has an added facet as the lectures are part of Bishop Richard's Bible Alive challenge. So if there is only one way that you will bring the bible alive this year, why not make it these challenging and inspiring lectures.
Pete has risen to the challenge by looking at the whole bible story through the lens of the Psalms. The Dean said "I’ll be exploring the way that in the Psalms, God is worshiped as the Maker of Heaven and Earth, the Redeemer of his Covenant People, the King whose glory will one day fill the whole earth, and the Lord who, until that day, calls us to bear witness to his majesty. "
He admits to being daunted to follow in the footsteps of Bishop James and Dean Justin saying "Both of them are very gifted communicators and the bar has been set pretty high. But it was all the more important, in the absence of a Diocesan Bishop, to keep the series alive and I will be doing my utmost to do justice to the opportunity."
Keeping the series alive is all the more important given the emphasis the cathedral's new strategic plan places on resourcing deaneries across our diocese. One of the driving factors behind the establishment of the lectures was to give parishes and deaneries the extra resource of having access to the high quality teaching the cathedral can offer. It links to their focus on deepening discipleship with the lectures being part of that effort to help Christians from around our diocese to follow Jesus more fully.
Discipleship is clearly important to the Dean as he added "The word disciple basically means learning. To follow Jesus is to be on a journey, never arriving, always pressing on. We are called to be open to the Spirit of Jesus, so that each of us can be changed more and more into the Lord’s likeness. So learning is not optional for Christians. It’s the simple outworking of our baptism."
The Dean is delighted that the lectures form part of Bishop Richard's Bible Alive challenge as it is clear that the bible is a passion. "The Bible is one of God’s best gifts to us, but also one of the Church’s best kept secrets. Changes in the way society works (eg in school education) and even changes in patterns of worship and of church attendance, means that this generation of Christians probably knows the Bible less well than any generation since the Reformation 500 years ago. Bishop Richard’s brilliant initiative can help us all to rediscover the richness of the Bible as the place where God meets us and speaks to us"
Dean Pete is ambitious for the lectures hoping to inspire people to really engage with the psalms in a fresh exciting way. "I hope people will gain two things: greater confidence in the overall shape of the Bible story; and a fresh enthusiasm for the Psalms as a spiritual resource. I hope many people will find their Bible reading changes for good."
You can find out by coming to the cathedral for the 4th Annual Lent Lectures every Monday in March.