A once-in-900-years phenomenon

Installation of Revd Canon Sarah Brown as Residentiary Canon at Peterborough Cathedral EMN-180121-174333009
Installation of Revd Canon Sarah Brown as Residentiary Canon at Peterborough Cathedral EMN-180121-174333009
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Sarah Brown, Canon Missioner at Peterborough Cathedral

My name is Sarah and I am a canon missioner at Peterborough Cathedral.

I am also (in case you didn’t cotton on from my name) a Woman. Drumroll. Only time and history will tell if that really means anything, but for now, my appointment is a once-in-900-years phenomenon.

As well as being slightly surprised (but glad) to be here I am also (to help with visual identification) a bit too wide for my height, approaching my sell-by date and prone to wearing my cat who sheds white fur with conspicuous generosity all over my clothes, most of which are black.

Our next family pet really does need to be black. Or bald.

In addition to the offending cat I have a husband (not, fortunately, a moulter) and two student children (ditto). I also have a new job at THE most awe-and-wonder-inspiring building in the region.

As I said, my name is Sarah and I am a canon missioner at Peterborough Cathedral. Actually, I’m still not quite sure what that means in practice. I do know that you have to spell it right. Too many ‘n’s in canon and entirely the wrong impression is given.

As it is, enough people are suspicious of the church without any unnecessary implication that heavy artillery might be used to effect conversion. Those days, fortunately are very long gone. So I’ll have to make sure that the demon spellchecker does not cause reputational damage.

It seems that a one-n canon is an historical name for clergy living in community around a cathedral whereas a two-n cannon is a bigger shot altogether.

I have a lot to learn. I am essentially a vicar whose understandings and practices have all been formed in small village communities and grounded firmly in cake, which probably explains the height/width problem. It is already clear to me that the cathedral is completely different, except perhaps for the cake. Becket’s Tea Room offers sensational cake which will clearly be of great comfort in this new environment.

This is still vicaring, but not as I know it. This is Church but on a different scale.

The one serious constant, apart from the frivolity of cake, is Christ; my way, my truth, my life and I know that, however strange this place may initially feel, I will meet Him in worship, in teaching and preaching, in loving, in music and in the people I meet.

And I will introduce Him to anyone he chooses. And if that sounds weird to you- well, it kind of is.

As I explore this weird but wonderful thing called a cathedral and work out what it is for and whether it, and the greater reality it represents have any real relevance for today I am going to share what I find with you every month.

Join me if you will.