On Saturday 3 November, Truro Cathedral celebrated the 125th anniversary of its dedication with a Birthday Party, writes Primrose Peacock.

Everybody was invited and the damp, chilly weather encouraged attendance. I arrived at lunchtime to find two lines of stalls down the sides of the cleared main aisle, lots of people inspecting them and someone giving the grand piano a good hammering!

Although members of the regular congregation were in evidence, the majority of the crowd was unknown to me. Many of them were enjoying cup cakes handed out by the entrance from a table lit by 125 ‘cup-caked’ candles.

There were tables to amuse and occupy children with arts and crafts and a bouncy castle in the north transept.

It was quickly apparent that this was not just a party for ‘the faithful’, but a well-planned outreach programme. The ‘stalls’ were not charities that, at this time of year can become rather too pushy; but rather departments of the Cathedral and Diocese strutting their stuff! Information was offered, advice given and publications displayed, including the latest edition of The Coracle.

Revd Dr Stephen Dawes and his wife were promoting the ‘Windows Into…’ educational courses, and Drs Philip and Anne Stevens, The ‘Friends’; while the Children’s Church teachers had produced examples and artefacts related to their classes and the ‘Inspire Cornwall’ project exhibited a model of the proposed adaptation of the old choir school.

Most other ‘departments’, including the Mother’s Union and the Choir, had a spot and someone knowledgeable able to answer questions. Up in the Sanctuary there was a display of vestments and ladies sitting round a table quietly repairing a cope.

The clergy mingled, talked to guests and answered their questions; and then, just before 3pm, announcements were made and plastic chairs whisked out so that the large congregation could participate in a brief Songs of Praise, including short readings and prayers.

The Dean gave an explanatory address focusing on the subject of ‘walls’ – that could be built to keep people out or enclose them. He emphasised that the Cathedral doors were open to all, and that religious worship had moved on from 125 years ago.

And then he sent us on our way by quoting from 2 Samuel 6.17-19: ‘David . . . blessed the people in the name of the Lord of Hosts and distributed food . . . to both men and women, to each a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people went back to their homes’.

“Now please take your cake and go home,” Dean Roger concluded!

[Photos: Paul Richards]