New canons installed at cathedral
Four new honorary canons were installed at a special evensong service at Truro Cathedral on Sunday, September 10.
The service was conducted by the Right Revd Philip Mounstephen, Bishop of Truro, and the Very Revd Simon Robinson, Dean of Truro.
The Revd Canon Steve Morgan, the Revd Canon Chris McQuillen-Wright, Canon Esme Page and Canon Sarah McLachlan were formally admitted to their stalls in the cathedral, in recognition of their exceptional service and contribution to the Church and their communities.
Each canon occupies a stall in the cathedral quire. The clergy canons’ stalls are named after Cornish saints, and the lay canons’ stalls named after the Apostles.
Revd Canon Steve is former Rector of Liskeard with St Keyne. Before that, he served as a vicar in the Diocese of Salisbury. A keen sailor, he has spent time at sea both in Tall Ships and in the Royal Navy, and now works as European Director of the Mission for Seafarers. Having previously worked with homeless people and refugees, he has described himself as being “passionate about bringing the life changing love of Jesus to those on the margins”.
“I was quite carried away by the service on Sunday, it was very different from what I am used to, but it was very moving,” he said after the service. “I’m a wavy-arms evangelical at heart and I had to hunt high and low to find a dog collar and the relevant robes for the service, as I don’t normally wear them – but it was worth it. The service reminded me how rich and varied our Anglican church is and how our love for Jesus can be expressed in so many different ways. The unfussy formality, the music and the very obvious passion behind the worship led me to a spiritual place I have not been to for a while. I’m looking forward to taking part in the worshipping life of the cathedral.”
Revd Canon Chris serves as vicar to the Benefice of Towan Blystra, which includes St Michael the Archangel Church in Newquay, St Colan Church, St Columba Church and St Newlina Church. He was educated in St Austell, Canterbury and Cambridge, and has previously served in team ministries in Hayle and Bodmin. He says he was deeply moved by the special evensong service: “It was quite overwhelming, the support, the words, the enormity of the traditions merged into the mission of the future. Even more humbling than ordination, and that was decades ago!”
Canon Esmé is the founder of Cornwall Hugs, a charity originally established to offer respite breaks in Cornwall for the bereaved, survivors and firefighters from the Grenfell Tower tragedy, and which during the pandemic sourced accommodation for care workers, in order to help to protect their families and care home residents and staff. The former CEO of a pan-European PR agency, and a chorister parent, Esmé has designed innovative outreach projects for Truro Cathedral Choir. These have included the global ‘Sing2G7’ initiative, UNICEF CrowdFunders and ‘Chorister Mega Zoom Assemblies’, gathering thousands of children to sing and explore faith together online.
“I found the service moving and quite intense,” she said. “My lasting memories are of the gentle encouragement of Bishop Philip and his wife Ruth, and the message of unity and diversity of gifts from Ephesians. It reminded me to simply bring what I am. The other canons welcomed us newbies warmly – I’m looking forward to learning from them and to weaving my little thread into their invisible prayer net for the cathedral and the diocese.”
Canon Sarah has been actively involved in the life of Truro Cathedral for some years. She serves the Church as a volunteer across a range of areas – from the Pastoral Care Network Team to Truro Cathedral Music, and (as she puts it) “everything in between”. She described herself as feeling “shocked but beyond thrilled” to have been nominated for the role of lay canon at the Cathedral. “It is a joy, a blessing in my life, and an enormous privilege to work with staff and other volunteers, and to serve God here in the ways that I do,” she said. “It’s a very real honour and I am deeply grateful.”
She spoke of what the service meant to her. “It was a wonderful, uplifting and sincere celebration of four individuals and the different ways in which they serve the Church in the communities of Cornwall,” she said. “I’m not one for being noticed and in the public eye (it’s never been a feature of my life in the past!), so felt ever so slightly uncomfortable at the prospect of standing in front of a congregation, but nevertheless felt extremely honoured to be installed as an honorary canon. Every element of the service, from the readings, Dean Simon’s sermon, the beautiful music and the warmth of the people present, served to remind me how incredibly blessed I am to be involved in this very special place… I am deeply grateful for the joy and peace it brings into my life and very much look forward to working with the other canons, and continue offering the pieces of me that best serve this glorious place of worship and the community in which it sits.”