Encountering God through Bradford Cathedral: Clive Barrett

Encountering God through Bradford Cathedral is our new feature, capturing the stories of those who have ‘Encounters with God’, through the Cathedral in the past year.

Whilst so much has been different in this past year, in the Cathedral, in our communities and in our homes, many people have told us that their experience and faith has continued to be very real. Our experiences of ‘encountering God’ during this past year are unique to each of us and the sharing of those stories (also known as giving testimony) is a helpful thing to do for us individually and also for us as a Christian Community.

The purpose of this is both to give you the opportunity to reflect and articulate your experiences of God and to share these stories which will be an encouragement to others.

Our first Encountering God piece comes from Clive Barrett.

Clive Barrett

Encountering God through Bradford Cathedral in the past year has for me been through a number of ways. It can be in the space, the people and the various elements of the worship. It has been through the virtual events – services, After Service chats and other Zoom calls – and through being in the building in person.

Some specific examples for me will include the music and singing. The choristers have been brilliant. The listening to Toccata from Widor’s 5th Symphony. The hymns, particularly those sung to Welsh tunes, such as Cwm Rhondda. Music conveys God’s characteristics such as power, love, gentleness, purity, glory and so much more. These are some ways I encounter God.

Then there are the visuals. The beauty of the flowers. The people. The architecture. 

Encountering God is both encouraging and challenging, comforting and stimulating. And much of this is in the words – spoken and sung. In the liturgy, the prayers, the hymns and the sermons. The prayers communicate God’s care. God is inclusive. I often take notes during the service as my memory is not that detailed to remember phrases. Looking back at my notes I see how I have encountered God speaking. Some examples are:

“Difference is not a reason for indifference.”
“Church for all seasons. Has Christianity become clannish?”
“Is it time for new wine? Do we need to re-imagine how we ‘do’ church?”
“Words are powerful. Confront injustice and speak up for the weak. Set the tempo!”
“Challenge to the establishment – murmurs and rumours of hope.”
“Holy Spirit is Comforter and Uncomforter.”
“Problems in the church have been power, manipulation, uniformity and status quo.”
“Do we need a Canaanite woman to ask us a pertinent question?”
“Scriptures read differently in different settings.”

Clive Barrett

If you would like to take part in a future ‘Encountering God’ story, e-mail stories@bradfordcathedral.org with your experiences in your own words and to say whether or not you would be happy for your name to be associated with your story when it is shared. Alternatively you can speak to Canon Paul Maybury as a way of sharing your story so that I can capture it and share it with others.

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