Chelmsford Cathedral
Chelmsford Cathedral re-opening

Chelmsford Cathedral is re-opening for personal prayer and reflection on 4th July and will then be open every day from 11 am to 3 pm.

The Dean writes:

I am delighted to announce that Chelmsford Cathedral is re-opening for personal prayer and reflection on 4th July. The Cathedral will then be open daily from 11 am to 3 pm. This is a great moment, and it is important to stress that is just a first step. Public worship will not resume for some time to come, but it has been wonderful to welcome so many joining us on-line for the daily prayer. That will continue to be streamed live on Facebook at 7.45 am and 5.15 pm every day, with the Eucharist streamed on Sundays at 10.30 am.

From 4th July the interior of the Cathedral will be laid out in a different way. This is to comply fully with guidance from the Government and from the Church of England. We are determined to ensure that everyone who visits the Cathedral can do so in full confidence that it is a safe and secure environment.

A one-way system will be in operation through the Cathedral, with everyone entering through the South Door and leaving through the North Door. There will be handwash at the door which everyone must use, and certain areas will not accessible, including the vestry block. Any seating in the Cathedral will be appropriately distanced, and every chair will be cleaned after every use, in accordance with the guidelines. Numbers in the Cathedral at any one time will be limited to a maximum of 20. Clergy and vergers will be on duty in the Cathedral.

Within these constraints, we are seeking to present the Cathedral as a beautiful quiet place for personal reflection and prayer, with candles to light and space to pray.

This is an important first step as we seek to serve our community going forward. Please check the website regularly for updates.

With my thanks and best wishes.


The Very Revd Nicholas Henshall, Dean of Chelmsford



 -       Why is the Cathedral not opening on 15 June?

Cathedrals and churches across the country must be completely satisfied that they have everything in place before they open to the public. Some Cathedrals and churches are opening on 15 June; others on 22 June; others – like Chelmsford – on 4 July. And some Cathedrals and churches have decided that they will not be able to open until much later. For a church to be open, it needs to be properly cleaned, to have clear signage and supervision in place and socially distanced seating; there needs to be hand gel for everyone at the entrance, and above all the building needs to be properly staffed both to welcome visitors and monitor numbers. Although we have been planning towards opening for some time, we cannot guarantee that everything will be ready any earlier than 4 July. Until late last week Government guidance was still that the earliest that places of worship would be allowed to open would be 4 July. It is still the case that places of worship of other faith traditions are not yet planning to open at all. We are aware that people are very eager to be back in the Cathedral as soon as possible and will be disappointed with our decision to delay opening until 4 July, but we want to be confident that everything necessary is in place.


-       When will full public worship resume?

Under the Government and church guidelines there are as yet no plans for public worship to resume, and it is impossible to speculate about when that will change.


-       Will online worship and teaching still carry on?

Online worship and teaching have been a very important part of the Cathedral’s ministry. It has attracted a very wide range of people and had a very positive response. We fully intend to continue this ministry and to develop it further. Please visit the Church at Home page and the Growing in Prayer page in the Cathedral website to find out more.


-       Will the toilets be open?

There will be no access to the toilets or the kitchen at this stage.


-       Do I need to use a facemask if I visit the Cathedral?

No – but if you wish to wear a facemask you are welcome to do so.


-       How can I donate to support the ministry of Chelmsford Cathedral?

If you are visiting the Cathedral, there are now contactless giving points for you to use in the building. On-line giving is also available. Simply visit the Cathedral website and you will find the link to our on-line giving at the bottom of the home page.


Holy God, as we open our doors and welcome in those who will come may we recognise you among them.

As we make our churches safer to enter and care for those who come may we recognise you as our strong defence.

As we say our prayers and light our candles may we recognise you in our midst.

As we resume our life and live our life may we recognise you as our life today, tomorrow and always.

Amen.                                                  A prayer by the Dean of Southwark


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