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Understanding Our Services

What are the services like at Gloucester Cathedral?

If you are reading this you may be curious to come along and join a service at the Cathedral. Maybe you haven’t been to church since you were young or have been to a completely different type of church. Going to a Cathedral can seem a little daunting or confusing at first so we have written an introduction to help you feel less nervous to come and visit us.

Is there a dress code?

No, there really isn’t. Just wear the clothes you would normally wear. It is your heart God looks at not what you have in your wardrobe.

What do I do?

The first few times you come, you may not quite know what is happening so feel free to sit anywhere you feel comfortable. It can seem like a lot of standing up and sitting down, but don’t worry just follow those around you. If you’re not sure, feel free to tell someone you are new and to ask for help -they will be happy to guide you through.

So what happens at the different services?

Below is a brief description of what happens during the daily worship of the Cathedral. Evensong and Eucharist always happen in the main parts of the Cathedral. The other services take place in the smaller chapels around the Cathedral. As you come in the details of where they are will be signposted for you and anyone around will be able to direct you.

Morning & Lunchtime Communion (30 minutes long)

These gentle services are perfect if you work in the city and great for helping you to feel relaxed during our often busy days. You will be lead through some prayers and communion (taking of bread and wine). Some prayers you say together, some parts will be said by the person leading. There is a handy booklet provided at all times to guide you through (the bits everyone says are IN BOLD) Don’t worry about being perfect, no one is judging you. The person leading will guide everyone through so just relax and enjoy. Just like evensong many people worship at these services during the week in addition to their main church on Sunday. Don’t worry if you don’t want to take communion (bread and wine). If you would like to take bread and wine, but, haven’t before, speak to the person taking the service; they’ll be happy to chat to you about it.

Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer (30 minutes long)

These simple services are very similar to Morning & Lunchtime Communion however without the taking of bread and wine. As well as a handy booklet to follow at all times you will also be provided with the Book Of Common Prayer to follow, but don’t worry the person leading will guide you to the page and guide you through the service. If you are new to faith these services are great to gently introduce yourself to the Church setting.

Evensong (45 minutes long)

This type of service is what Gloucester Cathedral excels at: we have a world class choir and organ. At the end of a busy day what better way to relax than to sit in the glorious setting of the Cathedral and listen to some beautiful music. It can seem a bit confusing with people standing up and sitting down all the time but again don’t worry. The booklet in front of you will guide you through, like all services just follow the people around you and relax. Evensong is a wonderful mixture of prayers, traditional singing from the choir, short bible readings and a short hymn. You can either focus intently or just relax and let the music and atmosphere wash over you. There is no communion (taking of bread and wine) and the readings and prayers are very short so lots of people who are exploring their faith say that it is a really comfortable place to be.

Eucharist (various times depending on when takes place but average from 1 hour to 1 hour forty five minutes)

These services are the main heart of our worship at the Cathedral. The main service takes place on a Sunday, however there are often additional special services during the weekdays, celebrating special events of the Christian Year. You will be handed a service sheet by our volunteer stewards as you enter to help guide you through the service, but if you are nervous feel free to sit at the back or ask someone to guide you through. You will be able to join in the rousing hymns and relax and listen to a sermon from our clergy. The second Sunday of the month is our family service where we have the young choristers singing and has a wonderful, fun family-friendly atmosphere. These services have a great mix of time for reflection, and listening to wonderful music. The Eucharist is in four parts: an introduction; Bible readings with the Address and prayers; Communion at the altar; and the sending out at the end.

Every Sunday, refreshments are served in the Chapter House afterwards and you are always welcome to join in. Welcome is part of the Cathedral’s traditions and something we take very seriously – you can find out more in our Welcome Booklet.