Family hat-trick as Mark becomes a Canon


The Humphriss family was celebrating on Saturday as they now have a trio of canons in their tribe.

Mark Humphriss, who became our Diocesan Secretary in July, joined his father, the Revd Canon Reg Humphriss, and sister, Clare Turnbull, as a Cathedral Canon.

Rev Rachel Carnegie, Rev Dr Phillip Tovey, Mark Humphriss, Rev Felicity Scroggie, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher (Bishop of Dorchester), the Very Revd Martyn Percy (Dean), Rosemary Tucker, Darren Oliver (Diocesan Registrar), Rev David Tyler, Rev Toby Wright.
Photo: Steven Buckley

When they are installed, Lay and Honorary Canons become members of the College of Canons. These are people who have given distinguished service to the Church and serve as ambassadors for their Cathedral in their parish, life or ministry.

Mark was installed a Canon in a special ceremony at Oxford’s Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday (January 25). “I feel really humbled to be invited so early on in my time in the role to receive this honour alongside people who have done amazing things across the Diocese,” says Mark.

Reg was installed as a Canon of Canterbury Cathedral by Archbishop Robert Runcie in 1985. He had first worked as a Youth Chaplain and part of the Education Team in 1963. After spells in two parishes, one in Faversham and another in Croydon, he returned to Canterbury in 1976.  Reg was the Rector of St Martin’s (the oldest church in England in continual use) and St Paul’s, and then in Saltwood. When he retired in 2001 he was installed Canon Emeritus and remains active, regularly taking services in Canterbury Cathedral and across Canterbury Diocese.

Clare has been Head of Lanesborough School, the Choir School for Guildford Cathedral, for 13 years. She was installed as a Lay Canon of Guildford Cathedral in 2012 in recognition of the close work and support that the school provides for the boy choristers.

“The organist of the Cathedral and I work very closely together to ensure that all safeguarding, pastoral, academic and practical arrangements are covered so that our boys can thrive both at school and the cathedral,” says Clare.

Reg added: “I am delighted that Mark joins Clare and me to become a trio of canons in one family. My only sadness is that my late wife Sue was not at the service in person, as I am sure that she would join me in saying how delighted we are and grateful for the opportunity of service it affords to those in the church and the community.”

Mark joined us directly from being University Secretary for the University of Bath. The former Reading University student has previously held significant roles working for the national Church. Read more about Mark here.

Check out our Facebook gallery of photos from Saturday’s service.


Pilgrims prepare to flock to Oxford’s Christ Church Cathedral

More than 400 people are expected to make their way to Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday for the inaugural St Frideswide Pilgrimage.

St Frideswide is the Patron Saint of both the city and the University of Oxford, and her shrine lies at the heart of our ancient Cathedral. She is celebrated on Saturday 19 October, traditionally the date of her death. Her saint’s day has become a day for celebration across the county and is also known as Oxfordshire Day. The Cathedral serves as the ‘mother church’ for the 815 churches across the Diocese of Oxford, which covers the Thames Valley area.

People will be arriving at the Cathedral by one of four routes, representing the four points of the compass. The routes use a mix of footpaths and the Thames Path and vary in length from 17 miles from Dorchester Abbey (across two days) to 1.5 miles on Saturday afternoon from Iffley Lock, which is intended to be particularly family-friendly.

The intention is that pilgrims arrive from 2pm and visit the Cathedral to reflect and pray, using Prayer Stations based around the Beatitudes, a set of Jesus’s teachings from The Sermon on the Mount. Pilgrims will also be invited to pray at the Shrine of St Frideswide in the Cathedral’s Latin Chapel.

There will be a short reflective service at 4pm, which will include an anthem by the St Frideswide Consort, the older members of the Cathedral’s girls’ choir. Both the Dean, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, and the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, will help to lead the service.

The St Frideswide Pilgrimage is one of a series of special services at the Cathedral to mark the season of St Frideswide. These include the Court Sermon (Tuesday 15 October); the Patronal Eucharist (Thursday 17 October) and the Civic Service (Tuesday 22 October).

The Succentor, the Revd Philippa White, who is one of the key organisers of the day, said: “I’m excited to welcome pilgrims from around the Diocese and beyond to their Cathedral. Like many others rediscovering pilgrimage around the world, they are quite literally following in the footsteps of over a thousand years of pilgrims finding in this place beauty, transcendence and the presence of God.

“As we celebrate Frideswide as our sister in faith, whose life shows us what it is to follow God’s call, we offer to all who wish the chance to step aside from ordinary routine and into sacred space, experiencing the Cathedral in a variety of ways both traditional and contemporary. We pray that God will meet all who gather with us.”


School children celebrate St Frideswide

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A BERKSHIRE primary school and staff at Christ Church Cathedral teamed up to conduct a pilgrimage to celebrate the life of Oxford’s patron saint.

Yattendon CE Primary School suspends its teaching timetable one day per year to celebrate the life of a remarkable Anglo Saxon princess who fled to Oxford to escape the attention of Algar, the pagan king of Mercia.

Princess Frideswide healed many people and a well from the legend, which was reputed to have healing properties, is near to Yattendon and is the pilgrimage destination.
To celebrate the patronal festival each class spent the morning on creative activities inspired by the saint and were joined by history expert Ruth Buckley and Christ Church Cathedral Education Officer Jackie Holderness.

The younger children acted out the story of the princess’ adventures, while Years 3 and 4 played a game, which involved the children reading short extracts from the saint’s legend, written in verse. In the Cathedral, Edward Burne-Jones’ window tells the story in stained glass and the children had to match a laminated picture of the window to each verse.
The older children performed a group drama about the life of St Frideswide. After lunch the whole school gathered for the pilgrimage to the holy well for a service.

Jackie said: “While history and tradition are important, the story of Frideswide seems to resonate with the Yattendon children primarily as an example of witness. The children seem to appreciate her example of trust in God, to whom she had dedicated her life.

“They are also very aware of Frideswide’s compassion and kindness, courage and determination, and her desire for a contemplative and prayerful life.”

Photo: Children enjoy circle dancing during the day’s activities (Christ Church, Oxford)