As you might expect, since I've lived and worked in Gloucester diocese for 17 years now, Gloucester Cathedral has featured largely in some significant events in my faith journey.
It was here that we came with the Dufflepud aged 14 days. a tiny snuffling bundle in a sling to launch that apparently damp squib,the Decade of Evangelism with a wonderful service with a huge orchestra and lots of excitement.
It was here that we travelled through the wardrobe door into Narnia, and joined Captain Beaky and his Band at some wonderful Children's Festivals. There is even one pillar on the north side of the nave that, I think, still bears traces of some purple glitter glue, after a careless gesture the year I ran a workshop at the Children's Festival.
More seriously, of course, it was in the Cathedral that I knelt before the Bishop and received the grace of Holy Orders, it was here that I took solemn oaths which felt as ancient and as weighty as the stones themselves, and it is here that each year I come to renew them during the Chrism Mass.
But this last year, I've had new and no less wonderful experiences here, thanks to feig.
I blogged about one back in Holy Week, and last night once again this small emerging community was given the run of the building and created worship stations nestling in pools of light. I don't know how many of us were there in the course of the evening. After my welcome from Michael I was conscious of a just few others intent on soaking up God as they made their way around the building - but the impact was overwhelming...as if all that space, all that beauty, all that tangible prayer was there simply for me. At the beginning of a challenging time for me, and on the brink of the Advent madness, I can't think of a better way to meet and feel myself loved by God and enfolded in his peace.