The banner refers to the ancient Advent antiphon (short chant) Rorate caeli: “Drop down ye heavens, and let the skies pour down righteousness.”
Cathedral spokeswoman Cathy Clark said: “With the many changes experienced throughout the pandemic, Chichester Cathedral has found new ways to reach out to the community and will continue to do so for the Advent and Christmas period.
“At present the Cathedral is open for private prayer and reflection, and whilst we wait for future government guidance, the programme of planned activities will ensure that seasonal celebrations will still take place in this very different of years. Joining together in song is central to these celebrations, and to enable this to continue the Cathedral will present both a pre-recorded and live-streamed carol service.
“The pre-recorded service – A Carol Service from Chichester – will have subtitles and will be made available from mid-December through the Cathedral website and will also be distributed to care homes, schools and groups across the Diocese. The service has been especially written and recorded for online congregations and will tell the Christmas story with a selection of carols, bible readings and poetry.”
Cathy added: “Since the start of the first lockdown, the Cathedral has live-streamed services, with large numbers engaging from all around the world. These now form an integral part of the pattern of daily worship and number around ten per week.
“As well as regular services, special services for Advent and Christmas will also be live-streamed including the Advent Procession on Sunday, December 6; the Cathedral Carol Service on Saturday, December 19; First Evensong of Christmas on Thursday, December 24; Midnight Mass on Thursday, December 24 and the Christmas Day Eucharist on Friday, December 25. We are working on plans for welcoming congregations to the Cathedral for these services in line with government guidance.”
There will also be a special visual arts project in the Cathedral which will be unveiled to the public from December 10.
Over the last months, online spiritual resources have been provided to access from home, which will include a new Advent Calendar of music, art and stories shared daily on social media channels. There will also be activities for children and families. The Cathedral will also be launching a fundraising initiative to raise its running costs – £3,000 a day – through the 12 days of Christmas, ie £36,000.
The Very Rev Stephen Waine, Dean of Chichester, said: “We invite you to join our us for Advent and Christmas celebrations which have been built upon the considerable experience gained over the last months in meeting new challenges and continuing to witness to the love of God for his people, as the Cathedral has done for more than 900 years.”
Full details of how to access the recorded carol service, the full schedule of services, and updates on guidance for visiting can be found on the Cathedral’s website: http://www.chichestercathedral.org.uk