The Dean of Portsmouth Cathedral talks about his retirement.
On Wednesday I was privileged to dedicate the Normandy Memorial Wall at the new D-Day Story museum on the sea front.
The Royal Marines Corps of Drums, Portsmouth Cathedral’s Cantate Choir and a large crowd attended this moving event on the 74th anniversary of the landings.
The museum and the commemorations around D-Day are a recurring reminder of the role that Portsmouth played in the events which reshaped Europe three quarters of a century ago.
A walk along the same seafront from which thousands left is a reminder of how much this city has changed since then.
I’ve also seen many changes in the city since I arrived over 15 years ago.
The establishment of Gunwharf Quays, the opening of the new Mary Rose Museum, the arrival of the QEII aircraft carrier and the continuing development of the university have all contributed to this vibrant community.
As I prepare to leave Portsmouth for retirement, I’ve also been reflecting on the life and development of the cathedral in which I have worked.
Highlights have included the establishment of a new cathedral choir for girls, deep involvement in the artistic and musical life of the city, and leading such memorable events as the D-Day 60 commemorations in Caen and Bayeux.
During those 15 years the cathedral has inevitably changed – there have been the perpetual repairs on an ancient building, the joys and pains of life and death events of many of Portsmouth’s people, and the growth of congregations and activities.
Now the building is buzzing with worship, children’s workshops and arts events every day of the year.
Change is part of life; we all move on in different ways – for my wife and I the change involves leaving Portsmouth next week and retiring.
Those changes lead to reflection and reassessment – something which is an inevitable part of human experience. Sometimes, as I am now, we are forced by changing circumstances to reassess.
But whether our life is going through a period of calm or turmoil, reflecting on who we are and on our beliefs and values is an important exercise.
Portsmouth Cathedral is in High Street, Old Portsmouth.
David Brindley’s farewell services are this Sunday, 10.30am and 6pm
Go to portsmouthcathedral.org.uk