Like all other Cathedrals, Derby is much more than a beautiful building. It is, as its constitution states, ‘the seat of the Bishop and a centre of worship and mission’. The Bishop gathers the clergy and people of the Diocese of Derby here for the ordinations of deacons, for the baptism of new Christians and for confirmation, for the blessing of the holy oils on Maundy Thursday and for other great diocesan occasions. Additionally he presides at the liturgy in the Cathedral at Christmas, Easter and other principal festivals. He also organises Parliament Days for sixth formers, and Summits on key topics in contemporary society.
The Cathedral is governed by the Dean and the Chapter – three priests, known as canons, and four lay people. The Dean and Canons have a particular responsibility for maintaining the daily worship of the Cathedral, as well as managing its life and ministry, assisted by the lay staff and many volunteers.
Its mission involves schools work and adult education, welcome and hospitality to visitors, pilgrims and to people in distress of one mind or another, sharing the Christian faith and engaging in dialogue with enquirers and with those of other faiths, and working in close co-operation with the City, the University and other institutions.
Although a Church of England Cathedral, it tries to be a holy place and a sign of unity for Christians of many traditions and a meeting place of faiths.
The Cathedral is supported in its ministry daily by a large team of volunteers who include the people who welcome visitors to the Cathedral, the Cathedral Centre and Bridge Chapel. The Friends of the Cathedral are a company of those who care for the Cathedral building and its mission and support it financially.
Newcomers and volunteers are always welcome to help carry forward the mission and life of this ancient and holy place.
Each day the Eucharist, with its origins in the Last Supper on the night before Jesus died, is celebrated around the altar in the Cathedral. On Sundays and festivals it is a sung service, with one of the Cathedral’s three choirs leading the music and with the participation of the Cathedral’s regular congregation, which also contributes much to it’s life through the week. The Cathedral also hosts many occasions through the year when the wider communities of the city and county come to mark significant occasions in local and national life. It is the setting also for concerts, recitals, festivals and exhibitions.
Amidst all this activity in what is very much a ‘working Cathedral’, there are nevertheless long periods of calm and quiet and visitors are always welcome to walk round, to sit and enjoy its peace, to join in worship, to light a candle or pray.