In July 2007, Gloucestershire was hit by the worst floods in 60 years. The previous worst floods had been in 1947, and this week the Cathedral has commemorated those terrible days ten years ago when so much of the County was without water, and many also lost electricity. The irony was not lost on many that at exactly the time the service started at 5:30pm, the heavens opened and torrential rain including thunder and lightning descended. Fortunately this year, the rains stopped after a few hours, and in the words of Genesis “the waters subsided”, but many of us stuck in the rain on our way home after a long days work will have questioned whether we were to see a rerun of the problems before.
Also this week we heard the news that Adobe Flash is to be withdrawn in 2020. As an archivist, this is not a new quandary. Who now remembers “Lotus Notes” or Star writer, and yet this is the format in which many digital documents were created. Many peoples attention over the next three years will be devoted to finding ways to migrate important files and systems to replacements.
Both of these experiences have highlighted the importance for all of us to be able to find ways to accept change in our lives. As Christians, we believe that Jesus brought the most fundamental change of all, the triumph over sin through his death on the cross and resurrection. Even then his closest friends were afraid of what this change might mean for them, amongst them “doubting” Thomas. When I feel troubled by changes in my life, I have found a still small place of calm in the beautiful Thomas Chapel at the Cathedral, bathed in the blue light of the gorgeous Tom Denny windows. Our churches across the County and beyond are a treasury of that special calm, sacred space. It is my prayer that we may all find the strength in these beautiful buildings, through their steady presence through the ages, to face the changes that concern or worry us.
By Rebecca Phillips, Gloucester Cathedral Archivist