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Pilgrim, priest and ponderer. European living in North East England. Retired parish priest, theological educator, cathedral precentor and dean.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Welcome to New Students

It’s a great pleasure to welcome you to Durham as you arrive to begin your time in the University.  If you are from overseas, welcome to our country.  If you have come from other parts of the UK, welcome to north east England.  I am sure you will soon feel at home here as you get to know this beautiful region and its people. 

And welcome to this great building on the day of your matriculation, especially if this is the first time you have set foot in the Cathedral.  Last year one of our national newspapers ran an online poll to find the nation’s favourite building.  Durham Cathedral won.  Look around you at the magnificence that surrounds you and perhaps you’ll see why.  You’ll be glad to know that this Cathedral has a Facebook page with one of the biggest supporters’ group among cathedrals anywhere in the world.  You can also follow us on Twitter.  So you see, not everything in Durham Cathedral comes out of the middle ages.

You are sitting in a World Heritage Site which we share with the University.  Durham has a longer history of continuous study and learning than almost anywhere else in Europe, going back to the first Cathedal that was founded here in 995. 

The working life of these historic buildings continues today. The Castle is a working place of education.  This cathedral is a working church: services are held here three times on every day of the year.  But it’s also a place to walk around or sit quietly in, to enjoy its art, architecture and heritage, to explore its spirituality or to ponder the big questions of life.  There are scores of artistic, musical and cultural events to enjoy, many of them organised with the University.  There are lively debates about such topics as science and religion, the criminal justice system, peace-making and reconciliation, and what it means to be human.   Whatever your religious beliefs, I hope you come here often, that you think of it as your place and feel at home here.

As students you bring great liveliness to Durham and our region. I hope your time here is happy and rewarding. I wish you the very best for the years that lie ahead. 

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