Regular worshippers will remember that over the past two years we have been advancing some re-ordering plans for the Trinity Chapel. We experimented with various seating arrangements and various positions and sizes of altar. The aim is to be able to continue to use the Trinity Chapel as a regular place for early morning worship, as well as processional services, and other occasional services and events.
The extraordinary power and presence of this most ancient part of our building is something that we are clear we want to preserve and enhance. After the several re-ordering experiments, the Ministerial Meeting together with the Fabric Advisory Committee had a conversation about the best way forward and we are now able to announce what will happen next.
The decision has been made to leave the seating arrangements as they are for normal weekday morning services. The semi-circular seating arrangement seems very popular with people, and is well suited to the daily prayers of the Cathedral community. Other results of the feedback were that the smaller altar was preferred as being a more appropriate size for that Chapel, and also that congregations enjoyed the altar and celebrant being closer to them (therefore further west) than the current altar dais allows.
The stone altar dais itself, which was installed towards the middle of the last century, was felt by many to be too large for the smaller altar, restricting the flexibility of the chapel, and also proved a trip hazard to clergy and servers in their liturgical functions.
The decision has been made, and approved by the Fabric Advisory Committee, to remove the stone altar dais from the Trinity Chapel, and to level the floor in that area with the Purbeck marble flagstones so that the floor is a continuous whole from east to west. This work will be undertaken by our own Works Department from 10 January and will last about six weeks.
The small altar will be retained, and there will be a further period of experimentation between February and the summer to ascertain exactly where the small altar should be positioned in relation to the walls of the chapel and to the congregation. Once that has been determined, the hope is that a new altar, together with altar furniture, can be designed, commissioned, and installed. The seating arrangements will remain unchanged, and it is hoped that these alterations to the chapel will prove beneficial not only for the regular congregation, but also for occasional services, and the visitor experience as well.