The Collation
of Richard Capper

RICHARD CAPPER was the eighth Vicar of Saint Faith's. He left us to become a Canon of Wakefield Cathedral, where many of us visited him for his Instituion and on subsequent occasions. Follow this link for the entry (and voice!) of Richard in the Clergy page of this site.

Last year we heard the good news that, following the end of his contracted time at Wakefield, Richard had been appointed as Canon Pastor of Norwich Cathedral. At 3.30 pm on Saiturday 12th February, 2005, during the course of Choral Evensong there, he was Collated and Installed as a Canon Residentiary of Norwich Cathedral, and licensed as Preist in Charge of the Parish of St Mary in the Marsh.

There were upwards of twenty past and present members and friends of St Faith's present in the choir of the magnificent cathedral to watch the Bishop and the Dean perform their various functions and to speak of their new Canon Residentary. The Dean cleared up something of the puzzling reference to St Mary in the Marsh, when he explained that this church didn't actually exist any more, so that, presumably, the title is titular only. Perhaps in the fullness of time its Priest in Charge may enlighten us further: the  Church of England, like God, moves in mysterious ways.

Bishop Graham James is no stranger to St Faith's, having visited us last year for the 25th Anniversary of the priesting of our own Father Dennis Smith (follow this link for this event, including a picture of Bishop Graham). Like the Dean, he spoke warmly of St Faith's and its traditions and of Lord Runcie, its most famous product (to date!). He also celebrated his long association with Fr Dennis, whom he described memorably as 'exotic': saying that since Richard Capper had succeeded in coping with Dennis during his time at St Faith's, the pastoral care of the community of Norwich Cathedral should pose no problems! Reference was also made to the lively transfer market between Liverpool, Wakefield and Norwich, featuring Richard Capper, Bishop Graham and Bishop Nigel McCulloch.

The service was splendid, and the music (Responses setting by William Smith, Psalm chant by Sir Edward Bairstow, 'Mag' and 'Nunc' by Herbert Howells), superbly sung by members of Wakefield Cathedral Choir and, by happy coincidence, the Choir of Saint Francis Xavier, Liverpool, on half-term holiday duty at Norwich. Afterwards, there was a stately 'bun fight' in the north transept and, as dusk fell, a chance to take in something of the awe-inspiring splendour of the great building, its furnishings and its surrounding close. The photographs below (click for a larger version) show the new Canon in his impressive regalia (and descending from an impromptu perch and hoping for a soft landing!), the interior of the Cathedral, the suspended globe that forms the fine votive candle stand, and the cathedral's west end by day and as darkness fell over Norwich.

The people of Saint Faith's, both those who were able to make this pilgrimage and those who could not, will surely wish Richard, Angela, David, Matthew and Ruth every happiness and blessing in their new workplace, home and city. Richard has moved progressively Eastwards since leaving Lancashire: any further and he will fall into the encroaching North Sea.
However, in a splendid city with (so they say) a church for every week of the year and a pub for every day of the year, why should he want to move again...? 

Text and pictures: Chris Price


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