Sunday 4 October, kept as the Feast of St Thomas of Hereford
Cathedral Eucharist, 10 am

The preacher on Sunday 4 October will be The Right Revd Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter. Bishop Robert is a very old friend of the Dean’s – they were students together at Durham university in the 1970s and, as is the way in the Church, career paths have crisscrossed over the years! As well as being a pleasure to welcome Bishop Robert, Sunday's service will act as a reminder of the important links between Hereford and Exeter.

Bishop Edmund Lacy, Bishop of Hereford 1417–20, developed a great devotion to the Archangel Raphael. He took this devotion with him when he was translated to be Bishop of Exeter in 1420. From Exeter, he wrote to his successor at Hereford, Thomas Spofford (1422–48), exhorting him to maintain the devotion to Raphael and sending vestments and frontals to encourage this because, he said, he knew ‘the diocese of Hereford had always been in penury’!

At the 10 am Eucharist the cathedral choir will also give the premiere of a commissioned work by Sir James MacMillan. These two short pieces have 14th-century texts, extolling Thomas as pastor and leader. One is sung as an introit – its trumpet-like texture calling us to worship on this great day. The other, more reflective work speaks of the pastoral nature of Thomas’s life and ministry.

We are delighted that the cathedral choir is able to sing these pieces today, and on the date originally planned! We are so grateful, too, for the generosity of donors who have enabled this commission: Lady Curtis, Katharine Wedgbury, Tim and Liz Richards, Jo Boosey and The Elmley Foundation.