Saturday, 7 June 2014
College of canons
It is the emblem of Southwark Cathedral and, worn on my scarf, it denotes that I am a canon of the Cathedral..
Our task is to be 'ambassadors' for the cathedral and once a year we gather for the annual meeting of the College of Canons, a service of Holy Communion and a rather nice dinner.
All this took place last night. It was good to have an update on the life of the Cathedral in an increasingly busy part of London, to catch up with old friends and to enjoy the Cathedral's hospitality.
The new handbook for honorary canons says there have been canons in the church since the eighth century, and there have been canons in Southwark since 1106.
Nowadays we still have the job of electing the bishop of the Diocese. This task is made easier by the fact that there is only ever one candidate - the one nominated by Her Majesty the Queen. Nonetheless we are all required to say 'aye' and duly elect the Queen's choice after the reading of the royal warrant commanding us to do so. (These days the chosen name comes to Buckingham Palace via 10 Downing Street and a committee drawn from the diocese and the national church).
Nonetheless, any canon who fails to turn up for the bishop's election is is publically declared by the Dean to be 'contumacious.' I had to look that one up in the dictionary.
It means 'stubbornly perverse or rebellious' (ie an awkward so-and-so).