Friends of the Cathedral

Friends committee membersWho are the Friends?

The Friends of Christ Church Cathedral love, support and pray for the Cathedral and its work. Members include those who have a deep affection for the House and/or the Cathedral. They may live locally within the Diocese of Oxford, elsewhere in the UK or overseas. Many members of the clergy join the Friends because they were ordained in the Cathedral. Some are volunteers, and others ex-choristers or their families.

What do the Friends do?

The Friends raise funds to support the maintenance, restoration, repair, conservation and beautification of the Cathedral. In recent years our support has helped:

•    Restoration of the St Frideswide Shrine
•    Lighting and sound systems
•    Installation of the glass doors
•    New seating for the Crossings and aisles
•    Recording projects for the Cathedral Choir
•    Support of choristers
•    Renovation of the West End of the Cathedral

The Friends work to draw the Diocese and Cathedral more closely together, widening awareness of the Cathedral’s presence and contributing to its ministry and mission.

Our events

Dinner in the cathedralWe run an annual programme of outings and activities for Friends. Many of our events have been cancelled or curtailed due to the pandemic, but we are beginning to resume our activities. See below.

Why join the Friends?

Friends enjoy:
•    A Membership pass to Christ Church Cathedral
•    A Spring Newsletter and an Annual Report
•    A programme of outings and activities including a summer garden party in Christ Church and a dedicated Friends’ Christmas Carol Service followed by supper in Hall.
•    Admission without charge to the Christ Church Picture Gallery.

Elizabeth HarrisonElizabeth Harrison
Hon. Secretary, Friends of Christ Church Cathedral
Priory Room Office, Christ Church, Oxford OX1 1DP
Phone: 01865 286003 and Mobile 07711 294871

You will be warmly welcomed as a Friend. If you are already a member, perhaps you might invite someone else to join, or take out a membership as a gift?

Friends of Christ Church Cathedral


Enews no.2 May 2021


The 81st Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Christ Church Cathedral will take place at 4.30pm on Saturday, 26 June 2021 in the marquee in the Master’s Garden or in the Sir Michael Dummett Lecture Theatre, Christ Church. Items for the Agenda should reach the Hon. Secretary by 1 June 2021

The good news that social distancing is to be relaxed will allow the Events Working Group to re-convene. We hope to be able to put together a programme of activities for the period from September 2021 to February 2022 and to send out flyers with this year’s Annual Report. We have so missed the gatherings of Friends and are keen to resume. Meantime, there are two events in the diary.

  • The summer event will take place on Saturday 26 June, from 2pm until 4pm. For the first hour the group will be able to hear Joseph Denby, Cathedral Operations Office, talk about the installation of the live-streaming system which has been so valuable during the pandemic and also to visit the SubDean’s garden. At 3pm , in the marquee in the Master’s Garden, we will welcome back to Christ Church Katie McKeogh who will talk on Being a Catholic in Elizabethan England. For the moment we are unsure whether it will be possible for tea to be served so, although the event will be ticketed, there will be no charge levied. Application  for ticket/s can be made directly to the Hon. Secretary.
  • The Friends’ Christmas  service of Five Lessons and Carols, with the Cathedral Choir, is scheduled for Monday 20 December 2021. In the spirit of optimism, the Hall has been booked for supper (Hoorah!) and its availability should be confirmed by the time the Annual Report is sent out.

Change of Membership Secretary

The Council of Friends has been joined by Glynis Baguley who is taking on the role of Honorary Membership Secretary vice John Lardner. We very much look forward to working with her.

In the interregnum, it was not possible to distribute updated Membership cards to Single and Joint Members as we usually do each March. New cards will be sent in March 2022. Although your status as a Friend is unlikely to be challenged, anyone who is anxious may apply for an updated card. 

2020-2021 Annual Report

Preparation  is underway for the publication of the past year’s activities in our Annual Report which is planned to go out in August. As ever, contributors are generous but what is amazing is the innovation and changes in practice which evolved over the duration of the pandemic. Live-streaming (installation funded by the Friends) of services has been pivotal for members of congregation, the Diocese and the wider Christian family.

Image of Elizabeth Harrison with Sub Dean Fr Richard PeersRoyal Maundy

In March an envelope of impressive quality bearing the stamp of EIIR arrived in my mailbox. In it was a letter from the Lord High Almoner informing me that my name had been submitted by Bishop Steven to be one of this year’s Maundy recipients. Such a surprise and thrill -  to be followed early in Holy Week by delivery of the Maundy purses, red and white, (containing ninety-five pence and five pounds, fifty pence respectively) from The Queen with an accompanying letter from Her Majesty.

It would be usual for The Queen to distribute the Maundy gifts of specially minted coins to the Recipients at a Service on Maundy Thursday. In 2013 Christ Church had the privilege of hosting the Royal Maundy Service when David Burnside and Jean Spurge were Recipients. It was a grand and happy occasion. This year the service, but for Covid19, would have been in Westminster Abbey. Penny Keens, a Member of the Council of Friends, was a Recipient in 2019.

So with David, Jean and Penny, I am in excellent company. I am delighted and hugely appreciative of  the honour which is not simply personal but can be seen as a tribute to the success of the Friends of Christ Church Cathedral.

Addendum to Privacy Policy

Membership data (names, addresses and subscription records) are now being stored on a PC within the Christ Church firewall. There are no changes to the management of data by the Honorary Membership Secretary except that it will now be more secure and processed more tightly in line with Data Protection legislation. If you have any queries, please contact the Membership Secretary, Glynis Baguley, the first instance, or Christ Church’s Data Protection Compliance Manager, Judith Curthoys.

With all good wishes

Elizabeth Harrison, Honorary Secretary



Saturday 18 September: Meeting of Council of Friends

Tuesday 28 September: Curiouser and Curiouser: Tour of Christ Church Cathedral led by Jim Godfrey

 A glimpse beneath the surface of our remarkable Cathedral

Another chance to join Cathedral Verger, Jim Godfrey, on a walking tour of our’ beautiful, intriguing - and sometimes strange’ – cathedral! This will not be an exact copy of the walk he led in October 2019 as he is planning to include some new features, whilst (for the benefit of the Friends who were unable to obtain tickets last time) retaining many of the previous curiosities. Jim has been a verger here since 1987 and in that time, he has also been the Cathedral’s Visitors’ Officer and its Education Officer. Furthermore he is the author of the current Cathedral Guidebook. Born in County Durham, Jim attended Richmond School in North Yorkshire and went on to study Theology at Lampeter in mid-Wales before coming to Oxford. His interests include music and art, as well as church history.


10.30am          Meet in the ante-chapel of Christ Church Cathedral

11.30am          Coffee, Tea and Questions in the McKenna Room.

12.30pm          Finish. 

* The tour will be limited to 15 people and early application for tickets is advised.Tickets: Friends £15/Guests £18

Please note: Parking is NOT available.

Event Organiser: Patrick Leavey (01235 760010)



12 noon in McKenna Room, Christ Church

Pilgrimage in Medieval England: faith fun or folly?

Speaker: Professor Nicholas Orme

Nicholas Orme has been professor of history at Exeter University and an honorary lay canon of Truro Cathedral. He lives in Oxford and is the author of thirty books, including Medieval Children, Medieval Schools, and The history of England’s Cathedrals.

Chaucer has left us a vivid picture of medieval pilgrimage in his ‘Canterbury Tales’. But, there were far more pilgrimages than the Canterbury one, and they involved far more people. Some went for reasons of faith and devotion, others for recreation, and yet others disapproved of the whole practice. The lecture will explore these and many other aspects of pilgrimage in England up to its suppression by Henry VIII in 1538.This lecture is opportune in 2020 when cathedrals across the nation are joining together to celebrate the anniversaries of specific saints and the act of Christian pilgrimage.

Following the lecture there will be a sandwich lunch with wine or soft drinks, tea/coffee.

Tickets: Friends £18, Guests £20

Please note: Parking is NOT available.

EVENT ORGANISER: Elizabeth Harrison (01865 358979)

Saturday 30 October: Friends’ Annual General Meeting to be followed by an Extraordinary General Meeting


Wednesday 24 November  5.30pm     

ANGELS IN ART: a private viewing in the Christ Church Picture Gallery Led by Curator, Jacqueline Thalmann

Jacqueline Thalmann studied Art History, Classical Archaeology, European Ethnology and Film-and Theatre Studies in Munich, Augsburg, London and Berlin. She became Curator of Christ Church Picture Gallery, Oxford in March 2003, before that she had worked at Sir John Soane’s Museum in London and at the Humboldt University in Berlin at the Census of Antique Works of Art and Architecture Known in the Renaissance.

During her time as Curator of the Picture Gallery she worked on many exhibitions of Old Masters which helped to showcase Christ Church’s famous collection.

Jacqueline Thalmann writes: “How to depict an angel? The topic of this year’s Picture Gallery event is the depiction of angels in art. The session will take place in late November, a season when we are all seeking more light, but the evening will also highlight that these luminous creatures are ‘not just for Christmas’.

Angels seem an obvious topic when thinking of Old Masters, yet they are highly complicated beings – conceptually as well as visually. And if one assumes, that art is depicting nature and that in a time before photography it was the only way to represent the natural world, what about the non-natural world? Where would an artist have seen angels to know how to depict them in a way that we can recognise what we see – if even Jacob, wrestling with one for days, was not able to recognise his opponent? Descriptions of them are very limited, yet, we all seem to know what we see.

I am looking forward to exploring and discussing these and many more issues with the participants and with the help of the great artists in the Picture Gallery.”

TICKETS: Friends £15 / Guests £18 

*Numbers will be limited and early application for tickets is advised. Parking is NOT available on this occasion.

EVENT ORGANISER: Ruth Jolly (01865 516190)


Monday 20 December Christmas Service of Lessons and Carols at 6pm followed by Supper in the Great Hall at 7.30pm

Two-course supper with wine, mince pies and coffee

Tickets: Friends £35, Guests £40

Parking will be available on the Broadwalk. Please apply for display permit if required.

Event Organiser: Elizabeth Harrison (01865 358979)

JANUARY 2022        

Thursday 20 January LUNCHTIME LECTURE

A Journey – Revd Charlotte Bannister-Parker and sandwich lunch in the McKenna Room

At 12 noon in the McKenna Room, Christ Church

Speaker: Revd Charlotte Bannister-Parker

The Revd Charlotte Bannister-Parker is an Associate Priest at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, a Visiting Research Fellow at St Benet’s Hall and a Doctoral Candidate at the School of Theology, Boston University, USA.    

 Proverbs 24: 13 -14  My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, you will find a future, and your hope will not be cut off.

This talk will follow the journey Revd Charlotte Bannister-Parker has taken from beekeeping in the Himalayan foothills of Nepal, to Holywell Cemetery, Oxford, via Kimberley in South Africa and Holy Island in Northumbria. Her journey explores the relationship between nature, prayer and pilgrimage. Even though Charlotte’s faith journey started much earlier in childhood, it gathered pace during her twenties when Charlotte was an NGO worker and film maker in Asia and South America, and continued through her ordination and ministry both in England and overseas. The talk will be inspired by the faith, reflections and prayers of St Cuthbert, Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu and others.

After the talk a sandwich lunch will be served with a glass of wine, a soft drink, tea or coffee.

TICKETS: Friends £18/Guests £20

Please note: Parking is NOT available.

EVENT ORGANISER: Ruth Jolly ( 01865 516190)


Saturday 26 February: Meeting of Council of Friends  

MARCH  2022


Littlemore Church was built in 1835 by Henry Underwood for his client John Henry Newman who at that time was vicar of The University Church within whose parish Littlemore fell. Newman was the leader of The Oxford Movement and as such was involved in every aspect of the church’s architecture, furnishings and ornamentation. He believed that a church should ‘operate like a book – a Holy Book- which taught the viewer the spiritual truths’. The building not only influenced architects eg Pugin, but caused huge controversy between High Churchman who praised it and leaders of the Evangelical wing of the church who found it abhorrent. With the controversy raging about the church and his writings Newman withdrew to a house in Littlemore with a following of his acolytes until 1843 when he preached his final sermon in the church as an Anglican -‘On the Parting of Friends’. He was received into the Roman Catholic Church in 1845 and was canonized by Pope Francis in October 2019.

The visit will start with a talk by Dr Philip Salmon on Newman‘s association with the Church. Dr Salmon is a historian specialising in the Victorian era and as a restorer of old buildings was involved in the recent major project for reordering of the church. He is editor of the 1832-1945 House of Commons project on the history of Parliament and a research associate of Keble College. He will be followed by the vicar, Revd Margreet Armistead, who will talk about the reordering and the life the church now plays in the community.

Following tea we will be shown around Newman College where Newman lived, by a member of the Community of Friends of Newman.


2.50pm           Assembly outside the church which is on the corner of St Nicholas and Cowley Rds, OX44 4PP  limited parking available at the vicarage plus adjacent streets.

3pm            Talks by Dr Philip Salmon and Revd Margreet Armistead

4pm            Tea

4.15 approx     Visit Newman College

5pm            Visit ends

Tickets: Friends £20/ Guests £22

Event OrganiserKathryn Murphy (01635 201254)


1.30pm The Chapter House of Christ Church Cathedral

THE CATHEDRAL CHORISTERS conducted by Professor Steven Grahl, Organist and Director of Music

We are delighted that the Cathedral Choristers will be giving us a concert in the wonderful setting of the restored Chapter House.  It will be a very exciting opportunity for many of us to listen to a concert for the first time in this very beautiful and ancient place. This will be a truly memorable occasion and we do hope will be well supported by the Friends.

Covid restrictions allowing, we hope to provide tea and biscuits after the concert

Tickets: Friends £18/ Guests £20

Please note: Parking is NOT available.

Event Organiser: Kathryn Murphy (01635 201254)

APRIL                        TBA

MAY                           TBA

Saturday 14 May:  Meeting of Council of Friends


Saturday 10 June Summer Party and 2022 Annual General Meeting

Sponsor a chair

The Friends of Christ Church Cathedral have purchased 400 Howe chairs to replace the unstackable wooden chairs and uncomfortable and aged yellow plastic seats bought decades ago. We hope now to recover some of that cost by inviting sponsorship.

Each chair sponsored will bear an aluminium plaque inscribed with a name: your own name, the name of someone you wish to commemorate, or the name of a church or parish, club, school, or other organisation. The cost of naming a chair has been set at £125 per chair (actual cost: £171). If you would like to support the project but can only donate a small amount, this will still be welcome.

For more information download our Sponsor a Chair leaflet.


There is a range of memberships for individuals, couples and parishes on offer. Please see the membership application form. If you would prefer a hard copy or would like any further information about the Friends of Christ Church Cathedral, please contact the Hon. Secretary.  



Your Personal Data – what is it?  Personal data relates to a living individual who can be identified from the data. Identification can be by information alone or in conjunction with any other information in the data controller’s possession or likely to come into such possession. The processing of personal data is governed by the General Data Protection Regulations 2016/679 [the GDPR].

Who are we? The Council of the Friends of Christ Church Cathedral is the data controller, and is responsible for how your personal data is processed and for what purposes.

How do we process your personal data? The Friends Council complies with its obligations under the GDPR by keeping personal data up to date, by storing and destroying it securely; by not collecting or retaining excessive amounts of data; by protecting personal data from loss, misuse, unauthorised access and disclosure, and by ensuring that appropriate technical measures are in place to protect personal data.

Data processed by the Friends Council in relation to the members: Names – Addresses- Email Addresses - Telephone numbers - Bank details when supplied for standing orders. We use the data to administer your membership of the Friends of Christ Church Cathedral which includes being able to send twice yearly mailing to members. The legal basis for processing the data is for the legitimate interest of your membership. Your personal data is treated as strictly confidential, and will only be shared with the Friends Council and administration volunteers. Your express permission will be sought in the unlikely case that Council wishes to share your data with any other party or to use it for any new purpose. We keep the personal data active for the length of your membership in order to operate your membership, and archive details thereafter.

Your rights and your personal data: Unless subject to an exemption order [under GDPR] you have the following rights with respect to your personal data: The right to request a copy of any data held by the Friends Council about you The right to request correction of any inaccurate or out-of-date data The right to request that your personal data is erased when it is no longer necessary for the Friends to retain such data The right, where there is a dispute in relation to the accuracy of processing your personal data, to request that a restriction is placed on further processing The right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commisioner’s Office

Contact detail: To exercise all relevant rights, queries or complaints, please in the first instance contact the Membership Secretary, Friends of Christ Church Cathedral

Membership data (names, addresses and subscription records) are now being stored on a PC within the Christ Church firewall. There are no changes to the management of data by the Honorary Membership Secretary except that it will now be more secure and processed more tightly in line with Data Protection legislation. If you have any queries, please contact the Membership Secretary, Glynis Baguley, the first instance, or Christ Church’s Data Protection Compliance Manager, Judith Curthoys.