The Chester blog

20 Questions: Canon Jane Brooke

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Jane Brooke has been the Canon at Chester Cathedral since 2010. Her book ‘Awesome Anselm and the Chester Imp’ is out now

  1. How are you ?

Very busy – working day time and evenings as usual though via Zoom

  1. How have you coped with lockdowns ?

The cathedral has provided one service a month on Sundays and my role continues in terms of outwards looking and sustaining some groups in the cathedral; including: Supporting Mission Group ( fund raising for agreed charities),  book group, Benedictine spirituality sessions monthly, attending meetings: city of Sanctuary, Outside In.

I am delighted that over the last few months we have raised funds to support a debt support officer employed at  Citizens Advice, who will work with Money Buddy volunteers and the cathedral to offer support to people. We also have, from an anonymous donor through Transforming Lives Together, a new appointment for 3 days a week to work to support churches which are Places of Welcome: a space to   offer a warm friendly space for people to have a cup of coffee and also provide food for families in the holidays. She will be called the TLT Community Missioner. So new initiatives have been happening during lockdown which is very exciting!

  1. What does Chester mean to you ? 

Chester is a beautiful city which is best when it is full of people so I find it disturbing waking past empty shops every day

  1. Favourite place in Chester 

I have to say the cathedral! THuogh living near to the River Dee, I love looking at the river as the tide ebbs and flows.

  1. Who/ what inspired you in life ?

Many people: as a young teacher I was inspired by an experienced teacher who worked with special needs – his calm approach full of respect for whomever he met,  showed me how to work in challenging situations. Una Kroll, a campaigner of women’s ordination spoke when I was a student and she opened my eyes to the possibilities of women to have roles within the church

  1. If you could time travel, where/when would you go ?

I would love to be by the Sea of Galilee when Jesus was wandering around, homeless, with his friends and talking to the crowds

  1. Which person , living or dead would you take for an independent coffee or drink

Probably Julian of Norwich – to find out what living alone in a cell was like…though she wouldn’t know what a cup of coffee was!

  1. What was the last film you saw and was it any good ?

Although not a film I enjoyed watching The Queen’s Gambit. I have now a renewed interest in chess – it is an extraordinary fascinating game. I have purchased a book of chess problems and enjoy trying to work out ‘check mate in three moves.’

  1. Fav album of all time , and why?

Tend to go for classical music but I love Leonard Cohen and play his first album consistently in the car

  1. If you could choose one superpower what would it be 

Not sure exactly wat this means… if it means to live under a superpower – none!

  1. What is the greatest memory of your life ?

Getting married though it was a whirlwind

  1. If you could change one thing about Chester what would it be 

Introduce some craft  shops

  1. Where do you see Chester in 5 years time ?

Hopefully thriving with the Northgate opened and attracting many visitors

  1. Name 3 things you hate …

Bullying, rudeness, arrogance

  1. And 3 you love 

Nature, God (of course) my family

  1. What advice would you give to your younger self 

Enjoy each moment as it comes

  1. Who would play you in the movie of your life 

I can’t answer this one ….

  1. Describe your perfect day 

Being part of creative discussions which make a difference to the locality, meeting people who also want to make a difference and eating a good meal

  1. Name a famous person you have met 

The Queen when she visited Chester and I was Acting Dean.

  1. How do you feel about the future?

Positive – with good people in terms of understanding sustainability and climate change and value for human beings ,we can only look to a positive future.

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