Last Monday, 16 February, there was broadcast, on the local public television channel, a programme on the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist as a parish church. The arguments the bishop of Cleveland, Richard Lennon, voiced for the cathedral parish could be made for every parish in the diocese. On the same day, Saint Andrew parish church was demolished, the parish recently suppressed (closed).
The irony is that soon, 7 March, an announcement of further suppressed parishes will be made. In the diocese “cluster meetings” were held. Many of the participants were under the impression, that, the cluster process was to share resources, and promote mutual support of new groupings, groupings independent of subdeanery groupings of the past.
Groupings were made, almost, entirely by geography. Urban and first ring suburban parishes were targeted as redundant. In a group of five parishes, two were directed to be made go; this was repeated: 3 of 6, 4 of 7, 2 of 4, and so on. Saint Stephen, Cleveland, parish had been recommended for suppression. This scenario was repeated for other churches. Some acquiesced, some did not. To-day there will be a veneration of relics of Saint Stephen Protomartyr, and an Eucharistic procession and Benediction, with choirs singing at Saint Stephen parish. All this for the purpose, and supplication for the continuation of the parish church.
The service was covered by WEWS channel 5 and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and they allowed a friendly, detailed and accurate article to be written and published, with many pertinent facts. The chancery will not like it.