The Very Reverend Elizabeth Dyke.

One of the cornerstones of religious belief in Bendigo, St Paul’s Cathedral, will celebrate its 150th anniversary between November 11 and 18.

St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral was opened as a parish church on November 12, 1868.

Having survived the building crisis between 2009 and 2016 when the cathedral was in need of radical repairs, it has not only been renovated but is flourishing under the pastoral care of the newly appointed Very Reverend Elizabeth Dyke.

Reverend Elizabeth personifies the new breed of deans and priests who bring to their pastoral care the knowledge of our contemporary cultural climate.

Indeed if you are to compare Dean Elizabeth’s visage with the venerable, bearded deans who established St Paul’s, the contrast in style and attitude is remarkable.

“We live in a different culture now,” she said. “People don’t change, but people’s needs change.

“Some people have lost touch with what it means to have a spiritual life and I believe they are actively looking for that spiritual life.”

Dean Elizabeth compared the spirit of the Invictus Games to that of a church.

“An amazing community of people came together with generosity and love,” she said.

“I think the former institution of the church let many people down but now the church is recovering and has a wider purpose.

“People are regaining confidence in God and in the services of the church.”

I am not alone when talking with Dean Elizabeth in the nave of the cathedral. People come and go continually.

The annual art exhibition has just been taken down and now the community is setting up the annual Christmas shop.

Dean Elizabeth says the congregation consists of some 200 parishioners and is growing.

There is also a significant number of Karen parishioners who attend the cathedral.

“We’re very happy to shortly welcome a new priest, the Reverend Bawmu Htoo, who will be supporting the Karen congregation.”

Here in the heart of Bendigo, Dean Elizabeth said her congregation prays for the people of Bendigo.

“We pray for our city, its people and institutions.”

“We’ve had 150 good years and pray for a 150 more years of God’s blessings upon us.”

St Paul’s Cathedral and Combined Charities annual Christmas gift shop will be open until December 15.

Details can be obtained by ringing 5443 5061 Monday to Friday 9am–2pm, email cathedral@bendigoanglican.org.au

– Dianne Dempsey