All churches invited to contribute to new artwork

The deadline for submissions is 31 March 2022

Chester Cathedral and esteemed Cheshire-based artist, Stephen Broadbent, are launching an exciting project called the Pilgrim Porch, which aims to capture a snapshot of worshipping life across the Diocese of Chester as part of a new permanent artwork to be installed at the west doors of Chester Cathedral.

Every parish church and any associated daughter churches are able to participate and have been invited to contribute through word and image. Every contribution will be permanently encapsulated into the new porch as part of a spectacular labyrinth design created by Stephen Broadbent. 

The finished installation will be a sculptural bronze porch with ceremonial glass doors positioned at the west end of the Cathedral. It will be unveiled later this year as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

A fitting tribute to the Queen

Bishop Mark says: "It is relatively rare that an artist is commissioned to create a new permanent fixture for the interior of a medieval Cathedral. Even more special, though, that such a project can mark and celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of a reigning monarch. We hope that this project will be a fitting tribute to the remarkable reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and a permanent enhancement to the fabric of our Cathedral."

A document produced by Stephen Broadbent and the Cathedral outlines how each church can participate and the Archdeacons have written to all Incumbents and PCC Secretaries asking them to contribute. 

Download the briefing document for churches here
Read the Archdeacons' letter to Incumbents and PCC Secretaries here

How can churches participate?

Every parish church and any associated daughter churches as listed in the 2022 Year Book are invited to contribute and can do so in three simple steps:

1. The congregation must decide what element of their church or worshipping community is a fitting contribution to the project and why.
2. Take two good quality photographs of the chosen element.
3. Submit the photographs along with a short explanation, directly to the artist, Stephen Broadbent: pilgrim.porch@broadbent.studio

Artist Stephen Broadbent says: “I am asking every church in the diocese to share an image that is significant and meaningful to them. Perhaps it’s an image of a piece of stained glass or a carved detail in the parish church, or another notable element of your worshipping community.

“Together, with almost 400 other contributions from across the diocese, we will create a unique permanent artwork that will form a labyrinth design, symbolically connecting every church to each other and to the Cathedral – the Mother Church of the diocese.”

The Dean of Chester, Tim Stratford says installing a permanent feature that creatively maps out the worshipping life of the diocese is a thrilling prospect, he says: “Once completed our medieval west doors will be open and passers-by will be able to glimpse through the beautiful glass doors into the Cathedral and down the nave to the quire at the heart of the Cathedral. The porch will open the Cathedral to the city, inviting those outside in to explore further our beautiful Cathedral and discover the community that can be found inside."

About the artist Stephen Broadbent

Stephen Broadbent has a passion for creating works of art that “connect to a community or place” helping to reveal collective meanings or stories through permanent sculptures within the landscape.

Some of his other work in the North West can be found at Chester Cathedral, in the city of Chester itself, Liverpool Cathedral and Warrington town centre, as well as around the UK in Sunderland and Gleneagles.

Over the last forty years, Stephen has successfully completed many public art projects, private commissions, and exhibitions. Through artistic and community collaboration, Stephen and his team design each piece in response to its unique location, so that it becomes an integral part of its surrounding environment.

Stephen’s background is as a sculptor and maker having been trained by acclaimed Liverpool sculptor, the late Arthur Dooley.

More information can be found on the website www.broadbent.studio

Page last updated: Wednesday 30th March 2022 8:35 AM
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