December 6, 2009

Feeling the Spirit

I signed up to volunteer once a week at Christchurch Cathedral about a month ago. The time is flexible and we get to choose the day and hours we like, so this fits me perfectly. My chosen time is Saturday morning and yesterday was my second shift.

Having had a crappy mood the day before, I was looking forward to the volunteering job to ease my mind off my studies. As a Cathedral guardian, my job is to greet visitors with a friendly face, offer help when needed, answer questions about the Cathedral and talk to visitors about giving donation to the Cathedral in a positive way. They all sound fairly easy but they're really not.
I particularly do not like the asking for donation part because some visitors are just there to take pictures and hate being pestered. Being new, I am normally teamed up with 2 other experienced volunteers who have mastered the art of asking donations so for the time being I am safe from this task. Hehe.

The Cathedral is a very prominent landmark in Christchurch. It is located right at the centre of Christchurch because the city was established as an Anglican settlement and its leaders wanted to have a Cathedral at its heart.Over 700 000 people come here each year to worship and see this beautiful church. The view inside is breathtaking and you can understand why some people come here everyday just to sit and relax for a few hours.

We did not have a big crowd yesterday so I took the opportunity to explore the Cathedral and take some pictures. This is the Votive Candle Stand. It's a very attractive spot in the Cathedral and people from all over the world come here to pray and light up candles for their loved ones. I  myself lit 5 candles for my family, friends and my studies - the 2 miserable hours remember?

The Votive Candle Stand

After lighting candle number 5, it was very tempting to light more and more candles on the stand's just fun okay? I managed to restrain the silly urge and stopped myself from playing candles on my second day as a volunteer. Phew! Good thing I did because when I turned back, I realized that  Quintin, the head volunteer  was observing me. Yikes! Terus I pura pura cleaned the candle stand and scurried to the entrance to welcome a granny.

After awhile, more visitors came in and things started to get busy. Quite a number of people wanted to go up the tower so I was quite occupied, ushering visitors to the special door leading to the tower climb. One needs to climb 134 steps to get to the viewing platforms that give panoramic views of the city. This is certainly a must-do activity if you're visiting the Cathedral.

Towards the end of my shift, I started feeling hungry and well...a little bit bored too (bad of me, I know). Lucky for me the Cathedral's choir made up of 15 girls from the age of 6 to 15 had a practice that day. They were preparing for the Sunday service as well as a special Christmas service on the 25th. I sat in the back of the Nave and waited for them to sing the first song. When they did, I had goosebumps all over my body. I think my jaw dropped a few inches and I noticed that conversations among visitors came to a shuddering halt. They are that good. Mesmerized, I quickly moved from the Nave at the back to the front seats so I could really enjoy the Christmas carols. They sang like angels and they were brilliant.

My shift ended at 12.00 noon and as I walked out from the Cathedral, I had a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Maybe it's the Christmas spirit or maybe it's just the happy feeling of knowing I was having Hainan chicken rice for lunch but whatever it was, it made me feel good. I went home happy and high-spirited, all crappiness disappeared!


JIPP said...

Haha. I find the ending part about having Hainan Chicken rice for lunch quite amusing. I thought you were gonna write something spiritual. LOL! Btw, one of my friends had blogged about this Christchurch Cathedral. Hope to go there in any of my NZ trips in the future..

chegu carol said...

why church sini sabah tiada yg cantik2 mcm sana tmpat urg putih ah? ermm well, except some like st micheal pnmpg and st mary sdkn la...old churches.

Lizeewong said...

Jipp - Hehe...Kelaparan ba tu. Ya, should come for a visit. I'll be happy to show you around :)

Chegu - Ya, St. Michael cantik kan. I love that church. Never been to the one in Sdkan though :)

Gallivanter said...

The singing must've been awesome. I love the Christmas spirit! :-)