Situated in the heart of a burgeoning business community, Southwark Cathedral's parish is small: only a handful of people are actually resident in the parish which comprises offices, two hospitals, the Cathedral Primary School and the Borough Market.
Nonetheless, the Cathedral is used by many thousands of people each year and is the setting for a wide variety of services and other events.
Its function as the mother church of the Diocese of Southwark is complemented by its local ministry to the business community and there are many exciting developments underway in imaginative ministry and mission. The Cathedral is also twinned with Bergen Cathedral, Norway and Rouen Cathedral, France.
The Cathedral has a fine musical tradition, with a choir of men and boys, and in addition a new Girls' choir, singing Evensong several times a week and full choral services on Sundays. The Cathedral has a fine peal of bells that are regularly rung by the Southwark Cathedral Society of Bellringers.
Listen to the choir (540kb MP3)
The Cathedral is staffed by the Dean, the Very Revd Colin Slee, and five Residentiary Canons, in addition to the Succentor. In the daily services and other activities the full time staff are assisted by Cathedral Chaplains - clergy in other non-parochial posts in the Diocese. Much support is provided by the Friends of Southwark Cathedral - a group of people who value the Cathedral and wish to contribute to its mission, maintenance and the enhancement of its beauty.
In addition to the normal round of daily services, Diocesan and deanery services, the Cathedral is in demand for special services and events of all kinds - consecrations, memorials, celebrations, school and college services, presentation and degree ceremonies for the South Bank University, the Guy's, King's & St Thomas' Medical School, the Nightingale and Guys College of Nursing and Trinity College of Music. It regularly hosts conferences, seminars and exhibitions and is the Ministry training centre for the Diocese. There are regular organ recitals and concerts. A chapel set apart for prayer is the focus for a special ministry to those who live or die under the shadow of AIDS and HIV.
The Cathedral's Millennium buildings house the Cathedral Shop which sells a wide range of gifts, souvenir items, cards and books, the Refectory, the Library and Conference Centre
The history claims that there has been a church for over 1000 years on the site where the Southwark Cathedral can be found now. The building was partially destroyed when a fire struck it twice in 1212 and 1390 respectively.
The church has always had additions and reconstructing work going on from time to time. Admission to the cathedral is free, however there is a charge for the visitor centre and the exhibition area.
The exhibition incoperates state of the art technology to give the visitor a long view of Southwark, past and present.