Wanting to get more involved, Winnie trained as a Cathedral guide instructed by a verger.  She now takes tours in both English and French.

‘I fell in love with the place. It’s my spiritual home’

Winnie – volunteer guide

Winnie, born in New Zealand to Jewish parents, moved to Oxford after living and working in Paris. Despite a previous complete lack of interest in churches, she started going to Evensong here and converted to Christianity, and was baptised and confirmed in the Cathedral in 2005. ‘I fell in love with the place. It’s my spiritual home.’ 

Wanting to get more involved, she trained as a Cathedral guide under Verger Jim Godfrey, and, contrary to expectation, loved it. She does tours in both English and French. ‘You never run out of new things to learn here, I almost never come without noticing something I haven’t noticed before, or learning something I didn’t know before. I always say that if you knew Christ Church inside out you’d know the history of England. When I take tours I feel I can keep almost anyone’s attention because there’s so much of interest in the Cathedral.’ 

Winnie’s aim is to make sure visitors leave smiling, and she gets a lot of fulfilment from her interaction with them: ’I would never have thought that one day I’d be leading tours in a cathedral or that at this time in my life I’d come across a new field where there’s so much to learn.’

Detail of the Cathedral ceiling

Becoming a Cathedral guide at Christ Church

Supervision: Volunteer and Visitor Coordinator (VVC), Head Guide

Time commitment: individual sign-up; on a rota basis

Purpose and function: To greet all visitors so that they feel welcomed and ready to explore. To inform and assist.

Role profile:

  • Enthusiastic about the Cathedral and its mission
  • Excellent communication and customer service skills
  • A positive, friendly, helpful and flexible attitude
  • A willingness to learn in order to attain an excellent grasp of the history, architecture, life, and purpose of the Cathedral
  • Able to operate as part of a team and to follow instructions
  • Able to use initiative and judgement


  • Offering a warm and friendly welcome at the entrance to the Cathedral
  • Being visible and available for questions or assistance
  • Engaging in conversation with visitors if it feels appropriate
  • Assisting visitors with the multimedia guides if required
  • Informing interested visitors about tours, talks, events, and services
  • Offering the ‘prayers on the hour’ in the absence of a chaplain
  • Collaborating with fellow volunteers and members of staff
  • Supervising the property to help make sure everyone is safe and the site secure
  • Leading organised guided tours (Cathedral tour guides)

General volunteer requirements:

  • Read and follow the Christ Church Cathedral Volunteer Safeguarding Guide
  • Complete Church of England Safeguarding Training – Basic Awareness, and Foundation modules
  • Read and sign the Volunteer Agreement
  • Complete induction training which will include Health & Safety, Fire, Security, as appropriate for the role
  • Depending on additional advice received from the UK government or Church of England, you may be required to attend additional training sessions
  • Attend Volunteer Days and training sessions as appropriate for the role

Volunteer benefits

  • Become part of a friendly, supportive and welcoming community of volunteers
  • Invitations to monthly coffee mornings with quizzes and talks; annual Garden Party and Epiphany Party (including a guest); visits to places of interest
  • Priority booking to services such as Nine Lessons & Carols
  • Free entry to the Christ Church site at any time (when open) with family or friends
  • 10% discount in the Christ Church shop.

Other volunteer roles

Find out more about all the volunteer roles available at the Cathedral.