Sentamu hears of role the Minster plays in Halifax

Visit: John Sentamu in the minster grounds
Visit: John Sentamu in the minster grounds

HALIFAX Minster hosted the first Urban Minsters’ Conference at the weekend with the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, the guest speaker.

Fifty delegates from across the UK attended, representing old churches that have become minsters over the last 20 years.

They included public-sector leaders and discussions centred around the role the Church of England is playing nationally in communities.

The Archbishop preached around Psalm 100 and asked those present to listen, hear and be jubilant.

He expressed encouragement to all those working in minsters for the years to come.

The Vicar of Halifax, Canon Hilary Barber, said new minsters were appearing in metropolitan boroughs without cathedrals and becoming part of the “big society” talked about by politicians.

Halifax Minster is 900 years old and is now increasingly used for various events.

Canon Barber said it was at the centre of heritage and tourism which would become an increasingly important economic driver for the district.

It was once the largest meeting place in Halifax and such historic churches were turning back the clock, he said.

“When the church was built there were no pews and it was a public meeting place,” said Canon Barber.

“We are going back to our medieval roots.

“It’s very exciting the archbishop graced the conference with his presence – it shows the level of importance given to the conference.”

Canon Barber gave a presentation of the leading role Halifax Minster is playing in encouraging more people to become involved in the life of the minster.

Other speakers included The Dean of Durham, the Very Rev Michael Sadgrove, who talked about the future of minsters across the country, and Kirsten England, chief executive of the City of York Council, who talked about civic engagement with minsters.