November has now arrived, and everything is suddenly moving on: the season has turned and its colder and the leaves have turned golden brown and many are now falling; as a nation and as the Church we are in the Kingdom season of Remembrance, All Saints day, All Souls Day, Armistice Day, Remembrance Sunday, and finally at the end of the month the Feast of Christ the King, as the churches year comes to a triumphant end acknowledging that Jesus Christ rules over all things in heaven and on earth.

Just as the church and the seasons have moved on, so it has been announced that Jonathan Bish, Curate at The Minster and serving at St Mark’s Siddal has been appointed Associate Priest at Outwood, on the edge of Wakefield. Jonathan will finish his Curacy on Christmas Day. We shall celebrate Jonathan’s ministry amongst us on the 18th December after the morning service, and hopefully before members of both Churches leave to be with family over Christmas. Jonathan has juggled both communities, whilst commuting daily from Todmorden, and managed to keep a foot in both camps. In the Minster Jonathan has worked as part of a team of clergy and laity; at Siddal he has taken more of a leadership role alongside Trish the Reader, and the Church Wardens. We wish Jonathan and Jo everything blessing as they prepare to leave our community, move home, and begin new jobs and ministries in the New Year.

As we approach the end of the year, we look back to all that has happened in the Minster and what has been achieved. We also begin to plan for next year, and how in God’s strength we look to move forward. There are numerous hopes for next year, which will provide opportunities for people to come together in the service of God and the community. Next year when the Piece Hall reopens, we will need to re develop our hospitality, ensuring we have enough Welcomers to keep the Minster open, improving the visitor experience in the way we share both the heritage and something of our Christian faith and Benedictine inheritance; looking to take new opportunities in partnership with the Piece Hall Trust. All of this and so much more will be driven by the new Minster Development Plan, which is now well underway.

The first Sunday of November is Initiation Sunday when Colin Buchannan, the retired bishop of Woolwich, now living in the Diocese, comes to baptise, admit children to Holy communion, confirm, and witness those re affirming their faith. This is one of the most significant days in the year for the Minster, when we celebrate the Christian faith in the lives of men, women and children. Please pray for all the candidates, and please come to support them!

Sunday 20th November is the Sunday next before Advent and the Collect for the day begins Stir up O Lord…….a reminder to get those Christmas puddings and cakes underway! It will be Christmas before we know it – get all your cards and gifts from the Minster shop including Advent chocolate calendars!!