Dear All

June beckons, and summer is on its way. The nights get longer until the 24th June, and then we start the journey the other way.

June the 8th is General Election day. Many people are somewhat fatigued by election madness, but there is no doubt that the outcome will shape the next five years. I’m grateful to those who have had the courage to stand for both the Halifax, and the Calder Valley constituencies. For the past nine year’s I’ve worked alongside both MPs, and they have all worked hard for people here locally. When we look at many other parts of the world, we begin to realise how important it is to cherish our democracy, and how important it is to have both a strong Government, and also a strong opposition. Whatever the outcome, I shall work alongside whoever is elected, and make sure the Minster is able to serve them and their needs as we all serve each other and the wider communities of Calderdale.

The Manchester bomb brought close to home the realities of the dangerous world we now live in. The question for me, is to try and understand why? If we have some comprehension of what drove a young 22 year old, with life ahead of him, not only to kill himself, but to also kill and injure others at the same time, then just maybe, we can begin the process of re building a society, where everyone is loved and valued, and try to make the world a kinder and better place for everyone to live in, and stand up for the great injustices of the world, where the inequalities between peoples and nations seem to grow year on year?

Towards the end of the month the Minster Summer Festival begins, with 10 days of arts and culture. We’ve tried to up our game this year, as we look forward to the opening of the Cornerstone Project, at Square Chapel, and The Piece Hall. The Industrial Museum is also having a new look, as the Cultural Quarter begins to really take shape. Please come and support the Festival, we need this to be a financial success as well as a great opportunity to provide good Benedictine hospitality to many artists and visitors. One event is the Minster Choir concert on Saturday 1st July. This concert is to help raise money for the choir tour to our twin town of Aachen. I have no idea when the Minster choir last gave a concert in the Minster, but as the choir has gained in confidence, so they are now able to provide an evening of popular music, drawing from their expanding repertoire, and music for their German tour.

Before the Summer Festival there are numerous other activities: the Minster Summer Dinner with Hannah Cockroft DL MBE; Heath Founders Day Service; The Ordination to the Priesthood of The Revd Simon Scott at Dewsbury Minster 11am on Saturday the 24th; the following day we shall keep our Patronal Festival, with the Bishop of Leeds as President and Preacher, in the presence of The Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire; a special Diocesan Service for Year 6 Leavers; and a celebration event for Ackroyden Academy.

With so much going on in the Minster I look forward to seeing hopefully more of you tha usual, before we all go off for summer holidays. Have a great June!