Where did last month go – the weeks are flying by? Suddenly its November, and those endless weeks of Sundays after Trinity come to an end (hooray) and just as the seasons turn so does the Church’s calendar. All Saints, All Souls, Remembrance Sunday, and Christ the King, herald the end of the Church’s year, as we prepare for Advent and the celebration of Christmas.

At our Big monthly Staff meeting we carefully looked at the diary for November and December – its huge, and that means we need everyone to offer help, as we look forward to welcoming hundreds and thousands of people through our doors. Hospitality and welcome is one of the planks of our Benedictine foundation, and requires all of us to take our place in welcoming the stranger into the Minster as if we were welcoming Christ himself. As I write, Sheila Stoppard one of the Wardens, has fallen and will be operated on tomorrow morning with a new hip. This means we are one down before the month has begun. We are still having increased numbers visiting the Minster, particularly on a Saturday – the one day we struggle to keep open. Sheila had just volunteered to Welcome on Saturdays between 2pm – 4pm and now she can’t attend – who in the community will step forward while she recovers?

Last month Calderdale Council went out to consultation on its Social Cohesion and Integration Policy. The Faith Communities have a huge role to play in knitting the community together and helping new people arriving settle in, and helping local people understand the cultural differences between different people of ethnicity and faith. The Minster together with Calderdale Interfaith Council has a huge responsibility to hold the community together, and to find ways of enabling people and communities to live happily side by side and to share the earth’s resources equally. Sadly, census information tells us that large numbers of people in Calderdale don’t like their next door neighbours, and much of this is about immigration and the arrival of people from outside Yorkshire. International events result in spikes of Hate Crime locally and much work is being done to try and help all of us value diversity and the richness that brings to our community life. This month includes National Interfaith Week and we shall be welcoming our brothers and sisters from the other faith communities on Remembrance Sunday and for a meeting of Imams and Clergy.

During this month I shall be doing some work shadowing: firstly with Holly Lynch MP, and trying to understand some of the issues resulting from her current case work; secondly with Andy Lockey, the A and E Consultant at Calderdale Royal Hospital, and understand more of the pressures of the NHS at the acute level; thirdly and lastly I shall spend a day with West Yorkshire Fire Service, learning about the challenges they are currently facing as cuts to public sector budgets continue to bite. Finally two poignant services this month: the Oak Leaf Service on Sunday 19th at 4pm when we remember victims of Road Traffic Collisions – preacher Assistant Chief Constable Angela Williams; and the Hospice Service on Sunday 26th 2pm Light up a Life, both of which represent the Minster bringing people together and holding the town and borough before God.    

 

Hilary