From the Vicar

January sees the New Year in. Where has 2017 gone – the answer seems to be very fast! So rather than looking back, how about looking forward, and making plans so that visions and dreams can come true?

In the Minster, there are a number of tasks waiting to be dealt with. Firstly, the Minster Development Team, will continue to work with the Architect and build up a new business plan to take the Minster forward. There remains a number of things on our shopping list that are outstanding: the new proposed Treasury and Exhibition space; to re light the Minster and reveal the heritage; improve access to the West end including the introduction of some toilets and improved kitchen area; repair and protect the windows; and the overhaul of both the organs.

Secondly, with the increase in visitor numbers we urgently need to review our tourism strategy, which includes a fresh look at how we interpret the building, The Welcomers, and the shop, all which contribute towards the Benedictine hospitality we want to offer more effectively.

Thirdly, I want to have a campaign that encourages people across the town and beyond to become Minster People, and help us both become ambassadors for the Minster, but also ambassadors for Christ, and help us to grow the congregation and make it stronger. We have some lovely new badges in the Minster shop, which look nice to wear, and can be a great evangelistic tool: I go to the Minster because I am a Christian; I enjoy the liturgy, the music, and find the preaching challenging for the week; I can volunteer to support the Minster in my spare time; why don’t you come with me and try it?

There is plenty of evidence that tells us people love to be invited to come to the Minster, but as Vicar I can’t invite all your friends because I don’t know who they are! So that means you need to think of friends, neighbours, and family, who you could invite to come with you. Imagine if we all brought someone with us – the congregation would double overnight. Making the Minster secure for the future isn’t just about money and bricks and mortar, its about ensuring that we hand the Christian faith onto others, and that the church truly reflects society in an intergenerational way – for God calls everyone to come and follow him.

As we enter the season of Epiphany, it’s a good time to reflect on how God makes himself present to us in the people we meet, through his Word, and in the Sacraments. Epiphany is about knowing Christ, and making Christ known! The New Year is a good time to invite people, as they try to live out their lives under new resolutions and to help make the coming year one that brings happiness and joy. We’ve seen significant growth over the last 12 months with new children joining the choir. We still urgently need help with running Sunday School, supporting and nurturing these children not only to sing, but in their Christian faith. Please let me know if you can help – the more we have, the more we can share it out!

Here’s wishing you all a very good New Year and God’s blessing on all that it to come in 2018!