From the Vicar

As May beckons the Minster has certainly gone up several gears in terms of activity. Record numbers of visitors are pouring through the building since Easter, and we urgently need more people to offer to train as Welcomers, especially for Weekends. Training is about to be delivered by Lloyds Bank, and their Customer First trainer, who will help us ensure that what we offer is more systematic across the whole week, and that we can all learn something new about making people feel welcome and looked after, and that a visit to Halifax Minster will be high quality and long lasting.

The Minster hosts many Services for different organisations: this month sees The Archdeacon’s Visitation, when Church Warden’s from the local area are sworn into Office; Ascension Day on Thursday 10th at 7.30pm, when the Lord Bishop of Leeds will preside and preach at the Sung Eucharist attended by the parishes of Ripponden, Rishworth, West Scammonden, Barkisland, Greetland and West Vale, Siddal, St Augustine’s and Christchurch Mount Pellon; Sunday 13th May The Loyal Georgian Society will attend Evensong, as will Rotary Clubs across Calderdale on Sunday 20th; Thursday 24th we shall be hosting a Banger Rally for Rotary International, with cars coming from John O Groats and Land’s End, to support the campaign End Polio Now.

The newly elected Church Council will meet for the first time in May, and as well as appointing the Officers of the Council for the coming year, they will be discussing some proposals from the Minster Development Board concerning improvements to the West End of the Minster. These will include the proposed Treasury being sited in the tower rather than the Holdsworth Chapel, a reconfiguration of the kitchen area to include some toilet provision and new kitchen arrangements. Once the Church Council agrees the scheme in principle, then a full and public consultation process can begin, as we look to work up another Heritage Lottery Application to help pay for the work, and includes fabric repairs from the latest Quinquennial Inspection Report.

Plans for a new Nave altar, Lectern, and Choir Stalls, are quietly making progress in the back ground. It remains our hope to have a new altar in memory of Lindy Tatham, and a new lectern in memory of Nellie Thompson. We are being given some choir stalls from Ely Cathedral designed by George Pace, which will require modification before they can be installed, and further modification to the doors of the Rokeby Chapel, for that is where they will live when not in use.

Finally, last week saw 12 newly trained up Visitor Guides prepare for the summer, with Guided Tours of the Minster becoming a regular feature of Minster life, and in partnership with the Visitors Centre in the new Library, a new means of providing hospitality to the hundreds who are now coming to visit the town.

Look out for publicity about The Minster Summer Festival – due out first weekend in May for the Tour de Yorkshire Weekend: it should be the best festival we’ve had yet!

With every good wish,