Hull Minster is inviting people to join a weekend of celebrations marking the first anniversary of its re-designation.
The festivities and activities will mark a year since the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, bestowed Minster status on the then Holy Trinity Church.
The weekend will also celebrate the major boost to the church’s profile from becoming Hull Minster, which has helped to draw thousands more visitors through the doors of the magnificent 700-year-old building.
Hull Minster re-opened its main West Doors in mid-March after two years of redevelopment works, including the clearing of the Nave to form an open and flexible space for worship and a wide range of events.
Since then the church has seen a significant increase in visitors, due in part to Minster status and the increased profile that has come with it.
The Minster attracted more than 70,000 visitors in 2017 during Hull’s year as UK City of Culture, three times the number just two years earlier, despite the disruption caused by the physical changes to the church.
Now, the Minster’s clergy and staff believe annual numbers could reach 100,000, as it welcomes more people through the doors and hosts an ever-growing number of events.
Weekly visitor numbers have climbed to up to 4,500, with as many as 800 visitors on Saturdays alone. A Kilo Market and Craft and Flea Market each attracted 1,500 people recently, while 450 music fans attended a concert by Cockney Rebel singer Steve Harley.
The Vicar of Hull Minster, the Reverend Canon Dr Neal Barnes, said: “It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we became Hull Minster, but so much has happened since then and we want people to join us to celebrate everything that has been achieved.
“It’s so exciting to see so many people coming to the Minster, many of them re-discovering the place or visiting for the first time. We’re also seeing the continuing benefit of the City of Culture year, with people coming to Hull from across the country and aboard and making the Minster one of the key places they want to see.
“Becoming Hull Minster has been really positive for us and for the city as a whole. It has helped to reintroduce the church to the city and raised our profile, both locally and further afield. It has made the church even more of a destination.
“Now the experience for both worshippers and visitors is so much better, too. People come through the doors and are bowled over by the space and light. It has a real wow factor and gives people a spiritual lift.”
The “Minster +1” celebrations are being held on Saturday and Sunday, May 12 and 13. Activities within the Minster on Saturday from 10am will complement International Hanse Day, which is being held outside the church, in Trinity Square.
Hanse Day, which is organised by Visit Hull and East Yorkshire (VHEY), will feature entertainment by medieval craftspeople, storytellers and a jester in an event celebrating Hull’s past and present connections with the Hanseatic League of northern European trading locations.
Visitors to the Minster can enjoy live music; heritage tours focused on features such as the church’s architecture, monuments or stained glass windows; children’s activities; and faith stories. Delicious refreshments will be available from the Minster Kitchen café and the day will end with choral evensong at 4pm.
On Sunday the church’s usual three services are being combined into one joint service of celebration to give thanks for the first year as Hull Minster, with the guest preacher being the Ven Andy Broom, Archdeacon of the East Riding.
The church will be open from 10am, with the service at 10.30am, to be followed by an informal Minster Picnic for the congregation and anyone else who would like to join the gathering. Minster Kitchen will be serving refreshments from 12-5pm but people are also welcome to bring their own food for the picnic.
The Curate of Hull Minster, the Rev Eve Ridgeway, said: “We’re inviting people to come along and enjoy all that the Minster has to offer and celebrate the life of the church.
“We’ve worked in partnership with Hull City Council and VHEY to ensure there is so much to enjoy and participate in, both in the square and within the Minster, on Saturday. Then on Sunday we’re bringing the Minster community together for a very special service of celebration.
“The weekend promises to be a fantastic occasion for the whole family and we’re really looking forward to welcoming friends, supporters and the community as a whole to the Minster.”
The weekend will mark a landmark year for the church and underline its vital role in the life of the city.
The Ven Andy Broom said: “What a year it has been for Hull Minster!
“The Minster team has always had a great desire to serve the city and now, with the transformation of the building, the opportunities are growing and growing. I look forward with excitement to what the next 12 months will bring.”
The physical rejuvenation of the Minster is being delivered by the church’s development project. So far £3.5m has been raised towards the £4.5m target to deliver the project in full, with funds coming from private individuals, local companies, trusts and grants.
- Supporters of the church are being urged to continue to help to fund the exciting transformation and are reminded they can do this by dedicating the church’s new chairs or remodelled pews. For further information go to www.hullminster.org/chairs