Vicar's Letter April 2017

Next Sunday its Passion Sunday, and Holy Week beckons. Last weekend it was wall to wall sunshine and lawnmowers were heard throughout Yorkshire! All of this tells us that the seasons come and go in their turn, and at last Spring is on its way, and the Liturgical cycle is moving on, as we prepare to commemorate Christ’s death and resurrection at Easter. Last Sunday the clocks moved forward into British Summer Time, and the Minster moved into summer opening hours 10am – 4pm every day.

Last week we had a lunch for Welcomers: that loyal band of Volunteers who provide hospitality for all our visitors throughout the year. It was a chance to say thank you and to share with them some of changes we know are on the way. Firstly, there is much excitement as we anticipate the reopening of the Piece Hall in August – a soft opening to begin with, as it slowly continues to take shape and to become the Town Square of Halifax. The Piece Hall Trust share Office space with the Minster, and we have a growing affection for one another and the mission that we share. The Piece Hall, the new Library, the Square Chapel Cornerstone Project, and the re vamped Industrial museum, together with EUREKA, will make for a potentially interesting future for this end of the town, and we must seize the moment, and not let it pass us by. The Church Council is now entering formal consultation with Calderdale Council with regard to proposed changes to the road layout surrounding the Minster, as together we look to work in partnership with all the public and statutory authorities, as the town looks forward to a new and prosperous future. Another consultation on its way will be the Station Gateway, as the town prepares for an increased number of visitors, and the impact we hope it will bring.

April in the Church of England is when most Churches have their Annual Meetings. It’s a time when Officers stand down and others are elected. It’s a time to say thank you, and a time to entrust responsibility to particular members of the worshipping community, as collaboratively we work together for the mission of the whole church. This year Andrew Sutcliffe is standing down as Minster Treasurer. When he took the task on nothing was computerised and the annual deficit well over fifty thousand. This year there has been a small profit on the end of year accounts, and following a Finance Review, the Finance Team has been strengthened again. On behalf of the whole community I want to thank Andrew for everything he has given in this role and for the legacy he is now handing on to a new team. Andrew will continue as a Welcomer and has accepted my invitation to become a Director of the Halifax 900 Trust – he aint going anywhere!

Last Sunday people were waxing lyrical about the Choristers and how well they had sung. Last Sunday I had to not only direct the choir but also take Children’s Church because no one is volunteering to help? If the community wants to have children in the choir then you need to step up and help, because I can’t do everything – I’ll have a nervous breakdown and be no good to anyone! The community is full of retired teachers – if we had a healthy rota of people, it would be an enjoyable experience and not burdensome – we urgently need to get this sorted. Please talk with Alison Moss who has volunteered to co ordinate Children’s Church.

Have a wonderful Holy Week and Easter when it arrives!