Happy New Year to everyone within the Minster Community! My thanks to everyone who has supported the Minster in the run up to Christmas – large numbers of Volunteering hours were clocked up by lots of people, and without your help we couldn’t have welcomed the thousands who came through our doors, whether it was the Tree Festival, the Illuminations Festival, or attending the many Christmas Services and events that took part. As we welcome the New Year in, so we are reminded that the seasons come and go in their turn, and that nothing ever stands still - at least not for long. Just before Christmas we said farewell to Canon Stephen Spencer as Chaplain to the Minster. Stephen now has a new job as a Theological Educator for the Anglican Communion, and his wife who is a Methodist Minister, has a new post in Bristol, where they will move to over the holidays. David Simon, the Lecturer, will be stepping down as Lecturer in the New Year as he supports Marjorie following her ill health, and will have Permission to Officiate allowing him to support the Minster on a Sunday until a new Lecturer is appointed or Jane the Curate is Priested. We thank Stephen and David for their ministry amongst us.

This term we have a Trainee Reader on placement at the Minster Shan Evans. She begins at Epiphany and will finish at Easter. In early January we shall print the Minster Planner for 2019 giving the whole community a heads up of what to expect in the coming year. This year we shall host a Lent Course during the principal 10.30am service on How other Faiths Pray as we look to deepen our own prayer life with God through Jesus, and seek to draw down the very best practices from the other faith communities who live around us. Other visiting preachers will help us consider the creation and ecology, transfiguration and how our own town and borough is being transformed, and how we might explore vocation of the whole people of God, empowering and equipping us all to deepen our own sense of calling and service.

In November we shall have been formally designated a Minster for 10 years. This provides us with an opportunity to reflect on how things have changed, and what we have achieved, and how much more there is still to do! This will be focused around a Benedictine Weekend at the end of November, on the Feast of Christ the King, led by the Community of the Resurrection Mirfield, as we look to re affirm our commitment to Benedictine Spirituality, to daily worship and hospitality. The Minster Development Board will continue to work in the background, providing expertise and capacity to take the Minster forward on capital projects as well as looking to invest in people. This year the Harrison organ celebrates its 90th birthday, and in the first week of January Harrison’s of Durham will come to report on the next steps that are required to take her forward for another century. The new Choir stalls are due to arrive early January, and we hope that the PCC will approve the designs for the new Nave Altar and Lectern, followed by Faculty application and public consultation. The Development Board are fully committed to the redevelopment of the West End, including new toilet provision, kitchen and treasury – we’re geared up for our third attempt! With every good wish for the New Year and the coming year, Hilary