The New Year beckons, out with the old, and in with the new. It will feel different for all of us. Last year will have been joyful for some, sad for others, and a mixture of ups and downs for many. Have you made a New Year resolution, or have you given up the tradition? All of this can be said as much for the Minster community as for individuals. What should we be doing as a community as we begin the New Year together?
The most important thing as individuals and as a community is to grow in holiness, and to grow our community and the kingdom of God in the Minster. We can only grow if we want to, and the only way to do so is to spend time with God and talking and learning about him. We can do this in numerous ways: by attending church more often; by reading some spiritual books to deepen our faith; by joining one of the Minster Vision Groups and joining in the experience of making community together; by making the decision to be more involved during Lent, when we try to prepare our hearts and minds for the joy of Easter. God is yearning through Jesus, to make us more and more like him, even though we regularly fail to do so!
In the first week of January the organs will be sheeted up, and on Monday 11th January the builders arrive to begin the Nave repairs and re ordering. The Minster will stay open for worship: on Sunday’s in the Chancel and we shall turn the Song School into a chapel for daily prayers and the Eucharist. The Nave will be closed to visitors and there will be no funerals or weddings. We hope to have the Nave returned to us on Friday 18 March. On Saturday 19th everyone is invited to the Minster clean up, as we prepare to re-open on Palm Sunday the 20th and for Holy Week and Easter.
2016 is an exciting time for the whole town with capital projects everywhere: in February we should know if £57.8M has been approved for some significant changes to the roads around the town, including changes to the railway station; in April the Council will move into the restored Princess Building; Northgate House and the old Library will close, and after demolition, make way for a new retail centre in the town; in the summer the Piece Hall will be reopened, followed in the autumn by the new Library; the site below the Minster known as Cripplegate is being prepared for mixed usage and I hope will include some new housing; the site of the old Pump Room on South Parade has been demolished, and we wait news on a scheme to link towards the Piece Hall; not forgetting the Cornerstone project and hopes for the Industrial museum.
Last month we said farewell to Chris Brown, as Director of Music. I shall be providing some leadership to the department in the short term, as we plan for the medium and long term future of music across the Minster and the town. Graham Gribbin steps up as Organist, reflecting a leadership role within the department.