Widening Cathedral usage
It being Sunday, I thought I’d write something church-y. Sorry to any non-Christians reading this who are immediately turned off.
We’ve been discussing what Visions, an alt-worship church I attend when in York, should do when it is no longer forced to meet in the Minster due to building work at our usual venue. Normally we’d be meeting in St Cuthbert’s Church, an ancient parish church in central York much better suited to our needs, and that’s where we’ll return fairly soon. However, there’s some ideas floating around for continuing and deepening our connection to the Minster. It looks like we’re heading towards a new venture, either monthly or bimonthly, where we’ll work with the Minster clergy to create a new project altogether.
The venture, should it happen, will have a different name to Visions, and will float between the alt-worship of Visions and the traditional, anglo-catholic worship that the Minster holds dear. Ideally the result will be something different from Visions, but radically new to the Minster, while intrinsically a Minster event.
Hopefully this will bring balance to the Minster’s usual worship output. Unfortunately, this will only solve one aspect of it, as the Minster still has little to offer in the way of low-church worship for those who want it. Why is this important? Because the Minster is meant to be the Mother Church of the whole of York Diocese*, not just the high-church bits of the diocese.
One problem that someone raised during a debate concerned a service which was conducted in the Minster nearly 2 years ago. Many of those attending thought they were showing up for a usual Minster service on Good Friday, however it had been handed over to the local evangelistic coalition “One Voice”, and so the culture shock was tremendous with quite a few people leaving part way through. This was saddening to say the least. Change needs to be gradual and integrated, not sudden and involving only outsiders imposing their way of being church. Hopefully we can overcome this with a new name and by bringing together both Minster and Visions people to think creatively.
The exciting thing about Cathedrals, if used properly, is that they’re the places where we can go and meet other Anglicans from around the local area. They’re a focal point for events which bring in a wide range of Christians: catholic/evangelical, modern/traditional, non-/charismatic. It would be good to see more of the range of worship in our Diocese reflected in the program of worship at the Minster, so that everyone begins to feel it’s ‘their’s’, not just those who see it as a last stand against Evangelical and Modern forms of worship. Then it can truly be a place for all Anglicans in York Diocese, and hopefully all Christians in North Yorkshire, to unite in worshipping God.
Anyhow, hope those thoughts made some sense, and that they didn’t sound too dismissive of traditional forms of worship; I want balance, not a wholesale overturning of the current set-up. If your in habit of prayer, please remember Visions as we take these decisions.
* Diocese are those areas controlled by Bishops, and are roughly equivalent to Counties in England. York Diocese is roughly the area of North Yorkshire plus Middlesbrough and Hull. Most diocese have several Bishops, but only one is Diocesan Bishop, the rest being assistants of various kinds. In York, we’re unfortunate to have only half a diocesan Bishop, the other half of Archbishop Sentamu being his role as Head of the Province of York, i.e. the northern ‘half’ of England. Yes, its really that complicated!