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The cities of York and New York Celebrate a Century of Transatlantic Friendship: 100 Years of Twinning

“City speaks to City and State to State. The name honorably borne by York for centuries our State bears with equal pride in the New World. A sister State stretches friendly hands across the sea to greet you with affection and prayers that this memorial may symbolize our sterling friendship through years to come.’’
– Governor Smith of New York State, July 1924, The New York Times

The historic cities of York, England, and New York City, USA, will celebrate a century as twin cities next week (May 5, 2024), with a message from His Majesty King Charles III marking the occasion, and dignitaries from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean coming together for an historic ceremony.

Four days of activity in New York City, celebrating the two cities’ shared values, will culminate in a special service at Saint Thomas Church, New York, on Sunday May 5 at 4pm, when a ledger stone designed and carved at York Minster in England will be unveiled.  The ledger stone has been placed in Saint Thomas Church as it shares a close relationship with York Minster through its liturgy and music.

Marking the special occasion on Fifth Avenue will be The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Stephen Cottrell, the Archbishop of York, The Revd Canon Carl Turner, and British Consul General to New York, Hannah Young, who will read a message from His Majesty King Charles III.

The long-standing relationship between New York City and York stretches back to 1924, when citizens of New York presented York with a memorial tablet during a service in England, alongside a message from the then President of the United States.

Over the last century, the two cities have gone from strength to strength, forging partnerships across education, the arts, business, and tourism. The Revd Canon Carl Turner, Rector of Saint Thomas will be joined by the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell for the service and unveiling.

The Revd Canon Carl Turner, Rector of Saint Thomas, said: “In its bicentennial year, Saint Thomas Church is delighted to celebrate the historic relationship between old York and New York, as it were, and to uplift our Anglican heritage from which we draw so much tradition and strength. We feel privileged to house this historic ledger stone in our nave and look forward to welcoming delegations from York and the British Embassy.”

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell said: “I’m delighted to be part of this moment when York and New York renew their connection. In a world where there is much division, reaching out across different cultures fosters goodwill and understanding, breaks down barriers and recognizes we are all part of one humanity.”

Hannah Young, British Consul General to New York, said: “For 100 years, York and New York have shared a special bond, and as Consul General to New York, I have seen first-hand at how our countries have learnt from one another’s rich histories, our shared values to promote tourism, and foster business connections that benefit both cities.”

The Very Revd Dominic Barrington, Dean of York, said: “We’re extremely excited that we’ve reached the next step in the program of celebration marking the centenary of this historic moment as we look to further develop connections between the two cities. It comes at a time where work on our Centre of Excellence is well underway, a project that will establish the York Minster Precinct as a world class campus facility for heritage craft skills, so we’re delighted to be able to showcase the talent of our stonemasons and the scheme on an international scale through this gift.”

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York Minster to host BBC Radio 4 recording – Christmas Service with The Archbishop of York

BBC Radio 4 will be at York Minster on Tuesday 12 December to record a special act of worship for broadcast on Christmas Day morning.

The Dean of York, the Very Revd Dominic Barrington, will welcome all to the service which will include prayers, Bible readings, and a homily from The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, as well as much-loved Carols and traditional music for Christmas Day performed by The Choir of York Minster under the direction of Robert Sharpe, the cathedral’s Director of Music.

The choir will be singing a new version of the poem, Away in a Manger, set to music by the young British composer Lucy Walker. Choristers, volunteers and members of the Minster community will also contribute to elements of the service.
Dean Dominic said: “We are delighted that York Minster will be the location for the recording of this act of worship for BBC Radio 4’s Christmas Day schedule.  The Good News of the birth of Jesus Christ will be told in words and music that will both captivate and comfort listeners on Christmas morning.”
All are welcome to attend and must be seated by 5.15pm.  As the recording will start promptly at 5.30pm there will be no late admissions to the service.  The service will finish by 6.45pm.

Christmas Service with The Archbishop of York will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 7am on Monday 25 December and will then be available on BBC Sounds.

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York Minster gets ready for Advent and Christmas

To mark the start of the Advent and Christmas season, York Minster is preparing for the raising of its spectacular Advent Wreath and the opening of the York Minster Christmas Tree Festival in the first weekend of December.

On Friday 1 December, a five metre-wide Advent Wreath will be suspended below the Minster’s Central Tower. The wreath is assembled around a vast and heavy metal ring with built-in channels to hold the water required to keep the foliage fresh. The structure also features five one-metre-high candle holders, representing the Sundays of Advent.

It takes the Minster’s expert team of volunteer flower arrangers almost three hours to create the beautiful abundant display, overflowing with fresh holly and ivy. The raising of the Advent Wreath is the pinnacle of the calendar year for the flower arrangers who work all year round to provide the cathedral with beautiful floral displays.

Saturday 2 December marks the opening of the much-loved York Minster Christmas Tree Festival where 60 trees will adorn the Nave, Chapter House and Lady Chapel. The trees will be decorated to individual themes by local businesses, schools and charities, with trees provided by award-winning local company York Christmas Trees.

Throughout the festival, visitors will be able to vote for their favourite tree with the winning charity and school receiving a £200 prize and the winning business £200 to donate to a charity of their choice.
York Minster’s Christmas Tree Festival will run from Saturday 2 December 2023 to Friday 5 January 2024 during general admission times (please check opening times on the website before visiting). Entry is included with general admission (general admission is free for York residents with proof of address).

The Very Revd Dominic Barrington, Dean of York said:

“As we move towards the great seasons of Advent and Christmas, we are conscious not only of the nights drawing in, but of the considerable darkness afflicting much of the world, including the region that Christians often call the Holy Land.
The season of Advent helps us prepare for the coming into the world of a light which is inextinguishable, and on each Sunday of that season, another candle will be lit on our great Advent Wreath to symbolise that light which the world has not, and cannot overcome. I hope you will visit the Minster during this wonderful, powerful season and let that light transform your life this Christmas.”

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Vigil for peace in Israel and Gaza – Saturday 11 November, 6.30pm

Religious, political and civic leaders from across York will come together to hold a vigil in York Minster on Saturday 11 November to call for peace and an end to the conflict in Israel and Gaza.

The vigil will begin with a welcome and address from the Very Reverend Dominic Barrington, Dean of York, before reflections are shared by Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, as well as civic and religious leaders from across the city.

There will be a period of silence before members of the public are invited to write their thoughts and prayers onto pieces of white paper which will be placed on the cathedral’s raised altar platform to form a large white peace dove. Members of the public will also have the chance to light candles on the votive candle stands surrounding the dais, as we continue to hold in our hearts the suffering of all those affected by the conflict.

Commenting on the vigil, the Very Reverend Dominic Barrington, Dean of York, said: “I am glad that we can host this peace vigil at York Minster. The Cathedral provides a space where people can witness, by their presence and by their involvement in the event, our common desire for peace. I look forward to welcoming and standing alongside elected civic leaders and faith representatives, including members of our Mosque and Synagogue.”

Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, said: “It is easy to feel powerless when we watch such horrendous scenes from Gaza and Israel. We want people in power to feel the heartache and pain; we want people in power to stop the violence and demand the peace.

“On Saturday evening, every child and adult in York is invited to bring their pleas, petitions and prayers to form a dove of peace. In coming to York Minster, they will be taking part in something so powerful, as I gather up all these words and present them to national and world leaders. Please come.”

 The vigil for peace will take place in the cathedral’s nave on Saturday 11 November starting at 6.30pm and will last around an hour.

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Season of Remembrance at York Minster

This year’s Season of Remembrance at York Minster will help us to engage with the extraordinary power of love, the grief and pain of bereavement and the opportunity to honour and to pay our respects to those who have died in conflicts whether recent or historic.

The Very Revd Dominic Barrington, Dean of York, said: “The pain of separation and loss, and the horrors of warfare, are no strangers to people across the globe, including in the city and Diocese of York. The grief we experience at the death of friends or loved ones is very real, and can last a very long time. It is the call of the Church to help set this against the message of Christian hope contained in the Gospel.

“We are privileged to offer services of remembrance, as well as the opportunity simply to come to the cathedral to pray, light a candle or just sit quietly as we give thanks for those whom we have loved and lost.”

York Minster’s events and services for the Season of Remembrance are as follows:

 Solemn Eucharist for the Feast of All Saints’ Day

Wednesday 1 November – 5.30pm

We celebrate all the Saints in light and join in with the worship of heaven in this jubilant service with music from the Vicars Choral and Choral Scholars of the Choir of York Minster.


All Souls’ Day

Thursday 2 November

The Minster will be closed for sightseeing but open with free entry to welcome those who have been recently bereaved or people who simply want to remember loved ones who died many years ago.


Requiem Eucharist for All Souls’ Day – 5.30pm

The annual Requiem Eucharist for All Souls’ Day, at which we remember loved ones who have died.


Armistice Day

Saturday 11 November – National Two Minutes’ Silence

At just before 11am, York Minster will come to a standstill as prayers are said for all those who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of their country in the First and Second World Wars and in subsequent conflicts.  Great Peter will toll eleven times at 11am followed by the National Two Minutes’ Silence.


 Service of Thanksgiving and Commemoration for Remembrance

Sunday 12 November – 10.30am

An annual service of Thanksgiving and Commemoration for Remembrance Sunday which will include music by the Choir of York Minster, hymns, readings, prayers and an Act of Remembrance at 11am in unison with the commemorations across the city, when Great Peter will toll eleven times followed by the Two Minutes’ Silence.


Requiem Eucharist for Remembrance Sunday – 4pm  

To conclude the commemorations on Remembrance Sunday, the Choir of York Minster sing a moving and contemplative service of Holy Communion, with music by Fauré.

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York Minster unveils new exhibition showcasing rare treasures from local parishes of Yorkshire

Silver, gold and diamonds from across Yorkshire will be showcased in a new exhibition at York Minster. Treasures: Yorkshire’s People and Parishes will feature precious and rare objects, which have survived the turbulent, religious, political and social history of England’s largest county. The exhibition opens on Saturday 21 October.

The exhibition offers a fascinating glimpse into Yorkshire life, the history of York Minster and how historic collections are formed. Objects from the cathedral’s historic collection of more than 300,000 pieces and fascinating items across the North come together to form one celebratory narrative. From ornate gilded altar panels to a rare seventeenth century cup crafted by a female silversmith and belonging to Selby Abbey, the exhibition travels across counties and through parishes, charting changing cultures and traditions in churches.

Visitors can see a glorious silver gilt chalice, set with a magnificent 32 carat diamond which was presented to York Minster by Lily Forepaugh, a celebrated circus equestrienne. The dramatic damage to the pages of a fourteenth century cartulary, alleged to have been caused by the impact of a cannon ball, is a must-see.

Selected by York Minster’s Collections Team, other treasures include a beautiful Communion cup and cover from York city centre church, St-Michael-Le-Belfrey, the Mercier chalice, set with an amethyst ring: a powerful symbol of friendship and reunion, and a book gifted by King James I. A pair of seventeenth century enameled brass candlesticks, the only other pair of its kind resides in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, are beautifully decorated with flowers and scrolling foliage on a background of black and white champleve enamel.

The objects are proudly local, but tell national and global stories, offering insight into the role of art and generous gift-giving in local communities. The exhibition describes the crucial role of women in shaping, using, and creating our collections as owners, publishers, patrons, and makers. A selection of books belonging to Yorkshire woman Margaret Hoby, considered to be the first English diarist, will be on rotation demonstrating this vital legacy.

Kirsty Mitchell, Curator at York Minster, explains:

“The parish collections in York Minster’s care are important, beautiful and can be quite quirky! They hold so many fascinating stories, we’re thrilled to be able to celebrate Yorkshire and the Northern Province in this exhibition.”

Opening on Saturday 21 October and running until February 2025, Treasures: Yorkshire’s People and Parishes will be on display in the cathedral’s historic Treasury.

The exhibition will open during normal visiting times and entry is included with a standard admission ticket. Entry to York Minster is free for York residents and students with valid proof of address.

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York Minster announces chorister auditions for 2024

York Minster is offering York school pupils in Year 3 a chance to audition for its world-famous choir. Children are not expected to have formal singing experience, but a love of singing is very much essential to the role. If their audition is successful, children will receive a place at St Peter’s School, the choir school for York Minster since September 2020.

Choral music is one of the glories of York Minster: the choir, widely regarded as one of the finest cathedral choirs in the country, can trace its heritage back to 627AD and, more recently, has performed for King Charles III as well as featuring on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM. Alongside high profile performances, choristers also have the chance to tour internationally, make new friends and sing alongside renowned musicians in the stunning setting of York Minster.

As well as a world-class musical education under the tutelage of York Minster’s Director of Music, Robert Sharpe, choristers receive an outstanding education at St Peter’s School, one of the oldest schools in the world and winner of the Times Education Supplement’s Independent School of the Year 2021. The Chapter of York, York Minster’s governing body, provides a substantial scholarship for each chorister towards school fees, with additional means-tested bursaries potentially increasing the level of funding to 100%.

Robert Sharpe explained that the chorister recruitment process aims to identify children with musicality and potential, rather than recruiting fully formed singers. He said:

“There will be many parents in and around York with a son or daughter who just loves singing and who may be searching for ways to nurture their child’s ability. Becoming a chorister at York Minster is an excellent way to harness a child’s musical talent. Energy, enthusiasm and good humour are just as important as musical talent.

“In addition to developing their musical skills, chorister training helps children to develop lifelong skills such as self-discipline, team-work, organisational skills, concentration, poise and attention to detail.  Choristers are educated at St Peter’s School which shares a common foundation of 627AD with the Minster making it the fourth oldest school in the world.

“This is a unique opportunity for a child to have a superb education and to play a part in the life of one of the most important and beautiful cathedrals in the world.”

Commenting on the auditions, Jeremy Walker, Head Master of St Peter’s School York said:

“The wonderful experience of being a chorister at York Minster, combined with an outstanding education at St Peter’s, offers excellent and often life-changing opportunities for girls and boys with musical talents and interests.  I have first-hand appreciation of the incredible experience this provides, as a former chorister parent myself and Head Master of two cathedral choir schools, and encourage you and your families to find out more and consider an application.”

About the 2024 Chorister Auditions

York Minster’s 2024 Chorister Auditions will be held in the week commencing January 2024 at St Peter’s School, Clifton, York YO30 6AB. The deadline for applications is 31 December 2023. For  more details, contact Sara Bath, Admissions Officer,  on 01904 527391 or email s.bath@stpetersyork.org.uk

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Spectacular services, The Nutcracker, Christmas Trees and Jethro Tull: Advent and Christmas at York Minster

Celebrate Advent and Christmas at York Minster with traditional festive services, much-loved seasonal music and concerts, a festival of Christmas trees, a new production of The Nutcracker for families and a concert by Ian Anderson’s legendary Jethro Tull.

The season begins on Advent Sunday (3 December), with the spectacular Advent Procession service. Starting in complete darkness, the cathedral is gradually illuminated by candlelight as the Choir of York Minster moves through the building to readings from the Old Testament, setting the scene for the Christmas story.  Daily worship and Evensong services throughout Advent and Christmas will include prayers, music and readings for the season.

Christmas week worship includes the Crib Service (23 December), Nine Lessons and Carols (23 and 24 December) and Midnight Mass (24 December).  The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, will preside at the Eucharist of Christmas Day at 11am (25 December).

The ever-popular annual Christmas Carol Concerts will take place on 7 and 8 December, with readings by actor David Bradley (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones), and music by the Choir of York Minster and the Yorkshire Volunteer Band.

On Saturday 9 December, York Minster will present a magical new performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. Children (and adults alike) will love the narration by local children’s actor Gemma Sharp (Artistic Director of local theatre company Hoglets), and the artistry of Benjamin Morris, York Minster’s Assistant Director of Music, who will bring Tchaikovsky’s music to life on the cathedral’s spectacular Grand Organ.

York Minster will host a unique musical experience on Saturday 18 December, when folk rock legend Ian Anderson presents Christmas with Jethro Tull in the Minster’s stunning Nave. He performs in cathedrals across the country each year, donating the ticket sales to the care and conservation of the cathedral buildings.

From 2 December (until 5 January 2024), York Minster’s Christmas Tree festival returns with 60 trees, individually decorated by local businesses, schools and charities on display in the Chapter House, the Nave and the Lady Chapel.

York Minster’s Advent and Christmas programme is set out below. For booking information visit www.yorkminster.org or call our Bookings Office on 01904 557200.


York Minster’s Advent and Christmas Programme 2023


Evensong – Sunday 26 November, 4pm

Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cantata 140, Sleepers, wake

On the Sunday before Advent, the Choir of York Minster gives its traditional annual Evensong performance of Bach’s popular Cantata 140, ‘Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme’ (Sleepers, wake), with orchestral accompaniment.


York Minster Christmas Tree Festival – Saturday 2 December – Friday 5 January during general admission times

York Minster Christmas Tree Festival returns for the third year with 60 trees on display in the cathedral’s stunning Nave, Chapter House and Lady Chapel.


Advent Procession – Sunday 3 December, 5.30pm. Free, pre-booked tickets required.

On Advent Sunday, York Minster gradually emerges from darkness into full candlelight in the stunning and atmospheric Advent Procession.  The Choir of York Minster will process through the cathedral to music, readings and prayers.


Christmas Carol Concerts – Thursday 7 and Friday 8 December, 7pm

The Choir of York Minster will perform much-loved Christmas music, with seasonal readings from special guest David Bradley and music by the Yorkshire Volunteer Band.


The Nutcracker at York Minster – Saturday 9 December

First performance 2pm – 3pm

Second performance 7pm – 8pm

A magical new performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker from York Minster for children and adults alike.  Narration by local children’s actor Gemma Sharp (Artistic Director of local theatre company Hoglets), and music by Benjamin Morris, York Minster’s Assistant Director of Music, who will bring Tchaikovsky’s music to life on the cathedral’s spectacular Grand Organ.


Sankta Lucia: Festival of Light – Monday 11 December, 7.30pm

An atmospheric, candlelit procession and carol service based on the traditional Swedish Lucia celebration. The service is run in partnership with the York Anglo-Scandinavian Society.


Chapter House Choir ‘Carols by Candlelight’ – Saturday 16 December, 7.30pm

The choir continues to build on its reputation as one of the North of England’s finest chamber choirs, under the leadership of Musical Director Benjamin Morris. The Chapter House Choir will be joined by the Chapter House Youth Choir.



Ian Anderson presents ‘Christmas with Jethro Tull’ – Monday 18 December, 7.30pm.

Experience folk-rock legend Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull in the awe-inspiring setting of York Minster this Christmas. Hear some of the best-known repertoire of Jethro Tull alongside traditional seasonal church and classical music for a moment of pre-Christmas madness, goodness and togetherness.


Crib Service – Saturday 23 December, 11.30am. Free, pre-booked tickets required.

The Christmas story in a fun and accessible service for families with carols and musical accompaniment. Children are encouraged to dress up as characters from the Nativity and there will be a chance to see the crib.


Nine Lessons and Carols

Saturday 23 December and Sunday 24 December, 4pm. Free, pre-booked tickets required.   

Two services consisting of nine special readings, carols sung by the Choir of York Minster and hymns for everyone to join in. A traditional Christmas celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.


Midnight Mass – Sunday 24 December, 11.30pm

Experience the First Eucharist of Christmas with Communion, Blessing of the Crib and choral music sung by the St William’s Singers.


Christmas Day services – Monday 25 December

York Minster celebrates the arrival of Jesus Christ, light of the world.


8am: Holy Communion from the Book of Common Prayer

10am: Choral Matins sung by the Choir of York Minster

11am: Sung Eucharist sung by the Choir of York Minster, with sermon by the Archbishop of York.

4pm: Choral Evensong sung by the Choir of York Minster.


New Year’s Eve bells – Sunday 31 December

York Minster’s Bellringers will ring in the new year as the clock strikes midnight.


The Eucharist for the Feast of the Epiphany – Saturday 6 January 2024, 5.30pm

A special service to mark the Feast of the Epiphany with music by St Peter’s Cathedral Choir, Adelaide, Australia.



York Minster will be open for sightseeing throughout November and December but may need to close from time to time for services and events – please check the website for opening times and to book admission tickets.

The Minster Shops inside the cathedral and at 9 Minster Gates will also be open daily from 9.30am – 5pm offering a range of bespoke gifts inspired by the cathedral alongside seasonal items including nativity sets and advent calendars and candles.

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Archbishop of York to Welcome Ten New Canons as Members of York Minster’s College of Canons

Ten new Honorary Canons will be collated, admitted and installed as members of the College of Canons of York Minster, during a service of Choral Evensong on Saturday 16 September 2023 at 5.30pm.  All are welcome.

The new Honorary Canons, whose appointments reflect their dedicated experience to the life of the diocese and the wider church, will first be collated by the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell and will then be admitted and installed by the Dean of York, Dominic Barrington.  The Installations will take place in the cathedral’s Nave.

Dominic said: “The College of Canons act as ambassadors for the cathedral’s mission, ministry and work.  They will bring lively faith, rich and diverse expertise and life experiences, great wisdom and advice.  They will also play a vital role as “critical friends” encouraging and supportive but also questioning and challenging in equal measure.  We look forward to welcoming them into the life of the cathedral.”

These honorary appointments are in addition to any posts the Canons Elect currently hold. The Honorary Canons are listed below:

The legal formalities of swearing the prescribed Declarations and Oaths will be administered before each service by the Deputy Registrar for the Diocese of York before the Archbishop in the Consistory Court or the Zouche Chapel.

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Installation of The Revd Canon Timothy Goode at York Minster

The Revd Canon Timothy Goode, will be Installed as York Minster’s new Canon for Congregational Discipleship and Nurture during Choral Evensong in the inspiring surroundings of the cathedral’s Quire on Saturday 9 September at 4pm. All are welcome.

This new post will see Tim focusing on growing and supporting the life and witness of the current congregations in the Minster, developing new congregations, and creating opportunities to encounter the Christian faith and to nurture those seeking to understand and explore their faith journey.
The Installation part of the service consists of three separate ceremonies. Tim will first be collated, a formal licensing ceremony conducted by the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell. He will then be admitted and installed into his assigned stall in the Quire by the Dean of York, Dominic Barrington.
Tim will become one of the four Executive Trustee members of the Chapter of York, the Church of England governing body responsible for York Minster, and will be part of the cathedral’s clergy team led by the Dean of York.

Biographical details – Revd Canon Timothy Goode

Tim was brought up in Worcestershire. His father was a Vicar and Tim was a chorister at St Michael’s Tenbury before gaining a music scholarship to Ellesmere College. Tim studied Music Composition and Performance at Huddersfield Polytechnic and trained as a secondary school teacher at the Roehampton Institute. He was a music teacher at St Philomena’s School in Carshalton from 1991-1995, before being appointed Director of Music of Homefield School in Sutton from 1995-2007. He trained for ministry at Ripon College Cuddesdon and served his title at Croydon Minster, in the Diocese of Southwark and was ordained priest in 2010.

From September 2012 to May 2018, Tim was Team Vicar of St Luke’s Whyteleafe and St Peter and St Paul, Chaldon, part of the Caterham Team Ministry. From 2013 to 2021 he was also the Southwark Diocesan Disability Advisor. He was appointed Rector of St Margaret’s Lee in the Southwark Diocese in May 2018.

Tim is a member of the National Disability Task Group, which advises the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on disability issues. A member of the General Synod between 2015 – 2023, Tim led the first debate on disability at the General Synod in July 2022. He was a member of the Archbishops’ Council between 2020 – 2023. Tim was made an Honorary Canon of Southwark Cathedral in September 2020 and has been a trustee of the Churches Conservation Trust since November 2020.

Tim has been married to Bernie since 1995. Bernie, who is a practising Roman Catholic, is a Chemistry Teacher. Until July 2023, Bernie was Head of the Science Faculty at Sutton High School and has recently joined the Science Department at St Peter’s School in York teaching Chemistry. They do not have children but they do have a 3 year-old lurcher called Finzi!

Tim is disabled and writes and lectures on the Theology of Disability. His particular academic interest is exploring how a Christian anthropology, founded upon the resurrected body of Jesus Christ, challenges our cultural perceptions of perfection.

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York Minster breaks ground on its Centre of Excellence

An official ceremony to mark the start of construction work on York Minster’s new Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management was held at the Minster recently.

The ceremony, which took place in the grounds of what will become The Heritage Quad, was attended by the Dean of York, the Very Revd Dominic Barrington, and Andy Gatenby, Managing Director of Simpson, the specialist heritage contractor delivering the works.

The first-of-its-kind project will see the creation of a world-class campus facility for research, education and training in the traditional craft skills required to preserve and maintain the Minster for future generations. It will also establish the Minster as an international example of best practice in managing complex heritage estates.

The Centre of Excellence includes the development of two sites, The Heritage Quad and The Works and Technology Hub. They will provide new facilities for craftspeople, including York Minsters stonemasons, and house and deliver training in modern techniques and processes to apprentices and students from across the world, working with cutting edge digital technology.

Existing buildings within the Precinct will also be sustainably reordered, repurposed, and renewed to provide new workspace and associated facilities, enable greater engagement and interaction with the public around key crafts and trades, and allow improved links with education.

The Centre of Excellence is expected to be completed in summer 2024. It’s a key component of the York Minster Precinct Neighbourhood Plan which sets out a policy-led approach to creating a sustainable future for the Minster and its seven hectare estate.

The Very Revd Dominic Barrington, Dean of York, said: “Start on site at the Centre of Excellence is a significant milestone in our journey to establish the Precinct as a leading destination for preserving and maintaining heritage craft skills. It also marks an important moment of our Neighbourhood Plan, which is the biggest programme of planned works at York Minster and its Precinct in 150 years. We’re incredibly excited to start watching the new sites and facilities become a reality over the next year.”

Andy Gatenby, Managing Director of Simpson, added: “As a proud-York based Construction company, delivering a project such as York Minster’s Centre of Excellence is a huge honour, as we’re not only helping to create exceptional new buildings and workspaces in the area, but it’ll also bring additional benefits, including preserving and developing ancient craft skills. We’re proud to be playing a role in maintaining York Minster and its Precinct for future generations.”

The funding for the Centre is being co-ordinated by the York Minster Fund, which recently announced a campaign to raise an additional £4m to support the completion of the project.

Neil Sanderson, Director of the York Minster Fund, commented: “The sustainable benefits the Centre of Excellence will deliver long term are far reaching, not only financially, but for maintaining heritage skills at York Minster, the heritage community, and the wider city, so we’re incredibly excited to mark its start on site.

“Like many construction projects, we’ve encountered numerous challenges since we began our journey in 2018 through rising costs and supply chain issues, so we still have a long way to go. We’re therefore seeking further funding and donations to ensure this important project can be delivered on schedule, and we are grateful of the support we’ve had so far.”

The York Minster Neighbourhood Plan is an ambitious masterplan to secure a sustainable future for York Minster. Formally adopted by City of York Council last year, its delivery will signal the largest planned programme of works at the Minster and its surrounding Precinct since the Victorian era. It recently won a major award from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) for Planning Excellence.

For more information on the Centre of Excellence or to donate please click here.

Pledges can also be made by emailing the York Minster Fund at ymf@yorkminster.org.

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York Minster Annual Report and Accounts 2022

The Chapter of York, the governing body for York Minster, today published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2022.  The documents show continuing recovery in the cathedral’s post pandemic financial performance and a more optimistic outlook overall despite ongoing national and global economic turbulence.

The Accounts to the year ended 31 December 2022, record a net operating deficit (before investment valuation movements) of £329,000 compared to £805,000 in 2021 and £2.3 million in 2020, the first year of the pandemic. Income amounted to £9,738,000 (£7.1m in 2021) an increase of £2,638,000 on the previous year.

Visitor income increased by £1,766,000 to £3,878,000 (£2.1m in 2021). Retail income was up £611,000 to £1,337,000 (£726,000 in 2021).  Almost 621,000 people visited the Minster last year compared to 266,183 in 2021.

The return to normal levels of activity led to an increase in expenditure on raising funds of £724,000 due to additional variable costs for the visitor and retail operations and additional costs incurred on investment property and repairs during the year.

Total expenditure on mission was £10,067,000 (£7.9m in 2021). The £2,119,000 increase included £661,000 on major repairs and restoration of the cathedral and its precincts and a significant rise in the cost of materials to £253,000.  Returning to pre-Covid levels of activity increased staff costs to £264,000 and there was £128,000 of expenditure on Minster maintenance costs.

Ministry costs increased by £503,000 including £232,000 on essential maintenance and repair of accommodation, a £195,000 increase in the cost of services, music and congregational costs of £100,000 and £26,000 of printing costs with the return to largely in-person services. There was also £27,000 of expenditure relating to the period of official mourning for the late Queen Elizabeth II.  However costs for education and outreach decreased by £44,000 due to the low level of school learning activities during the year.

The investment markets suffered in 2022 due to the wider impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  As a result of this, Chapter recorded a net loss of £3,507,000 on equity investments (compared to a net gain of £3.2m in 2021).  Total net assets at the end of the year were £50,911,000 (£53.1m in 2021).

The Very Revd Dominic Barrington, Dean of York, said: “This is an impressive performance and a tribute to York Minster’s staff and volunteers who continued to deliver inspiring worship, outstanding music and a world class welcome for everyone who visited the cathedral. We are grateful to our local community, to our paying visitors and to our donors who returned to support the mission and ministry of York Minster in such large numbers.

“The deeply encouraging signs of economic recovery are due to Chapter’s careful oversight and stewardship of the Minster’s finances through those tough pandemic years.  Ongoing economic volatility and turbulence around the world will require continuing caution and discipline in our financial management.

“Emerging from the pandemic, life at York Minster quickly became full and busy once again. We made progress on delivery of the Neighbourhood Plan successfully securing planning consents for developments such as the Centre of Excellence and the Works and Technology Hub and installing solar panels on the roof of the new York Minster Refectory, an important step on our journey towards net zero.

“However in 2022, York Minster came into its own as the cathedral for the Northern Province of the Church of England and the seat of the Archbishop of York as we welcomed thousands of visitors firstly to celebrate the historic Platinum Jubilee and then to honour the remarkable life of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Designed and carved by stonemason Richard Bossons, the unveiling, last November, of her statue by her son, His Majesty King Charles III, marked the end of a historic and momentous year.”

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