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Statement – 17 March 2020 (with updates on the 20 & 23 March)
The Chapter of York, the governing body of York Minster, today announced that the Minster will be closed until further notice. The decision, which will be reviewed on a regular basis, follows yesterday’s update from the UK Government on the national response to the coronavirus and today’s statement by the Archbishops of York and Canterbury.
The decision covers the many events, concerts and programmes that are part of the life of the Minster. The closure also applies to the Old Palace Museum, Library and Archives in Dean’s Park. and to Dean’s Park itself. Following government advice, the Minster School has also now closed. All decisions will remain under review on a daily basis.
Since 627AD, through all the many changes and challenges facing the city of York and the communities of the North, the Minster Community has kept a rhythm of prayer and openness to God alive. Even though the Minster will be closed to the public, the Minster clergy will still maintain a pattern of daily prayer, praying for the needs of the nation and our world at this time.
Prayer has been offered in this place for many centuries and it will continue. We will consider the ways in which we can serve and support our community, our city and the North of England. The Archbishops have called all of us to pray this Sunday (Mothering Sunday), particularly remembering those who are sick or anxious and all those involved in health and the emergency services. In the coming days, the Minster will seek ways in which we can reach out to people through prayer, social media and through serving the community. Regular updates will be published on the website.
Commenting on the decision, The Right Revd Dr Jonathan Frost, Dean of York said:
“We find ourselves in unprecedented times. But the same disciplines of prayer and mutual care that have been life giving in the past will now serve us well in the future. I’m well aware that in the communities of York and across the North, there are plans developing for mutual aid and for taking care of our neighbours, particularly the most vulnerable and needy.
“For example, only this morning I heard of one community scheme that has emerged which will support self-isolating elderly people in gathering their shopping. In another example, people are caring for work colleagues unable to come into their usual place of work through regular telephone contact and keeping in touch. In a crisis we discover what matters most.
“At the heart of this is the care and compassion that we show to one another by keeping in touch and keeping aware. I would also encourage those affected by the current situation to keep in touch and to be aware of God through prayer. Whatever matters to us, matters to God. We can always bring our concerns and fears just as they are to the God who loves us and who will never fail or forsake us. Be assured that the Minster Community is praying for all our neighbours at this time and is ready to support and care in any practical way possible.”
Jonathan Frost (Dean) talks to BBC Radio York (18/03/2020). Audio kindly supplied by BBC Radio York
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