The Archbishop of York today announced Hull’s magnificent Holy Trinity Church would be re-dedicated as a Minster in recognition of its inspiring regeneration, physically and spiritually.
Dr John Sentamu visited Holy Trinity to reveal he will be returning for a Minster-making service in 2017 in what will be one of the keynote events during Hull’s year as UK City of Culture.
Dr Sentamu was also joined by the Bishop of Hull, the Right Reverend Alison White, in laying paving stones in Trinity Square as their symbolic contribution to the remarkable transformation that is placing Holy Trinity at the heart of Hull’s exciting rejuvenation.
Dr Sentamu confirmed Holy Trinity would be elevated to Minster status during a service for members of the congregation and invited guests at the 700-year-old church.
The great West Doors of magnificent Holy Trinity were then flung open for the first time in a year since the external works began to enable the Archbishop, Bishop and other VIPs to be taken on a tour of the Trinity Square redevelopment before they each signed and laid a paving stone as part of the resurfacing of the showpiece location.
The visit came exactly two years to the day since Archbishop Sentamu spoke at the launch of Holy Trinity’s development project, urged people to dig deep to fund the £4.5m transformation and pledged to make the church Hull Minster if it was delivered.
Now, with works well advanced to reunite Holy Trinity’s grounds and Trinity Square, and the remodelling of the church internally proposed to begin soon, Dr Sentamu said he would return on May 13 next year to bestow Minster status.
Dr Sentamu said: “Holy Trinity has always been at the heart of the life of this fantastic city. Two years ago I came here and urged people to dream big about the possibilities for Holy Trinity and for the city of Hull as a whole and to give their all to make the vision a reality. It is fantastic to see so many people and organisations getting behind the development project and providing the funds to drive it forward.
“Holy Trinity is doing great things to reach out to the local community and make the mission of the Church relevant to the daily lives of the people of Hull.
“The development project builds on that wonderful work and will ensure Holy Trinity remains fit for purpose as a magnificent place of worship and a welcoming, supportive home for everyone in the heart of the city.”
Bishop Alison added: “This will be a great gift to the city, especially during the City of Culture year.
“This announcement reflects and recognises Holy Trinity’s broader mission in the city and its remarkable work to both reach out to the city’s people and bring the life of the city within Holy Trinity’s walls.”
The status of Minster is an honorific title bestowed on major churches of regional significance in the Church of England, to reflect their importance and contribution to the local communities they serve.
It means that the status of Holy Trinity, which is England’s largest parish church, will be elevated 725 years after it was founded in 1292.
The Vicar of Holy Trinity, the Reverend Canon Dr Neal Barnes, said: “Everyone connected with Holy Trinity is deeply honoured by this news and we are determined to be deserving of the wider remit the Minster status carries.
“We are so grateful for the tremendously generous support we have received and the Archbishop’s announcement will serve as an additional motivation to deliver in full what we believe will be a truly transformational change for Holy Trinity and the city of Hull.”
Holy Trinity and Hull City Council have worked in partnership on the redevelopment of Trinity Square, with the former church walls removed and churchyard resurfaced to create a seamless new piazza setting which will become a showpiece events venue and gathering place during Hull’s year as UK City of Culture in 2017. The square is being renovated by principal contractors Eurovia Contracting under the £25m transformation of the public realm in Hull city centre.
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Proposals for the next phase of the Holy Trinity development project would see the nave of the church remodelled to create a fabulous and flexible open space for worship, cultural events and performances.
Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council said: “I would like to congratulate Reverend Neal Barnes and the Holy Trinity team on this fantastic accolade. For Holy Trinity to be recognised in this way really does show how highly the church is regarded and, on the cusp of our year as UK City of Culture, this honour couldn’t come at a better time.
“Holy Trinity is a gem in the Old Town’s crown and the investment we are making to transform Trinity Square will showcase the building in its best light.
“The strong partnership between the council and Holy Trinity, will ensure we deliver a spectacular public space with a beautiful and re-energised church at its heart.”
Tim Croft, Site Manager for Eurovia, said: “The Archbishop’s visit has been an inspiring occasion and it has been a privilege to give him a tour of the works and for him and the Bishop to make their own contribution to the redevelopment.
“There has been a huge amount of work to do in Trinity Square and it has progressed at a rapid pace with us now at the stage of laying the new high-quality sandstone paving.
“Eight large mirror pools are already in place and, when switched on, will provide a stunning reflection of Holy Trinity right across the new piazza. This is biggest transformation in many years and Holy Trinity’s Minster status really is the feather in the cap.”
The development project will enable Holy Trinity to replace outdated and inadequate facilities, become accessible to the whole community and host a wider range of spiritual, cultural and social events.
The changes at Holy Trinity will act as a catalyst for the regeneration of Hull’s Old Town and create new income streams to secure a long-term sustainable future for the church as a spectacular, vibrant and welcoming place of worship and community use.