newsletter january 2019



Dear Friend

Well, well, here we are again, huddling under Janus’ lintel and trying to look backwards and forwards at the same time. It has been a mixed year. We have had to say farewell to good Friends, who will be remembered with affection and gratitude. On the other hand, we have new Friends (welcomed with delight into the Friends’ “family”), and I look forward to meeting you whenever possible. In a year which has been filled globally with continuing unkindness, cruelty, acrimonious words, toddler-type temper tantrums, and real anxiety - not only for and about our own leaders but leaders abroad, and their policies generally - we have also seen sheer good-heartedness and (one of my favourite expressions) “loving-kindness” surfacing in dire or difficult situations. One aspect of this appears in the way in which Friends constantly help (sometimes unasked) in so many ways, from turning out to clean the Minster, to buying Christmas Cards, to mending faulty gate latches, to organising and participating in Friends’ Guiding/Steward Rotas, to donating funds for the Organ Restoration, to mention but a few. I know that each and every one of you does whatever you can. Thank you, all, most sincerely.

I am absolutely delighted to tell you that the Limited Edition St Gregory’s Minster Mugs (200 only) have just arrived. The artwork for the mugs and the boxes has been produced by our very own Friend, Chorister and Artist, Chris Ware. Each mug is numbered, and has its own box, which is numbered and signed by Chris. He has overseen each stage of the production, and the Trustees wish to thank him for the very generous donation he has made in support of the Minster - a donation of time, talent, and extreme hard work. The mugs (and boxes) are very beautiful. I can’t help thinking that William Morris would be delighted that things so useful are also so beautiful.  Each mug costs £15 and will be available from me every Sunday at the Minster after the service. I can accept cash, or a cheque payable to “The Friends of St Gregory’s Minster”. My contact details are as usual at the foot of this Newsletter. If, however, you cannot reach the Minster, you can see a photograph of a mug and its box on which is Chris Ware’s professional website, where he is very kindly giving our mug “web space”. The cost of postage is an extra £3. [Note: Pictures of the mug are also on this website. See News & Diary]

As many of you will already know, there is a gaping hole in the Minster where the organ used to fit. It was taken away in the very early New Year for restoration; the Friends are assisting the JCC in paying the bill to a larger rather than smaller degree. Thank you for your financial support in this very worthy project. 

The AGM will be held in St Gregory’s Minster on Saturday 11th May 2019 at 2 o’clock, and will be followed by The Kirkdale Lecture. Refreshments thereafter will be served in the Millennium Room, at St Hilda’s Church, Beadlam. All are welcome to attend. On Sunday 12th May 2019 the Morning Service will, as usual, include the reading of the “Litany of Commemoration of the Founders and Benefactors of St Gregory’s Minster”. As on the Saturday, all are welcome to attend. Luncheon will follow; this must be pre-booked, and the usual booking form and menus will be available in due course.

It is hoped that a visit to St Mary’s Church, Studley Royal (by the architect Edward Burges), and Bishop Wilfrid’s 7th-century crypt in Ripon Cathedral, will take place later in the Spring/Summer, and  that our near neighbours, the Friends of Lastingham Church will be able to accompany us, following the success of the joint Friends outing to Hexham Abbey last year. The visit is open to all and any hopeful travellers will of course be very welcome to join us. Details will be forthcoming in due course.

The Patronal Festival of St Gregory will take place at St Gregory's Minster on Sunday 1st September 2019, to be followed by a pre-bookable Friends' Luncheon. Details will follow.

Having disposed of most of the forthcoming year in unseemly haste, I would like to thank you for two things: a) to misquote from the late lamented John Ebdon “Thank you for reading this Newsletter - if you have been”; and b) Thank you for your great efforts in supporting St Gregory's Minster.

With very best wishes for a happy and healthy year, and with my thanks for being a Friend,

Yours sincerely,

Heather Harris

Chairman; Tel: 01723 850558; email:


The Trustees: Mrs Heather Harris (Chairman); Mrs Margery Roberts (Honorary Secretary); Mrs Diana Pearce (Honorary Treasurer); Reverend Susan Binks; Professor Sid Bradley; Mr Bob Chapple; Mrs Erica Dineen; Mr James Lloyd; Mr Gordon Mellor and Mr John Turner. “The Friends of St Gregory’s Minster” is a charity registered with the Charity Commission, Charity Number 7003