June 2017


newsletter june 2017



Dear Friend

As you are aware, the Friends’ Weekend was held over Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th May.   Following the AGM on 6th May, the list of Trustees now reads as follows:- Officers: Mrs Heather Harris, Chairman; Mrs Margery Roberts, Hon Secretary; Mrs Diana Pearce, Hon. Treasurer; Trustees: Professor S A J Bradley; Mr Bob Chapple; The Revd Andrew De Smet; Mrs Erica Dineen; Mr James Lloyd; Mr Gordon Mellor; and Mr John Turner. Mr Lloyd was newly elected; Mr Chapple and Mr Turner were re-elected. Professor Sid Bradley, having stood down from Chairmanship, remains as a Trustee.

At this point, I must say that I feel very honoured to have been elected as Chairman. I would like to take this opportunity of thanking Professor Bradley for all he has done, over very many years, for the Minster and its outreach, all so willingly, so thoroughly and so elegantly.

I am enclosing some remarks made by Sid in his Chairman’s Report for the AGM, as they have considerable bearing on the Trustees’ need to raise extra money on behalf of the JCC for conservation work on the Minster: to preserve the Minster for  following generations. The Trustees feel that we cannot continually call on the same small group of people (yourselves); nor can we wait for occasional legacies. We are very grateful indeed for your support as members, and for your very welcome extra donations. We are also very grateful to all who help in a practical way, donating their time. However, we appreciate that you have other calls on your purse; and at the same time the JCC cannot be expected to raise very large sums of money, to spend on the Minster alone, as it too has other calls on its purse. With this in mind, the Trustees are about to begin the process of approaching (in due course and after some hair-raisingly intricate paperwork) national Heritage organisations for funding, with the intention of having money ready for such requests from the JCC for greater monetary assistance. Sid’s remarks and comments follow:-

“…this being my last Report as Chairman before, in a few minutes, I stand down from the office, I would like to spend my few allocated ‘Report’ minutes speaking more generally and a little reflectively, about the ongoing life and work of our organisation.

We have a Constitution. It is there not only to regulate our fiscal self-management and our accountability as a charitable organization responsible to the Charity Commission. It also declares the particular objectives to which we claim to commit ourselves. And so it is worthwhile from time to time to be reminded of what it is we organise ourselves to achieve:

‘The primary objects of The Friends shall be to co-operate with the Joint Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of Kirkdale and St Hilda’s in the preservation and maintenance of the fabric and curtilage of St Gregory’s Minster including the provision of utility services thereto and such other facilities there for the benefit of the congregation and visitors as may be requisite from time to time and secondly to promote public education in the building, its history and its work, and for all these purposes to seek to bring together all those who have common interest and regard for this ancient Minster.’

As I step down, I look back with great satisfaction at the record of the way in which the Friends, led by the Trustees, have kept these aims in focus, and have brought much insight, imagination, devotion, skills and hard work to their fulfilment.

By such diverse means as social gatherings at this Friends’ Weekend in May, at the Patronal Festival in September and at the Carol Services in December; through Newsletters and more recently the newborn website; through our half-day pilgrimages and residential pilgrimages in collaboration with the church; through our publications in the Kirkdale Monograph Series; and in various other minor ways - and all this in addition to those considerable disbursements from the Friends’ funds which we have been able to make in the form of grants to the JCC - we have achieved identity as a community working towards a well-defined range of highly worthwhile objectives, in awareness of the past, in engagement with the present, in preparation for  the future, just as our Constitution bids us do.

We, as the Friends, are not a function of the church. It is not a prerequisite that a Friend has some connection with the life of the Minster. But as an organisation separate from the church, we continue to enjoy the best possible relations with the Vicar, the Church Wardens and the JCC. One particular source of encouragement – and in its way a testimony to the success of this community as a community - remains the generosity of Friends in making voluntary donations - often for specific objectives. We are not a big organisation with our 160 or so members; but we know what we want to do for St Gregory’s Minster, and marshal the resources - financial and human resources - to accomplish a great deal in a considerable variety of ways. It makes a record of achievement in which I believe each single one of us can take pride.

One specific matter of policy I will mention here. The Trustees have very recently taken preliminary steps towards launching a major fund-raising bid in support of our role. This is a complex matter, in the negotiation of which we are fortunate to have certain very valuable advice and guidance, but at this moment plans are at so preliminary a stage that it would not be helpful to try to elaborate upon them here. I will only say that my own conviction is that we could succeed in mounting such a bid, to the benefit of the church, in collaboration, of course, with the Incumbent and the JCC. My successor will, I hope, have more to report this time next year.

I cannot mention the Incumbent without saying, on behalf of the Trustees and Friends, how sorry we are to be losing Andrew De Smet as Vicar and as a Trustee of the Friends. Andrew’s support has always been readily forthcoming, constructive and invaluable. We shall miss him very greatly.

So finally I must thank all Friends, but particularly my hard-working and reliable colleagues, the Trustees, for all the support which I have been lucky enough to feel  backing up the leadership of our organisation. These have been enjoyable years and I wish Heather as rewarding a time as I feel I have had as Chair of the Friends.

Thanks to all Friends and supporters for support over the years of my Chairmanship."

Thank you again, Sid, so very much, for all you have done for us in the past, and for your continuing support now, and in the years to come.

The Constitution can be viewed by visiting www.kirkdalechurches.org.uk, then clicking on The Constitution.

The Friends’ Weekend continued after the AGM, with a most interesting and informative lecture given by Sid on ”Parsons, Patronage & Peasantry in the later Archives of Kirkdale”, followed by tea in the Millennium Room at St Hilda’s, Beadlam. The Litany of Remembrance of Founders and Benefactors of St Gregory’s Minster Kirkdale was read at the Sunday morning service, by Sid and Heather; lunch followed.

Pastor Arne Kristophersen, together with other members of the Danish Church, Hull, visited the Minster on Sunday 18th June - the warmest day of the year to date. Pastor Kristophersen preached at the morning service. Several Friends accompanied our visitors to a pub lunch and then on to Ampleforth Abbey, where Sid became a very informative tour guide, revealing a wealth of knowledge on Benedictine monastic history. It was a very happy and enjoyable day; old friendships were renewed, and new ones were made. It is hoped that there will be another such meeting next year.

St Gregory’s Patronal Festival will be held on Sunday 3rd September. There will be a Choral Service at which Father Richard Martin will preach. It is customary for the Friends to invite the Guest Preacher to be their guest at the Friends’ Luncheon which follows. We are very fortunate that our Patron, Dr Francis Jackson, is able to be present at the Service, and, as guest of the Friends, Luncheon. Booking forms for the Luncheon will be available in due course.

The Pilgrimage to Lindisfarne will run from Monday 18th – Friday 22nd September 2017. The leaders are the Revd Susan Binks and Professor Sid Bradley; Father Richard Martin will join the pilgrimage and expects to be with the group for the full duration. At the time of writing, booking for the pilgrimage was about to close.

The Carol Services will take place in December; booking forms for tickets will be available in due course. As we have several new Friends, it should be explained that entry to the identical Carol Services (on the Saturday and Sunday immediately before Christmas Eve) is free, but seating is limited within the Minster, and a ticket system for both days enables the Churchwardens to allocate seats safely.

My very best wishes to you all, with thanks for being a Friend,

Heather Harris


Telephone: 01723_859558 ; Email: westlands.harris@btinternet.com


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 700344.