Issued 20.2.12 For immediate use
The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Rt Revd John Packer, has announced that Leeds Parish Church is to be given the status of Minster to coincide with a year of celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The Parish Church of St Peter’s, Leeds has long had an important role in the civic life of the city of Leeds, and civic dignitaries and community representatives will be among those invited to a special service of dedication on Sunday September 2nd at 3pm, at which the church will be officially designated as Leeds Minster .
Announcing his decision, today Monday February 20th, Bishop Packer said, “Leeds Parish Church has a long and distinguished history at the heart of Christian ministry in Leeds. The establishing of Minster status affirms the importance of its role in God’s mission to the whole of the city. This is a move which I know is welcomed by the city itself, and by the Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Dr Ingrid Roscoe. I pray that this will be a strengthening of the work of the church to all who live and work in the city.”
The term ‘Minster’ is an honorific title given to particular churches, which was widespread in Anglo Saxon England and has undergone a recent resurgence. Over the past twenty years, churches in the north of England such as Dewsbury, Sunderland, Preston , Rotherham Halifax and Grimsby have all received the designation of Minster.
The present church of St. Peter’s, Leeds, stands on a site which has been a place of Christian worship for well over a thousand years. It is believed the earliest building on the site would have been a Saxon Minster. As well as being a parish church, St.Peter's serves as a church for important civic events in the life of the city. Sunday September 2nd , 2012, the date of the service to mark the conferring of Minster status has been chosen to coincide with the original dedication of Leeds Parish Church on September 2nd, 1841.
Rector of Leeds, the Revd Canon Tony Bundock (pictured above) said that the designation would make more explicit the distinctive civic role of Leeds Parish Church. “We welcome this important step in the life of the Church of England in Leeds which gives important recognition to Leeds Parish Church in its role as a church for the city. In reclaiming the ancient title of Minster, I believe the church will be strengthened as a place of welcome and hospitality to the changing culture of the city, focusing on the Celtic model of daily prayer, mission and service."
Canon Bundock added, " Becoming a Minster will help strengthen and develop our opportunities for team working in the Leeds City team with our partners of Holy Trinity, Boar Lane and St. Mary’s Lincoln Green. It also marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of our parish school, St Peter’s CofE Aided Primary School in Lincoln Green. And it will further enable Leeds Parish Church to be promoted as a tourist destination through membership of ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’ and as a place of both spiritual refreshment through our daily services, and practical hospitality in our café.”