An exciting new project to make Halifax Minster more suitable for worship, cultural and civic engagement in the 21st century is now underway – thanks to grants from local organisations.
Work started to replace the old nave platform with new stone flooring last week and the Minster will be closed Monday-Saturday until 18 March with Sunday worship held in the chancel in the East End of the building. Daily worship through the week will now take place in the song school.
The vicar of Halifax, the Revd Canon Hilary Barber said: “"I’m thrilled that at long last we can improve the physical space we offer in the Minster for cultural, educational, and civic engagement, as well as worship. The vision is for a wider participation of the whole community within the life of the Minster, as we reach out to the communities we dare to serve."
The £120k work has been funded entirely by grants from organisations friendly to the Minster. The largest chunk of the money has come from SITA, the waste management company, but grants have also been received from the Garfield Weston Foundation, Lloyd's Bank and the Friends of Halifax Minster.
Assistant curate, the Revd Jonathan Bish explained the project. “We want to celebrate our worship with a greater sense of sacred space - the current dais is cluttered and our Sung Eucharist often looks more like a scrum than an act of worship!
“We're replacing our altar platform with a new flat stone floor and removing some pew platforms to create a completely level floor at the front of the nave.
“When the Minster was refurbished in 1878, the floor was laid in a hurry and the area under the pews was left as a void with only a platform above it," he said.
The altar platform replaced pews at the front of the nave when it was put in place in 1983, but did not fill the void, so the contractors are also filling the space under the front of the nave with new load bearing material.
“And we're planning on putting a small, mobile altar platform in the centre of the new floor for a new, smaller and more mobile altar at a later date.
“This will also allow us a more flexible space for worship and community events," he added.
You can keep up with the work on the Minster’s Facebook page.
If you have any fundraising ideas or would like to help the Minster and its redevelopment contact the vicar: h.barber [at] halifaxminster.org.uk