The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, will head towards England’s largest parish church on a lifeboat next month. He will be joined by a flotilla of boats from pleasure crafts to police launches for the re-classification of Holy Trinity Church in Hull as Hull Minster. Dr Sentamu will carry with him a lantern lit at All Saint’s Church in Hessle, Holy Trinity’s mother church, for the historic ceremony on 12 May.
The history of Hull – or Kingston upon Hull, to give it its full name – dates back to the creation of Holy Trinity Church by King Stephen in 1285 in what was then the growing settlement of Wyke. It was intended as a chapel of ease for All Saints. The area became known as the Kings Town upon Hull in 1299.
The Archbishop will travel down the River Humber on board the William Riley, an historic Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) heritage lifeboat for the five-mile journey down the River Humber from Hessle Haven to Hull Marina, with a crew from the RNLI at the oars.
On arrival, Dr Sentamu will join the Bishop of Hull, Alison White, in a procession to the re-vamped Trinity Square, a public space outside the church, for an open-air minster-making service. The lantern will then be taken inside the newly-designated minister where it will be used to light a symbolic candle.
“This will be a fantastic day when we rejoice in the place of Holy Trinity at the heart of the city of Hull by designating it as Hull Minster,” Dr Sentamu said. “To be able to arrive from the Humber, the river which is so much a part of the city’s heritage, will make it that much more special.
“As we celebrate together in this City of Culture year, I pray that Hull Minster will continue to be a place where all are able to encounter God and to know His presence with them in all that they do.”
Holy Trinity’s Vicar, Canon Dr Neal Barnes, described the reclassification of the church as “a hugely important day for Hull.”
He continued: “It’s a truly historic day and that’s why we are going right back to the origins of Holy Trinity and Hull itself by renewing the connection to our mother church.
“Hull’s whole history is based on its maritime heritage – the city is here because of the Humber and access to the sea – so it is wholly appropriate for the Archbishop to make the journey to Holy Trinity largely on the water.
“The city is now on an exciting journey of regeneration and we feel Holy Trinity is an important part of that. We want the day to reflect both the great history of Holy Trinity and Hull and celebrate an exciting time of spiritual, cultural and economic revival.”
The reclassification of the church will be the main focus of a weekend of mission in Hull Central and North Deanery which Dr Sentamu will attend.
Historically, a minster church was a central church from where clergy were gathered and sent out to serve local communities. Today, 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.
The re-classification of Hull Minster comes at a time of significant “inspiring regeneration, physically and spiritually” in the area and a £4.5m development project.