Yorkshire Churches Day – A Great Day To Explore

News from the Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust

The Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust, a charity set up to help repair, restore, and maintain places of worship in the county, is launching the inaugural Yorkshire Churches Day (YCD) on Saturday 10th September.

This is one day a year when all places of worship in the region open up and showcase the history and heritage found inside their buildings.

It also provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase the many historic religious buildings in Yorkshire as places of worship and important centres for the local community.

This year the YHCT is running YCD in partnership with the Heritage Open Days (HOD) initiative, England’s largest festival of history and culture when thousands of people come together to celebrate their heritage, community, and history. Stories are told, traditions explored, and histories brought to life. 

YHCT President, Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York said: “I’m delighted to support the Yorkshire Churches Day, which is a wonderful opportunity to share many of our county’s beautiful churches. At the heart of many of our communities sits the parish church; there to welcome everyone. These are rightly centres of community, places to gather, learn, serve, places where we mourn and where we celebrate, and places where week by week the good news of Jesus Christ is shared.

“However you engage with our wonderful churches, remember that they are not merely places of heritage and history, but rather vibrant and living places of worship and community. I’m so grateful to the Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust for this initiative and for the many ways in which they support and encourage those who work so hard to care for these buildings, their work, along with the work of so many volunteers will help ensure that the richness of these buildings is preserved and enhanced for generations to come.”

St Germain’s Winestead people

Rosie Millard, chair of BBC Children in Need and a supporter of the YHCT said: “I am delighted to see this initiative get underway. The medieval churches across Yorkshire are a testimony to the county’s wealth, history and beauty, whether Beverley Minster, whose twin golden towers rise above the flat East Riding like a mirage, or tiny Winestead, a single vaulted chapel lit only by candles, found on the way to Spurn Point and the North Sea. Collectively, they punctuate and illuminate the rolling. windswept landscape with ethereal power. They are a freely available repository for worship, meditation, and beauty and loved by locals and visitors alike.

“My particular favourite is Hull’s Holy Trinity, the largest parish church in England. Built around 1300 on the marshy land of the Humber estuary, the architects knew it was crucial to keep the huge church as light as possible, hence its slender pillars and huge volume of glass in high arched windows. Their plans worked; it has stood with an almost weightless air in the centre of Hull for eight hundred years”.  

Liam Montgomery, Heritage Open Days Marketing and Projects Manager said: “We’re thrilled to see the launch of Yorkshire Churches Day during this year’s national festival. For visitors, it’s the perfect opportunity to learn about local heritage and see sacred spaces and hidden places, and for places of worship, it’s a great way to reach new audiences, generate donations, and engage the local community. We can’t wait to see this great addition to Yorkshire’s HODs programme take shape’.

Tom Ramsden, chairman of the YHCT said: ‘The Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust is launching this initiative in the hope that Yorkshire Churches Day will become a day of general celebration, when all Yorkshire’s Churches, Cathedrals, Chapels and Meeting Houses will be open to all and visited by anyone keen to explore their heritage and enjoy that sense of beauty and peace present in these buildings. 

“Please use this day each year to pop in to your local church, sit there quietly for a minute or two and feel the magic of the place. They were created with love and care and they will be kept alive for future generations with your support.”

The YHCT are encouraging all places of worship to consider opening up on 10th September, and those who are curious about history and heritage or those who have never stepped foot inside church before to get exploring.

Full details of how to get involved and all the support available can be found at https://www.yhct.org.uk/yorkshire-churches-day/

Written by: Vanessa White

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