Welcome to Leeds Minster
PARISH UPDATE BY THE REVEREND CANON SAM CORLEY
At this stage in the year, I thought it worth giving an update on one or two issues and projects. But first let me begin by thanking you all again for your welcome over these past four months. I have appreciated more than I can say the many kind words of encouragement and support and am grateful for the time people have taken in helping me to get a handle on the history of the parish and how things work here (or don’t!). I owe a particular debt of thanks in this regard to the Wardens, Kay Brown, Simon Lindley, Iain Howell, Noreen Connor, Rhoda Wallace and Ann Clark. Ann Nicholl continues to offer sterling service by overseeing the life of Holy Trinity and this will continue for another couple of months until I am in a position to take up that particular set of reins.
You will notice that work continues apace on the two buildings behind the Minster. We will do this properly in due course, but Peter Hart deserves both our thanks and our admiration for all he has achieved in seeing these works through to this stage. He has navigated a great many minefields and elephant traps with humour and good sense. St Peter’s House is now empty and work has already begun on that building too. The mud and mess is not ideal, especially in the winter months, but a major project of this kind was always going to entail some disruption and inconvenience; your patience with this is appreciated.
I am sure all of us are looking forward to the 175th Anniversary Service on Saturday, 3 September at 4pm. I am delighted that the Right Reverend Graeme Knowles CVO has accepted my invitation to preach at the service. Of course, this will also be the occasion at which we shall be marking Dr Lindley’s retirement as Master of Music at the Minster. Simon has been in post here longer than I have been alive and has made an immense contribution to the life, ministry and reputation of the Minster and to music making across the City. Details of how we all can be involved in expressing our thanks and appreciation will be released shortly. Talks are continuing as we explore possibilities and plan ahead for recruiting Simon’s successor and I will be saying more about this at the APCM after the morning service on Sunday 24th April.
By the APCM I also hope to have news about funding bids I have submitted to enable the appointment of a Director of Operations who will work with me to establish effective governance, compliance and administration processes across the parish, as well as helping us to develop a clear and realistic strategic plan for the next ten years (which will include developing plans and securing funding for the redevelopment of both the Minster and Holy Trinity in line with the recommendations of the recent Quinquennial Inspection Reports on both buildings). There is a huge amount of work to do in these areas to make up for lost ground and this appointment is therefore taking priority over the recruitment of additional clergy to serve in the parish.
Finance continues to be a major challenge. As I have said on numerous occasions already, the parish has spent or owed about a third more than it has raised over each of at least the last twenty years. We are now in a position where we have the smallest of reserves and will struggle to meet our financial responsibilities, not least the £56,000 requested of us as our contribution towards parish share. Without wishing to denigrate the generosity of many down the years, it is essential that each of us reviews our giving in the response to this urgent and pressing challenge.
I could go on. But I hope that this brief survey has been useful. As always, please do not hesitate to be in touch with me if you have any questions or comments. If you are not able to catch me on a Sunday then email is far and away the best way in which to contact me:
Canon Sam Corley