Minster honour for Yarmouth church
PUBLISHED: 12:30 17 October 2011
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011
GREAT Yarmouth’s St Nicholas’ Parish Church is to be honoured with the title of minster.
The building, which is the largest parish church in England, will be known as Great Yarmouth Minster following a special service in December.
In announcing the title, along with King’s Lynn’s St Margaret’s Church, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, said: “Minster churches possess great historical and architectural significance as well as a contemporary mission and ministry stretching beyond parish boundaries. This is true both for St Margaret’s, King’s Lynn and St Nicholas’, Great Yarmouth.”
The Rev Chris Terry, team rector of Great Yarmouth, said he was delighted by the decision.
“St Nicholas’ Church has stood at the end of the Market Place in Great Yarmouth for over 900 years and is arguably the oldest building in the town,” he said.
“Its restoration following bomb damage in the second world war by the town and church community was a sign of its ongoing importance to the town.
“Today people come to the church to celebrate their love at their weddings, to give thanks to God for the gift of their children as they bring them to baptism, and more sadly as they come to express their loss of family and friends as they come to their funerals.
“It is the place where the town gathers for the special civic services that affirm the place of faith in our communal life and also for social events as such the Christmas fair, college graduation ceremony and concerts.”
Rev Terry added: “Still other people come to the church to marvel and look at the architecture and the beautiful clear light that is an important part of the buildings visual impact.
“As a church community we are exploring new ways in which St Nicholas can be used as a centre for Christian mission to the town and the wider community around Great Yarmouth.
“First and foremost it is a sacred space where people can meet with God in these special events as well as in the regular pattern of daily and Sunday worship.
“We are therefore delighted that the Bishop of Norwich has decided to give the church minister status which we see as recognition of the role we seek to meet within the life of the town and its surrounding area.
“We also hope that the new role might encourage people to visit the town and share in the heritage of the town of which St Nicholas’ is a part.”
The Mayor of Great Yarmouth, Cllr Barry Coleman said: “I am delighted with the news.
“St Nicholas’ is the largest parish church in the country and one of the oldest and most prominent buildings in Great Yarmouth, but more importantly it is a building at the heart of the community used by residents and visitors alike.
“It’s a place to celebrate good times as well as a place to gather and commiserate during times of sadness. It fills me with immense pride for this historic occasion to take place during my year in civic office.”
A service marking St Nicholas’ Church as a minster will take place on Friday, December 9 at 7pm.