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Archbishop of York to take Humber voyage before re-dedicating Holy Trinity as Hull Minster

Tuesday 11th April 2017

 The Archbishop of York will travel down the Humber on board an historic rowing boat before bestowing minster status on Hull’s Holy Trinity Church.

Full arrangements for the re-dedication of the 700-year-old church on Saturday, May 13, were announced today, including plans for the Archbishop, Dr John Sentamu, to journey down the estuary from Holy Trinity’s mother church before the re-dedication as Hull Minster.

Dr Sentamu will carry a lantern lit at All Saints Church in Hessle on board the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) heritage lifeboat, William Riley, from Hessle Haven on a five-mile voyage to Hull Marina, before processing to Holy Trinity to join public festivities ahead of the minster-making service.

The arrangements will hark back to the medieval origins of Holy Trinity and also celebrate Hull’s maritime heritage in what will be one of the keynote events during Hull’s year as UK City of Culture.

All Saints Church was established during the reign of King Stephen (1135-1154) and later founded Holy Trinity in 1285, in what was then the growing settlement of Wyke, as a “chapel of ease” – a church used for routine worship. People continued to travel to All Saints from Wyke, which was granted royal charter status and became Kings Town upon Hull in 1299, for weddings and funerals and other important services, sometimes by boat.

The Archbishop will carry the lantern lit by a flame from All Saints Church on board the William Riley, which will be launched from the Hessle Haven slipway at 10am, with a RNLI crew at the oars. The William Riley will be accompanied by a flotilla of other vessels, including police and Humber pilot launches, the Humber Rescue boat and pleasure boats from Hull Marina, on a spectacular voyage to Hull.

The Archbishop will later process, with the Bishop of Hull, the Right Reverend Alison White, to Trinity Square to join festivities which are expected to draw hundreds of people to the newly-revamped public area outside Holy Trinity. The lantern will be on display on a stage prior to an open-air minster-making service, beginning at 3pm.

The minster-making service will be led by the Archbishop, with the formal proclamation that Holy Trinity has been re-dedicated as Hull Minster to be delivered by the Registrar of the Province of York, Caroline Mockford. Following the service, guests and members of the community will file into the church to witness the lantern lighting a symbolic candle in the heart of Holy Trinity.

Dr Sentamu said: “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. 

“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.”

Dr Barnes said: “This is a hugely important day for Hull and we wanted to reflect that in the arrangements for the minster-making.

“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 Rev Tim Boyns, Vicar of All Saints, Hessle, and Rural Dean of Hull, said: “We’re absolutely delighted for Holy Trinity’s elevation, as any parent would be, and we’re thrilled to be involved.”

The William Riley was in service with the RNLI at Whitby, North Yorkshire, from 1909 to 1931. Having been rescued from dereliction in 2005 and restored by the Whitby Historic Lifeboat Trust, which was formed for the purpose, the boat now tours the country participating in special events.

The RNLI’s Humber Lifeboat Coxswain and Station Manager, Dave Steenvoorden, said: “We’re delighted to be part of the special arrangements to celebrate the re-dedication of Holy Trinity Church as Hull Minster. It’s a very great honour for the RNLI and will really add to the sense of occasion.

“It’s also highly appropriate, as the links between the Humber Lifeboat Station and Trinity House goes back many years. Indeed, Trinity House ran the lifeboat for its first hundred years before the RNLI took over.”

David Parkinson, Manager of Hull Marina and a supporter of Holy Trinity, has also played a key role in arranging the Archbishop’s journey by boat to Hull and the supporting flotilla.

He said: “Everything has fallen into place with so many people keen to work together to bring a nautical aspect to the minster-making. It’s a real honour to assist Holy Trinity with such an important event and we’re looking forward to bringing an additional sense of spectacle to the day.”

Archbishop Sentamu will be in the Hull Central and North Deanery for a weekend of mission encouraging local churches to share the love of Jesus Christ with those around them. All are encouraged to invite friends, family, neighbours and colleagues to local events happening throughout the mission weekend in Hull from Friday, May 12 to Sunday, May 14 in schools, cafés, pubs, churches and community hubs.  More details are at:

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 honour is being bestowed in recognition of Holy Trinity’s inspiring regeneration, physically and spiritually, and the exciting progress of the church’s £4.5m development project.

The first phase of the project, delivered in partnership with Hull City Council, saw Holy Trinity’s churchyard united with the square to form a stunning new public space as part of Hull’s £25m public realm programme.

Now work is well under way on a major programme of re-ordering and improvements inside the church, which will include the creation of a flexible, open space for more inclusive worship as well as a wide range of cultural, social and community events.

The changes at Holy Trinity will act as a catalyst for the regeneration of Hull’s Old Town and create new income streams to secure a long-term sustainable future for the church as a spectacular, vibrant and welcoming place of worship and community use.

To find out how you can support the transformation of Holy Trinity go to e-mail: or phone 01482 224460.

Join the celebrations in Trinity Square

Members of the public are invited to join the Minster-making celebrations in Trinity Square from midday on May 13. Here is the timetable for the day:

12-2.30pm: Fun in the Square with family activities such as face painting, family crafts, a puppet show, live music, market stalls and more.

3pm: Open air minster-making service with the Archbishop of York in Trinity Square.

4-6pm: Refreshments served in the Nave within Holy Trinity.

Holy Trinity’s Café Trinity will be open from 10am–2pm. People are also very welcome to attend one of Holy Trinity’s services on Sunday, May 14, at 9.30am, 11.15am and 6pm.

The Vicar of Holy Trinity, the Reverend Canon Dr Neal Barnes, stressed the day was open to the whole community, with the newly-revamped Trinity Square used for the first time for a major religious, civic and community event.

Dr Barnes said: “We want the people of Hull to join us to celebrate a special day for the city.

“One of the Archbishop of York’s catchphrases is ‘Jesus does prayer and parties’, so we’ve taken our cue from him. We want there to be a party atmosphere in the square throughout the day.

“We’re inviting everyone to join us in making the day truly memorable.”


For further information, please contact John Meehan of Meehan Media & Comms. Tel 01482 223479 or 07803 199492; e-mail


Holy Trinity

Holy Trinity, Hull’s finest grade one listed building, is a unique and iconic place – a magnificent, vibrant place of worship offering a welcoming Christian presence in the heart of Hull’s Old Town.

 It is England’s largest parish church, the oldest brick-built building in the country still used for its original purpose, and Hull’s civic church. With its beautiful architecture and vast grandeur, Holy Trinity’s impact is jaw-dropping – it is an amazing place for all to use, enjoy and admire.

 Founded in the reign of Edward I late in the 13th Century, Holy Trinity is as old as the city of Hull itself. Indeed, it has been said that Hull’s history is written in its walls. It survived the convulsions of the English Civil War and bombing raids in both world wars. Hull’s most famous son, the abolitionist William Wilberforce, was baptised in the font used to this day. Holy Trinity also hosts memorials to Hull’s war dead and lost trawlermen. Holy Trinity is an amazing gift from our forebears that we are determined to treasure and pass to future generations.

 Our history is amazing, but so too is what is happening today to ensure Holy Trinity is as relevant now to the life of Hull as it has ever been. Our congregations have almost tripled in the past five years; we reach out to the community in new and surprising ways; and our majestic building is used regularly for exhibitions, concerts and cultural events, even beer festivals!

 Holy Trinity’s visitors have more than doubled in the past two years. Tens of thousands of people each year receive a warm greeting from our team of volunteer welcomers. Holy Trinity has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence by the internationally-renowned TripAdvisor website, based on a four-and-a-half star rating by visitors.

 In 2017 – Hull’s year as UK City of Culture – Holy Trinity will be re-dedicated as Hull Minster by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, in recognition of its inspiring regeneration, physically and spiritually.

 Holy Trinity has an inspiring vision – to be a beacon for the regeneration of the Old Town of Hull, be a vital part of the city’s rebirth and be recognised and valued as a most amazing space for a multitude of uses.



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