Cheltenham Minster

On Sunday 3rd February 2013 St Mary's was designated Cheltenham Minster by the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Michael Perham at the Inauguration Service.

Hallowing of 'Cheltenham Minster', 3rd February 2013

Left to Right: Bishop Michael Perham of Gloucester, Bishop John Went of Tewkesbury, Rector Tudor Griffiths and Archdeacon of Cheltenham Robert Springett

Photograph courtesy Gloucestershire Media, more pictures.

The Making of a Minster

For centuries St Mary's Church has stood at the heart of the life and faith of this town. The people of Cheltenham have come here at times of celebration and times of sorrow, for thanksgiving and comfort, for generations of baptisms, marriages and funerals. Week by week people have come together to sing the praise of God, to join in prayer, listen to his word, and receive the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion.

St Mary's was originally founded by Augustinian Canons, monks associated with Cirencester Abbey. This order of monks was founded to engage in Christian mission particularly in the growing urban areas of the time; they were monks who were looking to engage with the world and not hide from it. The word 'Minster' is related to the word 'monastery', and it was originally a term used for a centre of Christian mission from which monks and evangelists would go out to preach the Good News of Jesus in the surrounding area.

This history resonates with what we are doing today. The 'strapline' for Cheltenham Minster is 'Putting Jesus at the Centre'. The bestowal of the title 'Minster' here in Cheltenham not only acknowledges the significance of this town in the Diocese of Gloucester, but it is also a call for the church to engage with renewed confidence and energy in the life of the community.

We are grateful to all who have come to join us in celebrating the inauguration of St Mary's Church as Cheltenham Minster. Many people have worked very hard to make this service possible, and I dare not even begin to list their names. For your particular contribution in coming today and anything more - our heartfelt thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tudor F L Griffiths
Rector of Cheltenham

Hallowed Moment

The moment Bishop Michael Perham made the Minster.

Photograph courtesy Gloucestershire Media, more pictures.

The Bishop's address.

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