Well, we always knew that this project would have to conclude at some point but neither of us knew 18 months ago just how very sad we’d be to see the end of our time here. We can honestly say we’ve loved just about every minute.
It has been a privilege to work in such an awe-inspiring building with such generous and supportive people. We have relied on your help and experience so often. I hope you know how grateful we are.
We hope that in our time here we’ve been able to bring the heritage of the building to life and share the stories of the people who have worked, worshipped, celebrated, grieved and sought sanctuary here in the Minster.
We would like to think that we’re leaving a legacy of a few more members of our diverse local community who now feel connected to the Minster, that it is their place to feel at home, to feel welcome and to come whenever they need to. We have certainly been made to feel very welcome.
There isn’t room or time to go into all the highlights but just a few things stay in our memory as representing everything that was good about the project.
Our visits to Open Doors and the warmth and sharing of stories and skills even without a common language; the beauty of the Minster on a cold December night, when nearly 200 of our new friends came to share the wonder of the festively lit Christmas trees; the sense of wellbeing that visibly descended over the participants as they lost themselves in learning a new skill at the heritage craft workshops; the sound of djembe drums filling the Minster; the empathy and kindness shown by schoolchildren discussing sanctuary both ancient and contemporary.
Every day we have learned a little more about the Minster, especially its fabric and architecture; there are so many people who have a wealth of knowledge and passion and who want to share it. Thank you! We could spend the next 30 years here and still not know as much as you.
And, just a little secret that we will take away – we have our names etched in the glass of our Minster for ever and we think that that is just the absolute coolest thing!
So, bye and thank you and we’ll no doubt see you sometime soon – Mark has already got us booked in for a volunteering stint at the Christmas tree festival!
Anna and Cathy
Our wonderful plumber/glazier at the Minster has very recently retired. He had superb knowledge and taught Cathy and I so much about the history of the building. We wish him all the best in his retirement. Steve will be incredibly hard to replace. That said, I’d like to put myself forward as a possible candidate for the role. It will give me chance to practise the skills I acquired at our most recent Heritage Workshop. Gill McGinley came all the way from the North East to teach a group of willing participants about the art of stained glass. It was hard to master but incredibly enjoyable, once again all participants had a super day and trotted home clutching their very own piece of stained glass with lead work.
I have complete admiration for the skills and experience of our workshop leaders. It’s safe to say we’ve been lucky to have been joined by some of the best in their craft. We’ve also been joined by superb participants from all walks of life and across a broad range of ages. Here’s a piece of feedback that is simply too good not to share as a part of our blog.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and it exceeded my expectations! Thinking about the reasons for this; I think firstly, I was delighted by the location of the workshop, it could not have been more perfect looking up at the Minster with the peregrines screeching and the bells tolling! Also being out in the fresh air was lovely particularly for those of us (myself included!) who suffer from asthma so the chipping/dust wasn’t an issue. Then Alan was the perfect teacher, gently encouraging and helping but allowing us to really have a go and make our own mistakes. His instruction was superb and I will look out for more workshops by him because I would like to think I’ll continue with this. I think the number of participants and the fact that they were all adults was important to me. I’d recently been through some hard times and I think the fact we were left to completely focus and be absorbed by what we were doing without any distractions was important. It was like therapy lol You had no choice but to be totally in the moment with the stone and I honestly think it was great for mental well-being!”
I don’t think there could be higher praise following the national lockdowns and restrictions, than something being great for mental well-being. These workshops allow immersion and focus, creativity, and expression. They are socially engaging and connect heritage with the modern day. It’s been a pleasure to be able to bring these sessions to people.
This week has been dedicated to schools and engaging pupils in all things sanctuary and heritage. We went out to Wawne Primary School, the children in class 3 produced some amazing artwork which we’re hoping to temporarily display somewhere in the Minster. Keep your eyes peeled! The skill level was amazing and the class had used some of our online teaching resources and had brilliant knowledge of sanctuary at Beverley Minster. Cathy and I were so impressed. We also worked with a group of RE ambassadors in the sanctuary exhibition, examining their views around what a welcome really looks like and the meaning of sanctuary.
All what’s left for me to say is that, sadly, I did not find Elvis! Well not in person anyway. I’ve been willingly sharing my pictures of Graceland with anyone interested so if you see me in the Minster…it’s probably best not to mention Elvis and give me an excuse!
We’ve been thinking about hope recently. About finding the positive, the uplifting and the affirming in what can be a world that can seem full of greed, selfishness and despair.
I was listening to the radio the other day and there was a phone-in about how people have become less anxious and more calm since they stopped listening to the news. I can fully believe that this is true and there is definitely something to be said for the “head in the sand” approach. But… If you don’t know what is going on you can’t protest, you lose your voice, you don’t have an informed position. So we thought we’d tell you about some of the positives that we’ve seen recently so you can keep listening to the news but know that it’s not all bad out there.
Our friend Rob Oldfield ran another amazing gold leaf gilding workshop last Saturday. Just like the other heritage craft workshops that we’ve run, the participants became engrossed in the activity and lost themselves in practising and perfecting the skills that Rob was teaching them. Friends and families worked together to learn and create and have fun.
The people who we have met through these heritage craft workshops have been so lovely and every workshop has been a pleasure to be part of. One memorable lady who we met whilst gilding came armed with a cake and a bottle of prosecco for us all to share because it was her 80th birthday. On arrival, she rolled up her sleeves and helped us move a whole load of tables. I won’t mention her name just in case she’s pretending to still be 79, but Anna and I want to be just like her when we’re 80!
We visited Open Doors recently and took our own mini version of gold leaf gilding with us to share with the Open Doors clients who were dropping by that morning. It was inspiring to look around and see such a community of support – local people giving their time and expertise to do good things and the friendships that were developing. We won’t deny that many people who pass through Open Doors are having a hard time but there is always an awful lot of laughter and positivity as well.
We are excited to tell you about some work that’s been happening with a group of Beverley’s Ukrainian guests and their hosts who meet at the Minster and, under the guidance of local artist Jane Quinn, have been unleashing their artistic talents. Some of the group didn’t even realise they had any artistic talent but, having seen some of their work, I can tell you that they have it in abundance. We are pleased to announce an exhibition of this work in the Minster from Monday 14 to Sunday 27 of November. Please do come along and have a look – some of the work will be available to buy to raise funds for the Minster and Ukrainian charities.
On a personal note of finding the good in life I had a day off the other week and had an invigorating (for “invigorating” read “absolutely bloomin’ freezing”) swim in the North Sea then accidentally came across the beautiful seal colony at Flamborough Head. Simple things but so uplifting.
Anna has ventured further afield and is currently searching for Elvis in Memphis Tennessee. Although this blog has been all about positive thinking and hope you can only go so far; I hate to tell her but I really don’t think she’s going to find him. But rest assured, if he’s alive and well and tucking into a peanut butter and banana sandwich, she’ll let you know. Watch this space…
In the two weeks that have passed since we wrote our last blog we have mourned the loss of Her Majesty the Queen. People across the globe will remember this extraordinary woman for all manner of wonderful reasons. Personally, I have reflected in awe at her unsurpassable sense of duty and devotion to her work. We would like to start this blog by offering our thanks to a truly remarkable monarch for her lifetime of dedication and service.
We decided to progress with the delivery of our heritage workshops. Knowing that Her Majesty was devoted to heritage and culture helped in making this decision a little easier.
We’ve been able to bring people together to learn a skill and connect with others in shared activity. Calligraphy was the first of these workshops, and what a tricky skill to master. Jane, our tutor, had so many fascinating insights into the world of calligraphy and we all got to try our hand at uncial calligraphy. You can see my attempts below; this was much harder than I’d envisaged! Thank you to Jane Jenkins, the feedback was amazing and this session was definitely enjoyed by all.
Our next workshop was stone carving, and what a super day. The Minster provided a beautiful and atmospheric backdrop to the mastering of this traditional skill.
There was a lot of quiet concentration and time for reflection in what has been a nationally reflective time. Alan Micklethwaite really knows stone and his expert instruction led to a group of novice participants taking home their very own carving.
Finally, Cathy and I have led some gilding workshops both for Heritage Open Day and at The Open Doors drop in. We are far from professional gilders but have given participants a taster of this historic craft. We will be joined by the true professional, Rob Oldfield, on Saturday as he guides another keen group of learners through this skill.
Cathy and Anna
Well, as you read this, Cathy and I will be into our second Heritage Open weekend here at Beverley Minster and we’re so happy to be here for this one, which is a complete bonus due to the extension of our project. If it’s raining as you read this, and you’re nestled cosily with your coffee please think of us trailing the secret garden with our hoods up. As people with forest school experience, we are never too perturbed by rain, but a dry day would definitely be our preference.
We launch our heritage craft workshops as a part of the heritage open weekend programme and we kick things off today with a calligraphy workshop. This is something I was obsessed with as a child. My parents bought me a set of pens and I spent ages trying to perfect the art of skilful decorative handwriting. This came at the cost of my lovely bedding set which ended up covered in ink, sorry to my Mum for that! Anyway, I don’t think I ever truly mastered it so I’m hoping for some tips today. There are some beautiful examples of traditional English writing in our sanctuary book, images of which are held by The British Library Board. Some of these can be viewed on the Sanctuary website. In an era where handwriting is becoming almost obsolete, it’s so nice to be able to revisit something so traditional.
Heritage Open weekend is a chance to share some of the Minster’s history and this is led by guides who volunteer their time and a great deal of energy to this. Their knowledge is truly exceptional and in our time on the project we’ve learned so much from these helpful and insightful people. We’ll take this opportunity to thank them for everything they do. If you’re reading this before Sunday 11th September be sure to pop in to Beverley Minster, you can check out what’s going on here Heritage Open Days 2022 >
Anna and Cathy
Sometimes in the Minster, in the midst of all the noise and excitement that often accompanies our job here, we have a moment of calm and we are slightly overwhelmed by what an amazing place we are working in. Not just the people, our colleagues and friends, but our surroundings, the very fabric of the building and the history that it holds. The heritage of a building that is stone, lead, glass, precious metal, wood, but also flesh, blood and stories. Human stories of the people who built the Minster and the people who took shelter here, who slept here, who prayed here, who traded here. All real people with families, hopes, worries and joys.
Who were the people who carved the stone or leaded the glass– the journeymen* who completed their work here and moved on to another building in another part of the country? Who were the people who graffitied their names into the stone, the people who needed to let the world know that they had been here, that they existed? Who were the men who sought sanctuary here? We know from records that they had sometimes committed terrible crimes but what drove them to it, what is their story?
And who is the woman that we can see today lighting a candle? Who is the man deep in prayer or contemplation? Who is the family, hesitant on the doorstep, but encouraged to come in by a smiling Welcomer? They all have their own stories; we are all connected.
We touch on all of these things in the work that we do here with schools and other community groups. We explore the stories, we connect the ancient and the modern. We reconnect with our heritage. And we take time to stop, to think and to feel.
*Thanks to Steve & Dennis (Maintenance Team) – we’re waiting for a pub quiz that asks what “Journeymen” are!
We’re so pleased to announce that our programme of heritage craft workshops is now live and places are booking up quickly! We’ve managed to secure a range of exceptional craftspeople and we feel so lucky that we can host these skilled individuals to share their craft. You can reserve your place here: Sanctuary event tickets. We’re bringing these workshops to you, for just the cost of your refreshments. This is entirely made possible by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. There’s a variety of workshops, and we’re certain that there’s something to suit everyone. Come along and try out some of these wonderful traditional skills. Again, we must thank Mervyn for his hard work in creating the most fantastic promotional materials for the workshops. We don’t know how he does it so quickly but we’re so thankful!
It was lovely to see children completing the sanctuary trail around the Minster this morning. They are always surprised to find out about the history of our beautiful building. Two of the children today spent a long time watching the sanctuary videos and were very surprised to find out about the different crimes committed by the sanctuary men. They couldn’t believe that the Minster once played host to criminals! We’re so pleased that the sanctuary exhibition and the trail for children will continue to engage our young audiences for years to come. This morning was particularly warm and some of our younger guests commented that it was nice to be out of the sun for a while. The Minster definitely provides a cooler alternative to the outdoors in the warmer weather.
Next week we’re running a school holiday workshop! Children aged 5-11 can join us to find out more about the etchings which cover the Minster’s stone and woodwork. Places must be booked by emailing us at email@example.com and children must be accompanied by an adult. We look forward to seeing some of you there next week.
Enjoy the warm weather, stay cool and hydrated and we’ll be back to update you again in a two weeks.
Anna and Cathy
We’re properly into the long school holidays now and we’ve hit the ground running – and dodge-balling, and footballing, and wink-murdering, and air-hockeying – with the children attending the St Mary’s Holiday Scheme.
We always like to work with our sister church when we can and this summer has presented another ideal opportunity. Our main contribution is to run Forest School type activities in the Minster’s Secret Garden. If you’ve never been there you’re missing a treat. It’s a beautiful area, a place of calm, tranquillity and sanctuary. Of course visitors are only able to enjoy this peace due to the digging, planting, chopping, pruning, sowing, mowing and general hard work of Judy and her team of gardeners. We are so grateful that they welcome our groups, knowing that a garden is a place to be lived in and shared whether that’s the Holiday Club children building shelters and creating wild art, or the Children’s Centre hosting a teddy bear’s picnic. The Secret Garden is rarely open to the public but you can come along on September 10 when we’ll be opening it up for Heritage Open Days.
The Minster building itself is also a place to be lived, shared and enjoyed and we were happy to welcome a first visit from our local home schooling group. We explored the heritage of the building, the people and the stories and they plan to bring another group in the next few weeks.
Our Heritage Craft Workshops are just about finalised and we’re very excited. To be honest, we’re a bit sad that we can’t take part in them all but we’ll be on the sidelines, making plenty of cups of tea for participants. Do keep an eye on the Sanctuary Events > page of the Minster website – you’ll need to be quick to book, even if it’s just to make sure Anna and I don’t nab a couple of places!
One more thing that we really do urge you to go to if you can is a concert by the wonderful Cecil Jones and Friends. If you were at his concert in the Minster in May you’ll know that you’re in for a great evening. Cecil has a vision to establish a community-based music centre in his adopted home city of Hull and the concert will raise funds to kick start this amazing project.
To find out more and buy tickets visit https://www.ceciljonesmusic.co.uk/shows
Well, the summer holidays are nearly upon us…again! We’re looking forward to being involved in some summer clubs in which we are hoping to guide a group of youngsters through some outdoor heritage activities here at Beverley Minster. The Sanctuary Trails will be available, free of charge, all summer long for our young visitors to complete.
We are excited to be planning the final phase of the project! Now that restrictions are well and truly lifted, we are able to fully plan our programme of heritage craft workshops. We cannot wait to share the programme with you. We’re just waiting for confirmation from a couple of our chosen craftspeople and then we’ll share! Please do check in SANCTUARY EVENTS to see what’s already confirmed. We are so pleased to bring most of these workshops to you for a nominal fee to cover refreshments. When the programme is announced we expect places to book up quickly, so please keep checking our twitter feed and the website where we will add an announcement date for tickets to go live.
We feel very lucky to be able to work with heritage craft people to bring traditional skills to life and allow members of the public to really have a go! These engaging opportunities have been made possible by the Lottery Heritage Fund. Traditional skills truly are embedded in the very core of our building, Dennis, Steve and Rob still use some of the historic techniques in their repair of the building today. I think Dennis thinks I’m joking when I say I’d quite like to train as a stonemason. I’m fascinated by what he does! However, my head for heights means that it’s unlikely I’ll be turning my hand any time soon.
Time to sign off. Today we welcome another school for a fun packed afternoon of workshops. Our second afternoon of workshops for this week…and in this heat too. Good job the Minster is perhaps the coolest place in Beverley to work!
One of the best things about our roles as Learning & Engagement Officers here at the Minster is that no two days are ever the same and something surprising seems to happen all the time. Let us share a few examples.
On 18 June we ran some workshops for Beverley Civic Society. We decided that the best way for them to know about the content of our schools’ workshops was for them to get hands on and experience them. We were delighted (and maybe a little surprised?) at the enthusiasm with which the members threw themselves into being a 10 year old again. And Anna and I learned so much, from bits of Beverley history to personal stories of flight from persecution. We have been inspired to take these sanctuary stories further so watch this space for an event we hope to organise in the next few months.
A few days later we had a return visit from the lovely Keldmarsh School. Their day with us had an added bit of excitement when Steve, Dennis and Rob were winching baskets of cut stone up into the roof to repair some pinnacles. I don’t think they expected 30 small faces peering up into the roof watching in fascination, but they coped with their surprise audience with good humour.
A couple of days after that, the visitors to the Minster were treated to 55 children all having a play on the Minster organ – luckily under the guidance of Robert rather than us. Again, Anna and I learned so much from Robert’s fascinating presentation and listening to him playing the theme from Star Wars and I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside was a joy for us all.
And earlier today we were at Open Doors, sharing a bit of pom-pom craft with anyone who wanted to sit with us, take a while and get creative. We were intrigued when our new friend Ari took a ball of wool and started to wind, twist and tie. He was making a beautiful tassle. He made it look so simple – the reason being back home in Kazakhstan he was a skilled and accomplished maker of ornate and beautiful decorations for horses. Again, it’s the surprising things that are the most memorable and delightful.
So, another great fortnight. Let’s see what the next few weeks bring!
Throughout this project Cathy and I have asked “What do we really want to achieve in our time here?” Aside from ensuring we achieve the outlined aims of the project, we really do have one consistent answer to this. That is to introduce the heritage of the Minster to a new audience of people and to ensure that they feel welcome. It is really that simple! Just a few weeks ago when out gardening I was paused in my work by an older family friend.
“My granddaughter attended one of the sanctuary visits at the Minster, with her school; she loved it and talked all about it. Then we visited Beverley and she was desperate to go back into the Minster and tell me about everything she had learned. We didn’t have time that day, so I’ve promised to take her for a visit in the summer holidays instead. She did tell me lots about the building though.”
It was wonderful to hear. We aim to inspire our new audiences, including our community group partners, to want to come back, and when they do, we want them to introduce their family and friends and to share in the heritage of this wonderful place.
We have been fortunate to secure a slight extension on the project. Well I say fortunate, but perhaps that is the wrong word as the extension has been necessitated due to covid restrictions! The timing of this project has entirely coincided with the pandemic, with lockdowns, closures, and restrictions. We feel very proud of what we have managed to deliver, but the pandemic has inevitably prevented us from holding as many heritage events as we might have liked. We will now be in post until the end of November and in that time we’d like to bring more workshops of a heritage nature to the Minster. The success of the Gilding Workshop will hopefully be followed up with some family gilding activities during the Heritage Open Day in September. We are also in talks with other craftspeople, to present family-friendly participatory heritage activity, so watch this space.
If you’ve joined Cathy and I for our family craft activities or stories at the library, you’ll know that we sneak some learning about the Minster’s heritage into every event we run. If we can leave this post in November with the feeling that people were welcomed by us and learned something about the story of the Minster, we’ll leave with smiles on our faces.
Another great fortnight for the Learning Team – we were particularly pleased to be able to get back to Open Doors who have opened up again for people to stay and chat after a long closure for covid. We took some craft ideas along and spent Thursday morning getting to know some lovely new people and finding out that origami is really quite tricky.
The rest of our blog is by Rory who has been with us for the last few days on work experience –
“Hi, I’m Rory and I’ve been doing work experience with the Learning Officers. I’ve been here for 5 days and I’ve been doing lots of activities such as Family Craft Sessions in the Minster, a rooftop tour and origami with some people at the Open-Doors refugee centre. I also met Dennis who is a stonemason and learned all about the secrets in the fabric of the Minster. I am coming back on Tuesday to help out with making crowns and paper flower headdresses at a council-run community event in the Saturday Market. I have really enjoyed my time working with Cathy and Anna as they have made me feel very welcome and gone out of their way to educate me and show me all that they do for the Minster and the community”.
Thanks Rory, it’s been great having you – we hope that we were able to show you the variety of work that we do and that work can be fun!
What a fantastic day we had with Cecil Jones & Friends on Saturday! If you managed to get a ticket to the Clafro Jazop concert in the Minster I’m sure you’ll agree that we were treated to a musical extravaganza of song, saxophone, drumming and dance.
There was a real party atmosphere in the Minster – the doors were open to let the sunshine in, children were doing their thing in the aisle, toes were tapping and faces were smiling. Looking down the Nave towards the West Door we were struck by the beautiful diversity of the audience – dress and languages from all over the world including a group of ladies newly arrived from Ukraine. We were happy to see so many of our friends from Open Doors refugee centre come to support Cecil, who as well as being an accomplished musician, is also the Manager of Open Doors. A busy man! We really felt that the whole purpose of our Sanctuary role – to embrace the community and extend a welcome to everyone – was reflected in that audience.
Concert goers had the opportunity to donate to the work of Open Doors. We are happy to say that with your generosity, we raised £110.68 towards their valuable work.
Cecil, Kojo and Flora had run a djembe drumming workshop all afternoon prior to the concert. We learned a lot! Kojo taught us about the history of the drum, Flora spoke to us about the physical and mental health benefits of drumming and Cecil showed us how. Most of us were new to drumming but, under Cecil’s expert tuition we now know our bass, tone and slap; we can Call and Answer and – in the spirit of djembe rock and roll – we can take it to the bridge. We were thrilled (if slightly apprehensive) to then perform what we’d learned to the Minster audience at the start of the concert. I might be biased but I thought we sounded great! Thanks to everyone who took part in the workshop for your enthusiasm and talent.
Thanks also to everyone who helped out at the concert and with the publicity beforehand. We’re quite new to this and the fact that we’d need a sound system hadn’t occurred to us. Thank you so much Ben for coming to our rescue. We really do feel that the Minster family has adopted us and is always there to support and help.
4 May 2022
On Saturday 14 May we’re excited to host a Djembe Drumming Workshop and Claffro/Jazzpop Concert with Cecil Jones. We feel so lucky to be able to work with Cecil and share his skills and talent with a wider audience. Cecil is a musician, singer-songwriter, solo artist and multi-instrumentalist from Freetown, Sierra Leone, who lives in the city of Hull. He started his musical journey in Sierra Leone at the age of twelve, then travelling to the UK where he continued his musical pursuits studying at Morley College and The University of Hull. Cecil plays music from around the world including Jazz, Classical, Pop, Gospel and Traditional. His music relates to his life journey and he has performed with bands and choirs in London and Hull.
Cecil is recognised locally and internationally as a motivator and musical educator. His teaching sessions have always been described as ‘exceptional’ and ‘outstanding.’ He formed the Hull Afro Drum Beats (Had-Beats) in 2018 and has recently expanded his drumming workshops to the wider communities in Hull and other parts of the country. He teaches children and people of all ages.
Cathy and I really can’t wait to bring this afternoon and evening of entertainment to Beverley. An opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people and have loads of fun. The workshop will be practical and participatory, guided by Cecil who leads with infectious enthusiasm. We’re then lucky that Cecil will be staying into the early evening and bringing his unique blend of Afro Jazz and Pop to the Minster. Let the rhythm, the beats and the soul take you to a higher place in Beverley’s most impressive and iconic venue. We welcome families with little ones that don’t want to sit still, people who are keen to move and dance or those who simply want to listen!
The support of the Lottery Heritage Fund has enabled us to provide the workshop entirely free of charge and the concert at a very reduced rate. It’s super to be able to do this and we hope as many people as possible will take benefit from this. The workshop is now nearly full, but there’s plenty of space left for the concert and tickets can be booked here > Cecil Jones Concert – Beverley Minster
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like any further information about this, or any other Sanctuary event.
We can’t wait to report back on the day. I’m hoping to be a drumming expert next time we blog!
5 April 2022
We are being very creative in the Learning Team at the moment. We hosted a session for the pre-schoolers and their parents from the Children’s Centre last week where we played, sang and crafted. Luckily Anna and I were in charge of crafting rather than singing and everyone went home with a cute little handprint chick emerging from an egg. We love the relationship that we’ve developed with the Children’s Centre – it’s always so much fun and so uplifting to watch babies and parents play and learn and connect.
A few days later we ran a school workshop where the children were given the name and the crime of one of the Minster’s real life Sanctuary Seekers. Then, in groups they had the task of creating a backstory for their character, imagining what led them to commit their crime and presenting their character’s case to the rest of the class. They were then judged and their character’s fate sealed. Again, so much creativity and empathy in the stories that were spun, combined with a good dose of Year 5 gore and violence.
Then on Saturday, we got really creative with an all-day gold-leaf gilding workshop run by Rob Oldfield. This was a fantastic day where we were shown how to use real gold leaf to turn the dullest objects into things of splendour. We all learned so much and the group was great – we chatted and shared stories throughout the day – and Rob was so generous with his time, his expertise and the amount of gold he had to give us. Turns out gold leaf is very delicate and blows away easily! We all went home a little bit more sparkly than when we arrived.
We would love to run more heritage craft workshops like this, led by experts in their field. We’d like to hear from you if you either teach a particular craft or have ideas for workshops that you’d like to attend.
Next creativity stop – Easter drop in family sessions in the Minster. Tuesday 12 and Tuesday 19 April, 13.00 – 15.00. We’ll be creating mosaic or tissue paper eggs at the first session and spring paper flowers at the second. There’ll also be a special Easter trail. Drop by, make something lovely and say hello to us. There may even be chocolate…
24 March 2022
What a pleasure it was to welcome schools for two RE Action days at the Minster. Our workshop focused on sanctuary in the modern day, examining what is important to us and what we would choose to take if we were forced to flee our homes in a hurry. The children who visited amazed us with their perception and insight. They thought carefully about their selections and explained their choices. Many reflected on current situations around the world which led into a discussion about how we may welcome those seeking refuge in our country. Here we saw some real empathy which was simply wonderful to witness. As a part of the project we will continue to explore the Minster’s historic and current connection to sanctuary, we look forward to welcoming more schools to work with us in the summer term.
On Saturday we open our doors for a heritage workshop, with gilding specialist Rob Oldfield. Gilding is a decorative technique for applying a very thin coating of gold to solid surfaces. The effect is beautiful and is evidenced in the Minster’s clock which was refurbished just last year by the Cumbria Clock Company. We can however guarantee that there will be no abseiling on Saturday, Cathy and I prefer to keep our feet firmly on the ground! We will be sure to share some photographs of the finished items on the Minster’s twitter feed. We hope to offer more workshops of this nature over the summer months, please keep an eye on the Minster’s what’s on pages of the website for details.
Finally, we are so pleased to have published our school’s packs, they’re ready to pick up and use for self-led school visits and contain a wealth of information about the Minster’s rich history and how this can be used to facilitate visits in line with the national curriculum. Special thanks to Mervyn who worked his publishing magic on our notes and created something we are really proud of.
As always, we are contactable by email if you wish to discuss opportunities for volunteering or anything to do with the project.
10 March 2022
Hello again from the Sanctuary Team, after a fortnight of world events where the term “Sanctuary” has been at the forefront of many people’s minds. How best for governments and individuals to offer sanctuary to desperate people – mainly women and children – fleeing their homes and everything familiar to them, with little more than the possessions they can carry in a small bag?
We told you last week about the lovely event we held in Beverley library where we read stories of Sanctuary. One of those was called The Journey by Francesca Sanna, published by Amnesty International and telling the story of a mother and her children who travel over land and sea, from the country where the children’s father has been killed by war to a place where they hope they will be safe, where they will find sanctuary. It is a moving book, sensitively told and beautifully illustrated but we were aware of it’s potential impact on the children we were reading it to. Little did we know that 5 days later, it’s impact may have been even greater. The impact is felt within the Sanctuary Team also each time Anna gets messages and updates from her family in Ukraine. This is happening to real people with names and families and homes and stories.
Children hear the radio reports, see the news footage, get first hand accounts from social media and they understand that something bad is happening. We believe it is our role, as educators and parents, to both explain and reassure. Not to hide the truth, far from it, but to present it in a way whereby children don’t feel frightened, to provide emotional sanctuary in our own homes and schools.
We are running school workshops in the next few days where children explore what is important to them and why. They have a selection of items laid out – including food, books, clothes, photo albums, toys, medicine, blankets – and a small backpack. They can choose 5 items before they must flee their home, not knowing when they may return. We then discuss why they made those choices. Every day in some part of the world a family is making these decisions but when we run this workshop next week we know that it will seem more raw, more current. We expect to see that the results will be the same – that children are practical, thoughtful and empathetic. And that they want both to receive and to offer sanctuary.
We’ll report back on how these school visits go and if you know of any organisations that would be interested in Sanctuary themed workshops, whether at the Minster or on your own premises, then please do get in touch.
26 February 2022
It’s been a busy two weeks for the Sanctuary project. We really enjoyed a Sanctuary story session at Beverley Library on Saturday, it was fabulous to see so many families. We had lots of fun and made some mess making bird feeders! Half term week has focused on our Sanctuary Trail for Young Explorers, this is a free trail which takes children on a journey around the Minster. There’s a sticker for everyone who completes it, it’s always worth it for a sticker! The trail is available from the welcomers, just ask for a copy. See if you can find all of Robert Thompson’s 11 mice in the Military Chapel.
We’re excited to share some upcoming events with you! We are holding a gold leaf gilding workshop in March and are looking forward to hosting Cecil Jones for a concert in the Minster in May. This concert is suitable for families and Cecil will play a mix of classical afro jazz pop. You can find out more about Cecil on his website www.ceciljonesmusic.co.uk Please check out the Minster events page for more details and tickets.
Are you a teacher? Or do you know anyone that teaches? We’re offering free CPD for teaching staff in April and May at both St Mary’s and Beverley Minster. This is an opportunity to think about how these iconic local churches can inspire children’s learning. These events are bookable on Eventbrite just search Sanctuary Stories Beverley Minster on the Eventbrite home page.
Finally, as always if you have time to spare and are interested in volunteering for the project please contact us to discuss this further.
4 February 2022
Hi, we’re Anna and Cathy and we’re part of the Sanctuary Project. We’re funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to engage with schools, young people and members of our community who have never previously had any contact with the Minster. Basically, what we do is show people that the Minster is at the heart of the Beverley community, their community, where they will be sure of a friendly welcome even if they have another faith or none at all; if English isn’t their first language; if they are visiting with a brood of excited children; if they feel marginalised by other parts of society; if they want to learn, to be inspired and to be moved. In short, we aim to continue to make the Minster a place of sanctuary to a whole new audience.
We’re doing this by getting out into the community to visit local groups. We’ve forged relationships with the Children’s Centre, Beverley and Hull schools, Open Doors refugee centre, Cherry Tree youth group and preschool and plenty more. We sometimes take outreach activities into the community – we’ve made decorations at Cherry Tree; we’ve read stories at the library; we’ve frozen our toes off making craft with passers by at the St John 1300 event and the Christmas market; we’ve packed food parcels at Open Doors. And we’ve had a great reception wherever we’ve been.
But what we really love is when these groups come out to visit us at the Minster and are amazed and inspired by what they see. We’ve had baby groups printing their feet in the south transept (on paper!); school groups investigating the graffiti in the retroquire; youth groups exploring the Minster in the atmospheric darkness (and asking if they can come back for more – next time in the roof); and perhaps our favourite event so far, a reception for 170 of our new friends to view the Christmas trees and share hot chocolate and mince pies with us.
We’ve got plenty more in the pipeline and we’d love to extend our welcome and invitation to the whole Beverley community. Keep a look out for gold-leaf gilding workshops in March, djembe drumming in May, a celebration of food from around the world in June and much much more. We’ll continue to write a regular blog as well letting you know what we’ve been up to.
If you are involved with any group at all who you think would enjoy the events and workshops we provide we would love to hear from you.
Sadly – because we are absolutely loving what we do – this is a short term project and we are already half way through. We finish in June and we have built something that we would be very sad to see not continue. If you would like to join us and help to ensure that these community initiatives continue to thrive, please just drop us a line. You need nothing more than a friendly face, a welcoming attitude and a willingness to pitch in to be part of the project.
Cathy Thornton: email@example.com
Anna Knowles: firstname.lastname@example.org