CMS Link Visit to Dewsbury, W. Yorkshire

From mills to minster ~ Dewsbury used to be famous for its mills, now it’s the minster that has pride of place in the town.  Actually there’s been a place of worship there ever since about AD 627 when Paulinus came to visit and soon the ancient minster parish covered 400 miles all across northern England….

These days Dewsbury has a large Asian community, mostly Muslim, and Dewsbury Minster is the designated Christian Interfaith Centre for the area, so lots of groups come to learn about the Christian faith.  In the mid 1990’s the minster was completely reorganized – the east end was converted into a refectory, exhibition area, shop, counseling rooms, office, prayer chapel and all sorts of meeting rooms.  It is fantastic ~ and much used by the church and community for all sorts of events and outreach.

Dewsbury Team Parish have been supporting CMS for many years, in fact in the church history booklet there’s a whole section devoted to Dewsbury’s early connections with CMS ~ in 1813, vicar John Buckworth set up in Dewsbury the first CMS association outside London. He also helped train missionaries for service overseas, in 1815 two of them were sent out by CMS as the first priest missionaries to North India, and 2 more were sent to South India the following year.

So here I am at Dewsbury Minister, thanking the clergy and congregation for their wonderful support ~ and it goes back many years.  Back to before the church was reordered under the previous rector, John Hawley.  In fact, I knew the present rector, Kevin Partington and his wife Sandra as church members of Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield 20 years ago – and they haven’t changed a bit, as lovely as ever!

Today is Passion Sunday ~ we had 10:30am Morning Worship…..

And 6:30pm Team Parish Holy Communion…..

Dewsbury Minster’s music is amazing, the organist and choir are very special.  And the building is great.  If I lived in Dewsbury, I’d be there all the time!  The UK HQ of Reach Beyond, a Christian organization involved in Radio Planting and Medical Mission overseas, are nearby in Bradford, and their CEO, Colin and his wife Dawn belong to Dewsbury Minster ~ and so does Mike, who works for a Christian radio station broadcasting locally, so he got me interviewed for his broadcast…..

Grateful thanks to everyone!  Especially Anne for such a warm welcome and hospitality, Kevin and Sandra for a delicious lunch, Mike for his interview, Richard for his church history booklet and guided tour, and to everyone for all your support over the years! Oh yes, and I mustn’t forget Mary, who turned up once in Taiwan to see me, totally out of the blue. This time she brought me some party poppers.  I like her style ~ spontaneity at its best!

Thank you Dewsbury Team Parish, such a great group of people ~ you are all AMAZING!

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