Minster Office: 0191 565 4066

Archive for 2015

Advent Sleepout challenge December 4th

Advent Sleepout challenge December 4th

Take on the the Advent Sleepout Challenge to help end homelessness and poverty in the North East.

One night can change everything. Could you give up one night of comfort so that someone else won’t have to?

Advent Sleepout Challenge, an exciting new event, launches this year with two charities that provide essential and life-changing support to homeless people across the North East: Church Urban Fund and Depaul UK. Both charities are committed to fighting homelessness and other forms of poverty across the UK.

On Friday 4th December 2015, Church Urban Fund and Depaul UK are inviting Christian communities across the North East of England to join them in giving up a night of comfort in a unique response to advent.

People are being asked to come together to share the experience of sleeping out to raise money for Depaul’s North East ‘Nightstop’ emergency accommodation service and Church Urban Fund’s Together Network working locally.

Sleepouts will be taking place at Sunderland Minster, St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle and the Holy Trinity Church Centre, Middlesbrough.

Today there are still hundreds of vulnerable people in the North East who find themselves homeless and marginalised often through no fault of their own. You can help us to support those who may be struggling with debt, homelessness, isolation, addiction, abuse or violence.

It is estimated that on any one night 35 people sleep rough across the North East Region  and this figure does not take into account for the fact that approximately 62% of single homeless people are hidden and may not show up in official figures. As well as this, there are 8.8 million people that are struggling with problem debt.

The hope is that this will be a refreshing approach to advent that will allow people to reclaim what advent means to them whilst they take part in a different kind of giving this Christmas.

Advent Sleepout Challenge invites you to swap your bed for a sleeping bag and stone floor and experience what will be a unique and inspiring night.

For more information or to join a sponsored sleepout in your area please email:

All we are saying

Currently on show in the Minster are art works by a range of artists on the theme of peace.

All We are Saying is a programme developed by Sunderland Minster and local acclaimed artist Barrie West, based on the premise of Artists for Peace. The project is a non-partisan, non-religious, non-political creative statement for peace – whether that is cohesion, acceptance and understanding within local communities or peace at a global level.

The project is entirely not for profit and most artists are participating without payment; offering their time and expertise as in kind support to a programme they see as valuable to society and Sunderland.  A number of other cities around the UK (including Liverpool and Newcastle), Europe (cities in Germany and Netherlands) and the world (Japan) are also participating – with Sunderland acting as lead hub.

Alongside the development of the artists’ work, Sunderland residents will be able to take part in the project through the ‘postcards for peace’ initiative, and by making a dove or crane for the installation of ‘a thousand . . . ‘ which will be built up over the period of the exhibition.

Sunderland Summer Special

Summer special      Sunderland Summer Special – Children’s Holiday Club for children and their parents from 0 to 11 years old will run each Tuesday in August from 10 am to 1 pm.

Games, music, crafts, stories and food. The cost is £1 per family and to register please contact 0191 565 4066

Sunderland – a modern European city

A new exhibition starts in the Minster on 20th March showing photography highlighting the changing face of Sunderland over the last eight years – a quiet transformation with new public buildings, business centres, outdoor spaces and eco-friendly housing – commissioned and built by the City Council and its partners. Photographed over three months by Steve Mayes an architectural photographer based in the North East.

The exhibition is open Monday to Friday 9 am to 3pm and Saturday 10 am to 3pm and entry is free

I wonder when you last looked a stranger in the eye

I wonder when you last looked a stranger in the eye – and what did you see? We are great at catching people’s eyes and looking away again, and we can be a fearful if someone we don’t know holds our gaze. It can be an expression of power or control; can be intended to bully or stop us in our tracks momentarily.
If we never look someone in the eye, even briefly, then we never really touch them, or allow them to touch us. It is the most intimate of things to do, and can be the most healing of gestures – to really look at someone as we thank them for serving us; to look with concern at someone in pain or difficulty; to look and smile, which will often bring out a smile in return. Jesus spotted a woman who had been doubled over, quite unable to stand upright, for eighteen years. He spoke to her; I think he must have looked her in the eye, which meant twisting his own body to see her cast down face, and he spoke words of healing to her; and only then did he lay his hands on her.
The eyes are the window of the soul they say. The eyes of the portraits of Big Issue sellers and homeless people follow us around the Minster at the moment. They are raised up to our eye level, so we don’t have to twist our bodies to engage with them. They speak powerfully of life and experience; they offer us a new perspective on the world. If you have a moment in the next couple of weeks come in and take a look; more importantly, catch the eye of a stranger today – and allow to catch yours. It will be a moment of deep human contact, and it could heal you both.

NOMADS – our invisible neighbours

nomad From Thursday 19th February until Friday 13th March we are hosting an exhibition of 10 5 feet by 3 feet portraits done by Simon A Yorke. The portraits are all of homeless people he encountered outside the Tate Modern  and the mono-chromatic palette is representational of the urban grime these people encounter daily when they live on the streets. There is colour in the eyes only because we often avoid eye contact with the homeless, who beg on the streets.

Simon has been a professional artist for over a decade, exhibiting in Liverpool, London and Paris and his images have been used world wide. Simon is the chairman of the Independents Liverpool Biennial and has been involved with the festival since returning to Liverpool after his Post graduate studies at Central Saint Martins in 2007.

The Gap

Don’t forget The Gap starts next Tuesday (27th) at Sunderland Minster. Follow TheGapSunderland @TheGapMinster on Twitter for updates, and to pose your questions to Bishop Paul and his guests at the events next week.

Bishop Paul and Footprints Theatre Company will stage a series of mini ‘soap’ dramas at Sunderland Minster, taking a different theme on each of five days. The evening events will also include an invited guest with special interest in the events subject matter.

  • Food – January 27 (Guest – Margaret Vaughan – former CEO Traidcraft)
  • Image – January 28 (Guest – Martin & Mel Stand – Darlington Area Churches Youth Ministry)
  • Money –  January 29 (Guest – Lesley Richardson – CEO Prince Bishops Community Bank)
  • Life & Death – January 30 (Guest – Ruth Plummer – Oncologist to Sir Bobby Robson)
  • Relationships – January 31 (Guest – Matt Wilson – Social Activist)

The events are free and open to all.  Lunchtime events last half an hour starting at 12.15pm – sandwiches available. Evening events are longer, starting at 7.00pm, refreshments available.

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