Canon Hilary Barber: It's all change across Calderdale

The Minster belongs to the whole community, and while the Christian community are the custodians, this event demonstrates that The Minster is both sacred space and common ground. Photo: AdobeStockThe Minster belongs to the whole community, and while the Christian community are the custodians, this event demonstrates that The Minster is both sacred space and common ground. Photo: AdobeStock
The Minster belongs to the whole community, and while the Christian community are the custodians, this event demonstrates that The Minster is both sacred space and common ground. Photo: AdobeStock
​​I’m guessing most people are already bored to death by the general election, especially coming on the back of the local elections last month?

By Canon Hilary Barber, Vicar of Halifax Minster

For political parties of all shades it’s been a continuous slog of campaigning and walking the streets, to try and catch that final vote that either takes their party into power or takes the local seat in opposition.

It’s all change across Calderdale with both Craig Whittaker Conservative MP for Calder Valley and Holly Lynch Labour MP for Halifax standing down.

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I want to publicly thank both of them for their public service over the last ten years, having fought three elections and served as local members of parliament.

Craig serving the Conservative Party and in government, and Holly serving the Labour Party in numerous shadow roles, and recently as deputy whip.

They of course have been supported by their offices both locally and in parliament, with a staff team to provide the help and support for constituents, while they are in London, keeping the show on the road.

It has been a team effort for both members of parliament. Both deserve a well-earned rest.

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Holly as she has announced, is going on to give birth to her second child, and to enjoy the challenge of parenthood and spending a bit more time on the school run. I hope we haven’t seen the last of Holly Lynch and that when she’s ready, she will have much more to contribute to our civic life here in Calderdale and across West Yorkshire.

June sees the return of the Piece Hall and The Minster Summer Festivals.

We need to support both the Piece Hall and The Minster, as both make significant contributions to life here in Calderdale, as places of heritage and of culture.

Both places are challenging to run financially, providing free open access to the public, yet needing to both pay their way, with the upkeep of a Grade I listed building, and wages to pay.

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We both have the same issues with the Piece Hall having to raise the largest sum of money each and every year.

We all gain from the visitor numbers, especially when people stay overnight, and the hotels and restaurants fill up quickly, boosting the sustainability of the whole borough.

Heritage and culture is the new economy, sitting alongside financial services, and many small SMEs, all of which make Calderdale the attractive place it is to live and work.

In the Minster Summer Festival we have tried to offer some free events, recognising the cost of living crisis that some of our residents are locked into.

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The most expensive event is the Fleetwood Mac performance from Paradox Orchestra on Saturday, June 29 at 7pm.

This is a new professional orchestra for Yorkshire, and needs our full support, as it tries to get itself established, across the region.

In the afternoon at 2pm they are running a free Inspire event with a concert by a saxophone quartet.

This year we are hosting a Festival of Nasheed on Friday, July 5. This event recognises the contribution by the South Asian community to our common life, and will celebrate poetry and song from Islamic cultures.

The Minster belongs to the whole community, and while the Christian community are the custodians, this event demonstrates that The Minster is both sacred space and common ground.