Hundreds of church-goers from across Yorkshire joined bishops, civic dignitaries and community leaders as Leeds Parish Church officially became a minster.
Representatives from cathedrals and minsters across the north of England attended the special service of dedication at the Parish Church of St Peter’s, also known as Leeds Parish Church, in Leeds city centre.
At the service, religious leaders lit incense and received candles of prayer from other minster churches, including Dewsbury, Doncaster, Halifax, Beverley and Rotherham.
The church and the congregation were also blessed with holy water, with church leaders signing a document vowing to serve the city of Leeds.
Welcoming guests to the historic church, the Rector of Leeds, the Reverend Canon Tony Bundock, said the service was “only something that happens once every 1,000 years” and “a chance to affirm the church’s saxon heritage”.
A procession followed, featuring the Dean of Leeds Cathedral, the Right Rev Monsignor Philip Moger, and the Dean of Wakefield Cathedral, the Very Rev Jonathan Greener.
Visiting bishops included the Bishop of Doncaster, the Right Rev Peter Burrows; the Right Rev Colin Buchanan and the Right Rev Stephen Oliver, who was the first Rector of Leeds from 1990 to 1997.
The Right Rev John Packer, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, led prayers during the service, which also featured readings from the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Ann Castle, and Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for West Yorkshire, Dr Ingrid Roscoe.
The service ended with a rousing rendition of the English national anthem, before the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds unveiled the new minster sign.
He said: “Leeds Parish Church has a long and distinguished history at the heart of Christian ministry in Leeds.
“The establishing of minster status affirms the importance of its role in God’s mission to the whole of the city.”
‘Minster’ is a title given to honour particular churches, which was widespread in Anglo Saxon England and has undergone a recent resurgence.
Over the past 20 years, churches in Dewsbury, Rotherham, Halifax and Grimsby have all become minsters.