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Hull Minster's vicar 'staggered' by 1,500% rise in visitors

Sun 13 Jan 2019
By Alex Williams

The vicar of recently-rejuvenated Hull Minster has told Premier he is "delighted" and "staggered" by a 1,500 per cent increase in visitors.

Figures reveal remarkable growth since 2009 - when leaders feared dwindling congregations and reserves might force the landmark to close.

Dr Neal Barnes said: "When we get visitors coming through, it's an opportunity to build a relationship. It's an opportunity for people to have an encounter with Jesus even if they're quite sure that's what they're getting...

 

"Therefore, from those relationships, you do start to build an outreach programme, an opportunity for discipleship and bringing people to faith."

Approximately 225,000 visited or attended events at the 14th century church - while only 14,000 guests were recorded in 2010.

Exhibitions proved particularly successful for Hull Minster, with 82,000 people coming to see a seven-metre lunar model installed as part of the Museum of the Moon attraction.

 

A further 25,000 and 20,000 people attended the Ship of the Gods installation and an Armistice Day ceremony respectively.

While Hull Minster is still expects to report a "high five-figure" deficit this year, the uptick in interested among visitors has boosted donations.

Holy Trinity Hull/Twitter

 

Leaders say they have sought to be "a bit pioneering and taking a few risks" in permitting a variety of events in recent years, including fashion shows real ale festivals.

Dr Neal added: "It would not feel right to have things involving adult material in films or anything that conflicted overtly with the Christian gospel.

 

"But we try and say 'yes' to events, in the sense we want to build community. We want to be salt and light."

The Minster has been able to host more events since undergoing improvements worth £4.5 million.

Click here to listen to Premier's Alex Williams speaking with Dr Neal Barnes:

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