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New Festival of Faith launched this Lent by Halifax Minster

First published on: 5th February 2024

Halifax Minster is launching a new annual, outward-facing Festival of Faith in a bid to make the traditional festival of Lent as accessible to as many people as possible.

The new festival will run from Ash Wednesday through to Easter Day and include a wide variety of genres including film, live music, concerts and visiting preachers in conversation and poetry as well as the traditional scripture, services and prayers.

Vicar of Halifax Minster, Rev Canon Hilary Barber said: “The Festival is outward facing, as we are looking to draw people from outside the Minster, who may not usually think of visiting us to come and experience this common ground yet sacred meeting place with God.

“It will run throughout Lent and the idea is to reinforce the message that the Minster is a place for everyone, not just people of the Christian faith but people of other faiths and people on no faith as well. Our doors are open to everyone and we hope that this Festival will have something for everyone to enjoy.”

Highlights include a screening of the 1998 film, The Truman Show starring Jim Carrey, which explores the power of the media, relationships and what it means to be free.

There will also be a welcome return for Halifax Choral Society performing Music for Springtime, a creation-themed evening, and the Yorkshire String Quartet will perform during an afternoon of poetry.

Visiting pilgrims include The Rt Revd Smitha Prasadam, born in South India to missionaries and consecrated as Bishop of Huddersfield last year.

Bishop Smitha will hold aseries of public conversations around faith that will feature Zara Mohammed, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, Major General Zac Stenning, Commandant of the Royal Academy Sandhurst and Colonel of the Yorkshire Regiment and the Hon Sir Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the All Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society.

Mindfulness, spirituality and mental health will also be topics to be explore during the conversations.

The Festival gets underway on Ash Wednesday, February 14 with a Eucharist and Imposition of Ashes service with the preacher, The Ven Bill Braviner, Archdeacon of Halifax.

Throughout the Festival, the Minster Choir will perform every Sunday morning and afternoon music to accompany the liturgy.

Canon Barber (right) added: “The Festival ends with the drama of Holy Week, recalling the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as we strive beyond the darkness of this present time, and look for hope in the future of God’s Kingdom. Please come along and enjoy what we are confident will become a well-loved annual festival for the people of Halifax and beyond."

Halifax Minster is open daily and pictured above is the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, preaching at the 300th Anniversary Service for Rishworth School. For the full programme of the Festival of Faith, please visit


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