Parks and Gardens
01 Mar 2022
Already the civic church for the town, St Mary’s, the church with the tall tower at the end of Hammett Street, will continue with its functions as a parish church as it has for over seven hundred years but will now also support the ministry of the Anglican Diocese of Bath and Wells in the area, in a manner similar to that of Bath Abbey in the north.
Bishop Ruth says, "I am delighted to confirm the status of St Many Magdalene's as a Minster, which will see them plas a more active role in not only bringing together and supporting the whole town but also the wider area. It comes at a time when Taunton, like the rest of the UK, is dealing with the challenge of recovering from the Covid pandemic, but it is also a time of hope and positivity for the future, as illustrated with the Taunton’s new status as a Garden Town. I know that the Minister community will do all it can to both care for those in need and support those striving for a positive future for the town.”
The designation of St Mary Magdalene as a Minster, which was first proposed by local councillors, has been six years in the planning and goes hand in hand with the development of Taunton as a Garden Town.
The Revd Tobie Osmond, Vicar at St Mary Magdalene says, “Historically churches have been centres of community and it is our aim to re-energise this tradition by creating a forum where people from diverse backgrounds with differing opinions can meet and learn from each other. The aim is to build bridges for a stronger community where people are better neighbours, newcomers feel more welcome, and Taunton and its hinterland become more inclusive.”
With its new designation, Taunton Minster will organise and host training events and conferences and continue with special services which reflect civic and cultural concerns for the church community, but the change doesn’t stop there. A Taunton Minster Council is being established representing arts organisations, local business, the charity and voluntary sector, police, educational establishments, local authorities, the Youth Parliament, health, recreation and sport, as well as Taunton’s wider religious communities.
In a special service on Sunday, 13 March, St Mary Magdalene church in Taunton will officially be confirmed as Taunton Minster by the Bishop of Taunton, the Right Revd Ruth Worsley.