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Godalming welcomes new Minster

Sunday 14 January witnessed a historic moment for the Godalming area as Bishop Andrew Watson led a service at the new Godalming Minster on Godalming’s Church Street.  

Local police, school leaders, voluntary group leaders, MP for Southwest Surrey Jeremy Hunt, the Mayors of Waverley and Godalming, local councillors and the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey Michael Molyneux joined Rector Simon Taylor, the Bishops of Guildford and Dorking and the clergy team in an informal procession from the Pepperpot to the church before the service started.  

Associate Vicar Sheila Samuels opened the service and set the scene for an hour of worship which encompassed the diversity of styles and people that Godalming Minster gathers in.  From roof-raising choral anthems and rousing hymns led by the choir, to foot-tapping, and raising worship songs led by Rev Simon Willetts and the band. The music provided the lift-off.  

While the children left for some lively and engaging prayer activity, Bishop Andrew gave a sermon sharing about the sacrifice and risk undertaken by the parishes involved in forming Godalming Minster and the need for us to orbit our lives around Jesus, rather than revolving life around us.  

Community leaders were invited to welcome the Minster to Godalming and shared their commitment to work together for the good of the community.

The Mayor of Godalming, Adam Duce, commented that he’d not been in a service quite like it! The children returned to let off 50 giant party poppers and enjoy the cake. “It was a bit messier than I expected!” remarked Rev Simon Taylor, showing the creativity of the members of the Minister. 

The Minster Launch service took place in one of the oldest, and certainly largest buildings in Godalming. St Peter & St Paul’s is a historic landmark which will inevitably be a flagship for Godalming Minster. But the Minster is not about one building or even the four churches that it unites.

The adage that “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” is fitting, as each church, hosting multiple congregations and sharing Jesus’ care and love in the community will be just as much Godalming Minster as the other.

St Peter’s Hambledon has been at the centre of its rural community, emitting God’s love and teaching to its special village for centuries; Busbridge Church Brighton Road is known for its vibrant and contemporary approach to worship and spirituality; and St Mark’s Franklyn Road runs the Godalming Foodbank. St Mark’s also celebrates 90 years of service this year at the heart of Ockford Ridge and Aaron’s Hill.

So, Godalming Minster is a community, sharing the goal to serve the community and lead people to follow Jesus, love people and refresh what it means to be church.

For information on Sunday services, groups and activities for all ages, needs and interests, and how to get involved, look up Godalming Minster online.


What’s a Minster?

For 1,000 years Minsters served wide areas with a heart for God’s mission to care for all people. A Minster was a dynamic innovative community of Christian worship, rooted in Scripture, making sense of the World in a way which showed love and compassion. Ministers were hospitals, supported the local economy, developed pubs for safe low alcohol drinking, provided education, community support and alleviated poverty. They preached Christ and lived it daily around a pattern of prayer and praise.

What is your Godalming Minster?

Godalming Minster is a centre of love and care, serving and creating community, wellbeing and hospitality, breaking down barriers; spiritual nourishment and teaching about the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and God our loving Father. 

Godalming Minster is a community which seeks to follow Jesus, love people and renew Christian faith in a way which makes a good difference in our lives and the lives of others. We represent people from many walks of life, backgrounds, ethnicities, political views, employment routes, incomes, places we live, where we work and what we do for hobbies.  Our mission is expressed in groups and activities for every age and stage, for those with particular interests and those with particular needs, touching all areas in our wonderful community.  If you are open, Godalming Minster is for you, for life.


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