Archbishop celebrates rededication of abbey

File photo dated 08/10/09 of the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date date: Saturday November 5, 2011. The Archbishop of York has attacked the salaries of top executives saying huge differences between the rich and poor 'weaken community life and make societies less cohesive". Dr John Sentamu, the second most important figure in the Church of England, said excesses in the financial sector have helped to create huge inequalities in wealth, "demonstrating how scandalously unfair our society is". See PA story POLITICS Archbishop. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
File photo dated 08/10/09 of the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date date: Saturday November 5, 2011. The Archbishop of York has attacked the salaries of top executives saying huge differences between the rich and poor 'weaken community life and make societies less cohesive". Dr John Sentamu, the second most important figure in the Church of England, said excesses in the financial sector have helped to create huge inequalities in wealth, "demonstrating how scandalously unfair our society is". See PA story POLITICS Archbishop. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
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THE Archbishop of York was swapping the grandeur of York Minister for a much smaller treasure yesterday (Wednesday) when he led a service of rededication at Beauchief Abbey in Sheffield.

Dr John Sentamu visited the small, picturesque chapel, off Abbey Lane, after its programme of restoration.

He was due to meet builders, conservation workers and members of the congregation, including 91-year-old Joan Rawson, who has been worshipping at the church since the age of four.

The abbey was started by monks in 1183. After it was dissolved by Henry VIII, the small chapel and tower were restored in the 1660s.

Since the start of the 17th century, the building has been run by its congregation, who rely on a rota of volunteer priests to lead the weekly services.

It was given to the City of Sheffield in 1932 and over the past year the council has renewed the guttering, plastering and pointing, while the congregation has contributed new heating, lighting and decoration.

During the restoration, traces were discovered of medieval painting and a stone doorway leading to the tower was uncovered.

While the church has been closed, the 55 members of the congregation, who organise services, open the church for visiting, promote heritage events and concerts and co-ordinate baptisms, marriages and funerals, have worshipped in a nearby barn.

The Archbishop’s visit was to celebrate the completion of the renewal and to send out the message that Beauchief Abbey has resumed its life of weekly services and the welcoming of visitors.