|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2012)|
|Church of St Michael and All Angels
and St Benedict Biscop
|OS grid reference||NZ393570|
|Status||"Civic church" (extra-parochial former parish church)|
The Minster Church of St Michael and All Angels and St Benedict Biscop (commonly known as Sunderland Minster) is a church in Sunderland city centre, England. It was known as St Michael's Church, serving the parish of Bishopwearmouth, but was renamed on 11 January 1998 in recognition of Sunderland's city status. In May 2007 the Minster ceased to act as the parish church of Bishopwearmouth. It is one of the Greater Churches.
A Church dedicated to St Michael has stood on this site for over a thousand years. For most of that time, it has been known as ‘Bishopwearmouth Parish Church’. The parish of Bishopwearmouth, south of the River Wear was founded in around 940AD, with an original stone church being built shortly afterwards. The first evidence of a church on the site arose in a 1930s excavation when Saxon stones were found. Due to colliery subsidence, the church was virtually re-built beyond recognition in the early 20th century.
In 1998, following the grant of City status, the Church was redesignated as ‘Sunderland Minster’: possibly the first Minster Church in England since the Reformation.
In May 2007, with the adoption of Benedict Biscop as Sunderland’s Patron Saint, the church was redesignated as an Extra Parochial Place with the addition of St Benedict Biscop in its title.
Role of the Minster
Until May 2007 the team of ministers carried out traditional parish duties as well as serving the city by hosting services of remembrance, providing chaplaincies for the retail and industrial workforces in the city centre, as well as being used by the University chaplaincy. It continues to play host to special services and worship events for the whole city, as it did for many years as Bishopwearmouth Parish Church. In 2007 the Minster ended its parish role, and these functions were transferred to the Parish Churches of St Nicholas and St Ignatius. Since then the Minster describes itself as "A church for the whole City".
The Minster has a mixed SATB choir, with Juniors, that performs at the Sunday 10am Eucharist and also at 6pm Evensong on the 3rd Sundays of the month.