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|Church of St Michael and All Angels|
and St Benedict Biscop
|OS grid reference|
|Status||"Civic church" (extra-parochial former parish church)|
|Heritage designation||Grade II* listed|
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 & All Angels' 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 & All Angels 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, but not all parts of the former church were lost.
In 1998, following the grant of City status, the church was redesignated as ‘Sunderland Minster’: the second Minster church in England since the Reformation (following Dewsbury Minster in West Yorkshire in 1994).
It is a Grade II* listed building.
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".