ST MARY Magdalene Church has been officially confirmed as Taunton Minster today (March 13).

The historic event was marked by a special service held this morning at 10am at the 700-year-old church.

The designation of St Mary Magdalene as a Minster, which was first proposed by local councillors, has been six years in the planning.

Sue Lees, Mayor of Taunton, David Fothergill, leader of Somerset County Council, Peter Clayton, vice-chairman of Somerset County Council, and MP Rebecca Pow also attended.

Somerset County Gazette:
Pictured left to right are Revd Tobie Osmond, David Fothergill, leader of Somerset County Council, Peter Clayton, vice-chairman of Somerset County Council, and Sue Lees, Mayor of Taunton

The Rt Revd Ruth Worsley previously said: “I am delighted to confirm the status of St Mary Magdalene’s as a Minster, which will see them play a more active role in not only bringing together and supporting the whole town but also the wider area.

“I know that the Minster community will do all it can to both care for those in need and support those striving for a positive future for the town.”

Somerset County Gazette:

The Revd Tobie Osmond, Vicar at St Mary Magdalene, said: “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.”

Somerset County Gazette:
MP Rebecca Pow also attended the service

Rebecca Pow, MP for Taunton Deane said: "For centuries, St Mary Magdalen has been right at the heart of the life and faith of Taunton and is a place where people have always gathered to listen, to share and support in time of celebration and sorrow. 

"This Minster has been some years in the making - and having supported it from the outset I am delighted that the parish church is now conferred with the status of Minster.

"It is a great accolade for our county town and I was honoured to be part of the Minster making ceremony.

"And whilst it was a joyous occasion there was of course a note of sadness as we reflected on the terrible atrocities in Ukraine but I know that Taunton Deane will rise to the challenge and do all that we  can, through the Minster and many other outlets, to support those affected by the crisis and prepare to welcome refugees."

Somerset County Gazette:

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.

St Mary’s will continue with its functions as a parish church 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.