Like most churches, York Minster depends on volunteers to provide much of the labour that needs to be done. The tasks though for the 500 volunteers can be rather different from what you would find in most churches.
I’ve never been asked to give a guided tour of my church, though on occasion I have informally shown newcomers the building. At York Minster it is far more formal. The guides all take a course before they are allowed to serve. Which makes sense – there is so much rich history to impart that a tour could easily take hours and not cover all that there is to see. My guess is that the guides are told what the highlights are that should be part of every tour and then they get to personalize the rest. (Just so you know, the guides on Parliament Hill in Ottawa work that way. They have a huge training binder with far more facts than can be squeezed into a 45-minute tour.)
I realized today that the only drawback to my tour of York Minster was that I wasn’t taking notes. It was richly entertaining and informative, but I look at some of the pictures and am not quite sure what the significance is. I know at the time it was important and there was a story involved, but I can’t remember what it was. Sorry about that. I’ll take notes on my next visit.
With that said, I’m going to share just a few pictures to give you a flavour of what you will see if you take the tour.