One Voice launched the York Christian Heritage Walk on 26th October 2005. York is the next most visited English City after London, and there are many walks offered to see the sights. York is a tourist’s dream and for that reason we believe it is important to reach out to the 2 1/2 million + visitors our city gets each year.This newest of the tourist attractions in York is a vehicle to undertand the great history of the Christian Church in our city .
Over 30 Christian Leaders went on the inaugural walk. To say that Iwe were bowled over was an understatement. Doug Greenfield, who first suggested the idea just over a year ago has with his team developed the best researched and most interesting city tour to be seen in years.
Starting at the south entrance to York Minster we started with the statue of Constantine, Roman Emperor who was born in York and also elevated to Emperor here. It was Constantine that made it legal for Jesus Christ to be called ‘Lord’. Previously it was illegal to call anyone other than Caesar ‘Lord’. As Paul said :
if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom 10:9 NIV)
This event effectively legalised Christianity.
The tour took in references to the great Bible translator Coverdale, we saw the steps that George Fox was thrown down outside the Minster and we also heard much about the Quaker influence on the city through the Rowntrees.
We visited that great ancient keep of Clifford’s Tower and heard of the great company of Jews that were massacred or committed suicide there (whichever version of history you believe).
It was really interesting to see the Tempest Anderson Hall where Billy Graham first spoke in England on April 25th 1946. This was some 8 years before the famous crusades that 2 million people visited and where over 38000 conversions were recorded in Harringay. In our company there was actually a man who had been there that night!
Also we were introduced to the old cinema containing a ballroom where Principal George Jeffreys first preached in York, and where the Evening Press recorded the piles of crutches left from the healed people. We also saw the Elim church he inaugurated where 200 people were baptised on opening day in 1935.
What else can I say about F B Meyer, DL Moody and Ira Sankey? John Wesley and George Whitefield? The exciting stories of the exploits of these great Christians were riveting as we stood and listened in the pleasant autumnal air and inviting sunshine of York.
As we completed our tour outside St Michael le Belfrey, back in the shadow of York Minster, we heard of the great contribution to the life of York and the worldwide ministry of David Watson. The church he left is still full today and ministering to hundreds of York Christians every week.
The York Christian Heritage Walk starts from the statue of Constantine outside York Minster. The walk is £3 for adults (children go free), and runs at the same time every Wednesday until April 5th 2006. After this date a more frequent summer schedule starts. Numbers are limited to 15 per walk, so please book by ringing York (01904) 738490 / 423277 / 758208 or 622100.