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Our History


 

One Voice York – builds relationships between Christian leaders, Churches, and Ministries in the city of York through prayer, mission and collaboration.

 

What does One Voice York believe?

One Voice York unites around the Apostles Creed

 

What is One Voice York?

One Voice York is registered charity and the umbrella organisation of those churches in York who connect together in prayer, mission and social action. It is also a voice and a point of contact for those churches & ministries.

 

Who are One Voice York?

One Voice York is a large network of church leaders, and leaders of associated ministries, across the denominations and traditions in the city of York.

 

What does One Voice York do?

One Voice York prays together each Wednesday morning – a group rooted in agreement and relationship rather than tradition or compromise. One Voice also organises events, releases and supports ministries and social action projects in the city. Examples from our past:

  • A range of Chaplaincies (managed by a Chaplaincy sub-group).
  • Street Angels
  • Healing on the Streets
  • City-Wide United Youth ministry/prayer and events (i.e. Hope Invasion etc)
  • Website
  • Christian Heritage courses.
  • United Pentecost Celebration in York Minster
  • United Easter Baptisms
  • Breakfast meetings with City CEO’s and others (CYC. Hospital, University, Police etc).
  • Community initiatives such as Young at Heart ministry to older people
  • Community Cafes

 

The Trustees of One Voice meet quarterly to oversee charitable matters and plan future events.

 

What is the History of One Voice York?

One Voice York was formed in 1990 to plan a major mission in York but began to really grow after the weekly prayer meeting was started for Christian leaders in 1999. This prayer meeting has seen substantial growth since 2004 and now has a regular weekly attendance of about 40 Christian leaders.

 

Public/Civic statement

One Voice York bridges the gap between the Church and Civic Authorities. The Church with associated ministries and members is the largest voluntary agency. We encourage best practice, understanding, partnership and clarity for the common good of all in the City of York.

 

The Longer Story of One Voice

The commonly known story of One Voice in York is the one where, at the suggestion of Graham Hutchinson, a handful of church leaders in 1999 agreed to meet together for one hour monthly (which was soon changed to weekly) to pray for one another, for York and for the nation. After a while this weekly leaders prayer meeting merged with the existing charity – One Voice

 

The One Voice story began earlier than that in the 1990s. York Churches had come together to organise a live link event in the Minster when Billy Graham was in Sheffield. Satellite pictures were displayed on giant screens in the Minster. Thousands attended. Many came to faith. York churches became excited about working together in mission so One Voice was born out of this experience in 1990.

 

The first large One Voice event was focussed on one week in the Barbican in 1992 which featured Dr Donald English as the speaker each evening. Interviews were always conducted by Canon John Young co chair of One Voice. John Young’s co chairs were then Rev David Mullins from Central Methodist and Fr Cyril Brookes a Benedictine from St Bedes / Ampleforth. Fr Brookes who gained particular fame through his sponsored cycle ride from John o’ Groats to Lands End in support of One Voice which was featured daily in the York Press.

 

Local press was very important and followed the mission closely even publishing a special feature edition of the Barbican events. The Barbican week culminated in a celebration event in the Minster attended by about 3000 . The transepts were packed. Extra chairs were hired in.

 

Several events preceded the Barbican week and more was planned to follow on. The regular pattern of these events was an evening of music/ drama /interview /invitation.

 

Over the course of this Barbican week interviewed guests included:

  • Lord Tonypandy George Thomas former speaker of the House of Commons.
  • Revd. Prof John Polkinghorne
  • Archbishop John Habgood
  • Roy and Fiona Castle
  • Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the hospice movement
  • Senator Gordon Wilson peace activist in Ireland
  • Jonathan Edwards triple jumper
  • Archbishop David Hope

And many others…

 

Venues were used across the city and in addition to the Barbican, the University Central Hall and Salvation Army Citadel featured numerous times.

 

These evangelistic events were designed to be entertaining and accessible. A large choir formed under the leadership of Rachel Gray and played a significant part in the programme each time. Indeed they also sang on other occasions and settings including for example a production of The Gift with Graham Kendrick in York Minster.

 

Chris Cullwick composed a modern hymn ‘One Voice’ as a theme song for the mission and this was used not only at every event but also featured on both radio 4 and BBC Songs of Praise sung by more than 2000 in the Sheffield Meadowhall Centre.

 

BBC radio York would often feature One Voice guests and out of this link York Courses was born and still flourishes under John Young and Simon Stanley. Local radio also broadcast courses produced by One Voice.

 

Satellite events at this time included Barnie the Bus working the suburbs as a youth dimension to the mission and a city centre “pop up” One Voice shop which ran for several months as a ticket and merchandise outlet.

 

Due to invitations received, One Voice went on to lead missions to other towns and areas. Teams from York went to other parts of the UK. Teams also went further afield to Peru and USA. Other towns and cities inspired by this unity movement adopted similar names.

 

Prayer breakfasts happened from time to time at Spurriergate and OV was involved in the Make Way movement of city centre and neighbourhood marches.

 

Engagement with York City Council began with the visit of Senator Gordon Wilson just a month before he his death of a heart attack. He was the father of Marie Wilson killed by an IRA bomb on a Remembrance Day in Enniskillen. He spoke to leaders of the council at a special meeting hosted at the Mansion House.

 

In January 2000 Chris Cullwick and John Young led a group of 50 on a One Voice pilgrimage to the Holy Land starting the new Millennium where it all began.

 

It was about this time that One Voice merged with the leader’s prayer meeting. In September of 1999 five church leaders committed to meet on a Wednesday morning for one hour to pray  for one another, for York and for the nation. Others quickly got involved and within six months 20 leaders of churches and other Christian ministries were attending. A pattern developed of some attending weekly, some monthly, some occasionally and some rarely (due to other commitments, but with assurances that they were “on board”). The leaders, and others, of this group became One Voice trustees and so adopted the brand name for the prayer meeting. This weekly prayer meeting has continued to the present day. Some of the original people have moved on and their places have been taken by new people taking up ministry in the city.

 

Currently are exploring ways to relate, encourage and support the City authorities. (People Helping People etc) and engage with all the sectors.

 

  • Business and finance
  • Education and learning
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Media arts and Entertainment
  • Politics and government
  • Policing and security
  • Family and community