Controversial priest erects Mongolian yurt ‘tomb’ in Sunderland Minster

Construction of a Mongolian tent or 'Yurt' in Sunderland Minster on Sunday
Construction of a Mongolian tent or 'Yurt' in Sunderland Minster on Sunday
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A MONGOLIAN yurt has become a symbolic tomb as part of Wearside’s Easter celebrations.

The huge canvas and wood structure has been built inside Sunderland Minster and will be used throughout this week’s celebrations for events and prayers.

The Reverend Chris Howson, chaplain at the University of Sunderland, said the week’s activities began on Palm Sunday with a morning service, including the procession and palm cross waving at the minster.

Rev Howson said: “The yurt is going to be well used throughout the week and it looks fantastic.”

Paul Spencer, the yurt builder, gave a talk about eco-building before putting up the tent inside the church.

Rev Howson said the yurt will be open from 10am to 3pm throughout this week for anyone who would like to sit in it for prayers.

The evenings will be filled with special events.

Tonight at 7.30pm, there will be drumming, on Wednesday, there will be Taize in the Tent, which is a service of chanting and silence, and on Thursday there will be a foot-washing service.

On Good Friday, there will be a Sunderland Minster walk to Tunstall Hill for the traditional cross-carrying service, setting out at 9am.

At 2pm, there will be service to seal up the yurt, as a symbol of Christ’s tomb.

On Easter Sunday, at 5.45am, there will be a sunrise service at the minster where the yurt will be re-opened.

The green and sand-coloured yurt was created for the church, so it can be used for a host of events.

Rev Howson started the build up to Easter by spreading an ash cross on the window of Starbucks in Sunderland.

The protest marked the beginning of his Lent fast on tax-avoiding firms, including Starbucks, Amazon and Barclays.>>CLICK HERE to read more