Sunderland Minster to feature on BBC's Songs of Praise, with producers focusing on city's glass-making history

Sunderland Minster is to feature in a special episode of Songs of Praise this Sunday, titled ‘Sunderland’s Sacred Glass’.

The episode will feature Sunderland’s links to the glass-making industry, stretching over thirteen hundred years, alongside congregational hymns and songs old and new from across the UK.

Claire McCollum, who is hosting the episode, will also explore the story of Saint Benedict Biscop – Sunderland’s patron saint – who introduced the tradition of stained-glass windows to the UK.

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During the episode Claire visits the National Glass Centre to gave a go at glass blowing.

Inside Sunderland Minster

The episode will feature Reverend Chris Howson, University of Sunderland Chaplain, discussing the significance of glass blowing in our Christian heritage.

Chris said: “It was a great experience and a chance to show off some of the fine examples of stained glass we have in the area.

“Stained glass is known as the pew person’s bible, illuminating the stories of the Gospels. Jewels by which we gain glimpses of Heaven.”

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Reverend Chris Howson.

The first stained glass to be produced in Britain was made in Sunderland by French craftsmen imported from Gaul in AD674. Benedict Biscop, Abbot of the new monastery at Wearmouth, invited them to make the windows for St Peter's Church in Monkwearmouth.

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The episode will also feature a university student who explains why Sunderland was the perfect place for him to study and how his Christian faith guides his work with glass.

To mark International Women’s Day will the episode visits a project which shines a light on inspirational women from Sunderland, past and present.

Sunderland Minster will feature on Songs of Praise on BBC One this Sunday at 1.15pm.

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