Sunderland Minster will be featured on the BBC’s Songs of Praise, with producers focusing on the town’s glassmaking history


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

Claire McCollum, who hosts the episode, will also explore the story of Saint Benedict Biscop – the patron saint of Sunderland – who brought the stained glass tradition to the UK.

During the episode, Claire goes to the National Glass Center to try her hand at glassblowing.

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Inside Sunderland Cathedral

The episode will feature the Reverend Chris Howson, Chaplain of the University of Sunderland, discussing the importance of glassblowing to 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.

“The stained glass window is known as the pew person’s bible, illuminating the stories of the gospels. Jewels through which we see paradise.

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Reverend Chris Howson.

The first stained glass window produced in Britain was made in Sunderland by French craftsmen imported from Gaul in 674 AD. Benedict Biscop, abbot of the new monastery at Wearmouth, invited them to create the stained glass windows for St. Peter’s Church in Monkwearmouth.

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

To mark International Women’s Day, the episode will visit a project that shines a light on inspiring Sunderland women, past and present.

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

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