Monks at the community of the Resurrection in Mirfield, Yorkshire, are celebrating the completion of the first phase of refurbishment to their home.
The Grade II listed Church of the Resurrection has now been completely revamped after electrical faults and problems with the heating system forced its closure in 2009.
But the 21 strong Anglican religious-community is still raising funds to pay off the costs incurred, and to begin a new phase of building, which will provide a new set of contemporary living quarters for its residents alongside the church.
The new monastery quarters will include 25 en-suite bedrooms, a meeting room, kitchen, refectory and areas for worship and study. When it’s finished, the current 'House of the Resurrection' will be rented out as flats.
The Community of the Resurrection is a unique religious order, which combines the community and liturgical life of monks with the ‘outward facing’ activism of a 'religious life' order.
In order to raise funds, the monks have appealed for help to their supporters and friends. They have also held auctions, and even sent the superior of the order on a long distance sponsored bike ride, on a vintage folding bicycle.
Fundraising administrator, Adele Hannah said: “We want to begin at once to make the church a place of celebration, prayer, worship and instruction. We also want our friends who have supported us in this to come and enjoy the beauty of the new space.”
More fundraising events are planned for 2012, including a Candlemas Evensong and concert on Sunday February 5 and an ‘Organfest’ on the weekend of March 17-18.
Other events this year will include another Family Fun Day on July 8 and another Grand Auction on November 10.
All funds raised will go directly toward the total costs of the project, which are likely to reach more than £2m.
Situated in the former industrial heartland of West Yorkshire, the Mirfield house was founded in the early years of the 20th century, when the town was known for being covered in grime and soot from factory chimneys.
The church, with its distinctive green copper roof is a well known local landmark, and is the largest monastic church in the UK.
Next door the College of the Resurrection is a training ground for priests, and the present Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams was a lecturer there during the 1970s.
Controversy arose when the plans for revamping the interior of the church were launched, with critics claiming it would erase the history of the order, which was founded in 1892 by radical cleric Charles Gore.
The tombs of Gore and his successor W H Frere both had to be moved in the process of installing underfloor heating, and ensuring that the church was fully accessible to wheelchairs.
Now around 3000 people visit the community house every year, with a number of them staying there for a spiritual retreat. During the 1930s the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer stayed at the community house, later using it as inspiration for his own attempt at community life in Germany.
The Community of the Resurrection has a reputation for active engagement in social and political issues, with one former member, Bishop Trevor Huddleston being particularly well known for his work in apartheid South Africa.
Retired Archbishop of Capre Town Desmond Tutu, has said he was inspired to become an Anglican clergyman by Bishop Huddleston, whom he first met when "he took off his hat to my mother. I couldn't believe my eyes – a white man who greeted a black working-class woman."
January 10th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross