Scargill House will be open again in a year, it is hoped

by
27 August 2009

by Ed Beavan

Jubilee at Scargill House: the Bishop of Bolton, the Rt Revd Chris Edmondson, at the lectern in ANDY RYLAND

Jubilee at Scargill House: the Bishop of Bolton, the Rt Revd Chris Edmondson, at the lectern in ANDY RYLAND

SCARGILL HOUSE, the retreat centre in the Yorkshire Dales, could be open again by the autumn of next year, says the Bishop of Bolton, the Rt Revd Chris Edmondson.

The Bishop chairs the Council of the Scargill Movement, a group of friends and supporters formed to try to save Scargill House, in Wharfe­dale, north Yorkshire, after last year’s announcement that it was to be sold (News, 11 July 2008). It had opened in 1959, and from Anglican origins had become ecumenical.

The Bishop chairs the Council of the Scargill Movement, a group of friends and supporters formed to try to save Scargill House, in Wharfe­dale, north Yorkshire, after last year’s announcement that it was to be sold (News, 11 July 2008). It had opened in 1959, and from Anglican origins had become ecumenical.

The group found £1.3 million to buy it, through church donors, individual gifts, and a loan from the Lee Abbey Movement.

Bishop Edmondson said that the exact timetable for the reopening of the house was still unclear, but he hoped it will be ready to open to the public by the autumn of 2010.

He said that Scargill House’s popularity was highlighted by the open day and service of celebration and re-dedication to mark its 50th anniversary in June. The Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd David James, led the act of re-dedication, and Bishop Edmondson preached.

“The fact that more than 600 people came shows there is a huge amount of support for Scargill. There’s a lot of remedial work which needs to be carried out on the building, as well as the refurbish­ment of bedrooms and public areas. We’ve got an architect looking at what needs to be done, but these things take time.

“But what we’re saying is it’s not likely to be before the summer or autumn of 2010, as there is quite a lot of work. It’s a great venture of faith.”

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The Council of the Scargill Movement is drawing up a fund-raising strategy, business plan, and recruitment plan. In early autumn, it will start advertising for key leader­ship positions in the community. Simon Browning has been appointed Project Director.

Scargill House was originally dedicated by Donald Coggan, when he was Bishop of Bradford, after a service at Kettlewell Parish Church on 27 June 1959.

Scargill House was originally dedicated by Donald Coggan, when he was Bishop of Bradford, after a service at Kettlewell Parish Church on 27 June 1959.

Launde target in sight. Launde Abbey, the retreat house for the dioceses of Leicester and Peter­borough, is nearing its appeal target of £2.5 million to enable it to stay open. The 15th-century building, on the site of a 12th-century priory, re­quires urgent repairs to its electrics, plumbing, heating, stone­work, and roofing.

It has already received £1.5 million from the Church of England, and has now received about £600,000 in donations.

The Revd Tim Blewett, chaplain of Launde, took a sofa into Leicester city centre to raise awareness of the retreat house. He said that this “contemplation couch” had been a huge success: it had allowed him to speak to a broad spectrum of people from pensioners to mothers with children, builders, and punk rockers.

Although he did not take a collection, he received donations in the post after his city-centre visit. He is confident of reaching the target: “I don’t see it as God’s game-plan to close Launde Abbey now. It’s so important as a retreat house, with its location and history, and reaches out to so many people, both to Chris­tians and those of other faiths.”

The trustees of Launde Abbey will be meeting on 7 September to dis­cuss its future.

The trustees of Launde Abbey will be meeting on 7 September to dis­cuss its future.

On Sunday, the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, and the Bishop of Brixworth, the Rt Revd Frank White, will make a sym­bolic pilgrimage to Launde Abbey, culminating in a prayer vigil and week of prayer for the centre.

On Sunday, the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, and the Bishop of Brixworth, the Rt Revd Frank White, will make a sym­bolic pilgrimage to Launde Abbey, culminating in a prayer vigil and week of prayer for the centre.

Foxhill reopened. Foxhill House in Frodsham, a retreat house in the diocese of Chester, was reopened

by the Archbishop of York last month after a £1.25-million make­over. It has been rebranded as the Chester dio­cesan retreat and conference centre, four years after closure was threat­ened. All bed­rooms are now en suite, and dis-abled access has been in­stalled. The chapel has also been completely renovated.

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