A NEW parish has been created to cater for a housing development where the first residents are not expected to move in for almost two years.
St Mark’s Church has been split off from the Horsham Team Ministry, in West Sussex, to form the independent parish of Holbrook, on the north edge of the town. “It’s mainly green fields and a few farms,” its new Vicar, the Revd Richard Coldicott, said.
“But there is a massive amount of building going on: in particular, a whole new estate is being developed on greenfield land which straddles what was the existing Horsham parish and the neighbouring parish of Roffey.
“Work on the ground starts later next year, and the first houses will be built in 2018. It was felt that St Mark’s should be set up as a new independent parish so that, in collaboration with the neighbouring parish at Roffey, we could serve the new housing area and establish a new working community there.
“It is tremendously pro-active, and very exciting, setting up the appropriate structures and flagging ourselves up to people as their parish church.”
St Mark’s opened in 1990 to serve new housing that was going up at the time. It was financed by the Royal Sun Alliance insurance group, which developed the church’s original town-centre site into its headquarters. “For 26 years, St Mark’s has served a lot of the new housing in the north of Horsham” Mr Coldicott, who has already served five years with the Horsham Team looking after St Mark’s, said. “What happened this year is the culmination of a long journey.”
He and his Assistant Curate, the Revd Mike Nelson, were formally welcomed to the parish at a service conducted by the Bishop of Horsham, the Rt Revd Mark Sowerby, on 21 November.
The Archdeacon of Horsham, the Ven. Fiona Windsor, who assisted the Bishop, said: “I am delighted that St Mark’s, Holbrook, are beginning this new journey in ministry and faith. We wish them every blessing as they become a new parish.”
The church will be consecrated in February by the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner.