St Cuthbert’s, Birkby and St Philip’s Birchencliffe - Welcome and hospitality in Huddersfield
The United Benefice of St Cuthbert’s, Birkby and St Philip’s Birchencliffe in Huddersfield offers a strong ministry of welcome and hospitality.
With a real community focus, both churches have strong local links and offer a home to a wide variety of community groups and organisations. At St Cuthbert’s links with the community have been strengthened in recent years by everyone working hard to raise the funds to restore the church building which was in danger of closing when wet rot was discovered in the roof timbers.
Vicar and Huddersfield’s Area Dean, the Revd Mary Railton Crowder had hoped the project would be completed in time for the church’s 100th birthday at Christmas. But, it seemed history was to repeat itself as church records show that back in 1913 the then Bishop of Wakefield had to dedicate the parish hall to be used for all services because of delays in the building of the main church. However St Cuthbert’s is now fully restored and the final phase, the redecoration, was completed just in time for the Easter celebrations.
When St Philips lost their parish hall in an arson attack in 2006 many community groups lost their meeting place. But, within 2 years a new Parish Community Centre had been built on the same site. The community groups returned, more joined them and now the centre is in use 7 days and evenings a week. The Cliffites’ annual pantomime is the highlight of the year for many in the community.
And this year local people were in for a big surprise when the cast of Dick Whittington, paraded from the Community Centre to the church in full costume for a special service of thanks for the gift of music and drama.
Mary said “The panto is a fantastic opportunity for us to offer a ministry of welcome and hospitality.
Everyone can be involved in some way, either on stage, behind the scenes or front of house. The service gave us an opportunity to celebrate the way the panto brings the church and community together and to thank God for his gifts of music, dance, drama and laughter,”