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Leeds vicar reaches great heights to raise money

First published on: 16th April 2024

One of our Leeds vicars is going to be climbing the equivalent of the height of Everest to raise money for his church.

Like his counterparts in parishes across the country, the Revd Phil Harris, Vicar of St Peter’s Morley, is passionate about the role his church plays in the local community and how the church can provide a valuable resource whilst sharing God’s love.

Faced with the prospect of raising £750,000 to redesign and restore the much-needed but dilapidated community centre in Morley, fitness fanatic Phil decided to step up and undertake a difficult physical challenge: Morley Everest.

St Peter’s is located at the top of Churwell Hill in Morley, providing an ideal route for Phil to take on the ‘Everest’ climb.

From Wednesday, April 24 to Saturday, April 27, Phil will be running day and night, completing laps of the hill from top to bottom and back again.

During these 102 laps, and over four days, Phil will run on average 57 miles a day, covering 230 miles in total, and will climb 29,029 feet in elevation – the height of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest.

Revd Phil said to explain what has now inspired this record-breaking challenge: “We are planning a major capital project at the church – converting the current Parish Hall into a new Community Centre for the whole community of Morley.

“We’re working really hard on the fundraising and hope to raise the majority of the money needed from grant-making Trusts, Foundations and businesses, but we also want to involve both the local community and the wider Christian community.

“I’m hoping to raise as much as £75,000 towards the project costs through the Morley Everest challenge and really hope everyone will get behind me!”

Phil hopes that by biting the bullet and taking on this challenge for his community, he will encourage other churches to pursue bold visions for both spiritual and physical renewal of our towns and cities.

“I’d be so grateful for any support from the wider Christian community across the UK.

“My hope is that not only will we complete our project in Morley, but that we can inspire and encourage church communities and my clergy colleagues in other parishes to be active in bringing change and transformation to the communities we serve in the name of Jesus.”

Phil also reflects on the challenges that churches face in major fundraising projects: “The decision to go ahead with our Community Centre project was not taken lightly.

“Inflation caused our project costs to increase significantly and we were mindful not to take on more than we could manage.

“Because of this, we took the time to undertake a two-month period of prayer and reflection.

“Conducting this process as a whole church community, we are now clear that God wants us to deliver this project and he will guide us in making it happen.

“It has given us a renewed determination and impetus to move the project forwards with confidence”.

People can support Revd Phil on his JustGiving page here.

More information about the project can be found on the St Peter’s Morley website.

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