Friday, 30 September 2011

St Mary's, Dunsforth 1861-2011

Last Sunday, St Mary's, serving Upper and Lower Dunsforth, celebrated 150 years. At an evening service of Holy Communion in a packed church, Bishop James preached and a new and very well written history of the church was launched. An altar frontal depicting the countryside around the Dunsforths was dedicated, along with a new wedding kneeler. The altar frontal was designed by Emily Sutton and made by J & M, in Newcastle. It features the white horse at Kilburn, so visible from the village, and also the tree of life found in the book of Genesis and in Revelation, where the leaves are said to be 'for the healing of the nations.'  Michael Wildblood had master-minded the project.

Pictured here with the Bishop of Knaresborough are the Revd Philip Smith, current Vicar, Mr John Moss, Reader, who regularly praches and takes services, the Revd Canon Richard Cooper, Vicar 1990-1999, and the Revd Suzanne Jukes, recently Associate Priest in the parish. St Mary's is a hub of village life, maintianing regular worship and hosting events such as the annual Yuletide supper and many musical performances and concerts. Recently, the church has started CAMEO 'Come and Meet Each Other' evenings at Ure Lodge with prayers, discussions and refreshments. The church wardens are responsible for the life of the church and offer a warm and hospitable welcome.

Contributions to the building of the church in 1861 included public subscritions of £1,334 0s 3d and donations from Queen Victoria (£75.00) and the then Bishop of Ripon (£50.00)! The church is in the Decorated Gothic style so loved by the Victorians and was designed by Mallinson and Healey, based on the design of mediaeval churches from the 1300's. It was built on the site of a Chapel of Ease which appears in Saxton's 1577 map of Yorkshire but which probably dated back to the twelfth century.

A wonderful buffet was served in the churchyard in the setting sun and a memorable evening was had by all! Thank you, Dunsforths!

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