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The Community of the Resurrection

Community of the Resurrection

The Community of the Resurrection was born from an idea of Dr. Charles Gore who saw the need for a different order of priests. The core would be a life of prayer and fellowship centred in the chapel bringing together the scholastic and evangelical spheres. As part of his dream he saw a college of ordinands, brought up in the atmosphere of community life, affiliated to a university. In 1892, Gore was joined by five other priests in Oxford and they set about forming the idea of the Community.

Early days of the Community

It had always been Gore's wish to establish the Community in the industrial north. The opportunity came when, in 1898, they were able to buy Hall Croft in Mirfield, a mansion built by the late Mr. Hague Cook, with spacious grounds and a quarry which was to become famous as a theatre for services and plays. Settled in Mirfield, the Community soon numbered twelve. It opened on 28 October, 1902, when the former stables were converted into a college for training young men for the priesthood.

The people of Mirfield didn't know what to make of the unmarried clergymen who walked about in cassocks and belts and sometimes called the fathers 'petticoit men from T'Resurrection'. Then gradually the geniality of the members, particularly that of Father Paul Bull, broke down suspicion and opposition. A climax was reached when Kensitites from London held a protest meeting in front of the Black Bull, which gave Father Frere an opportunity to stand on a chair and address the crowd. He explained the aims and objects of the Community, and his inimitable whimsicality and captivating smile won the hearts of all, Anglicans and Nonconformists alike. Later, when the College began to play football on the Savile Arms Ground prominent players became idols of the young football fans. The Quarry Services and Commemoration Day Festivals broke down any remaining barriers.

The Quarry Theatre

By 1907 the brethren had increased until there were nearly fifty fathers. All this time building operations were going on, for which stone from the quarry was used. Plans for a church were drawn up by Mr. Tapper and the foundations were laid in the Spring of 1911. The foundation stone was laid by Bishop Gore in a splendid service before a congregation of several thousands. Within a year the Chapel of the Resurrection was completed, with its copper barrel roof, and the first Eucharist was celebrated there on 12 September, 1912.

Commemoration day was, until recently, held every July and used to draw thousands from all parts of the country to join in the services. The first play was performed in the Quarry theatre (pictured here) as part of the 'Commem' Day in 1909 but the plays no longer form part of the annual programme.

Church of the Resurrection

Living quarters