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|2589: St Wilfrid,
Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
Worshipper: Chris Teean.
Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England.
of England, Diocese
of Ripon and Leeds.
This handsome church is built in a honey-coloured stone. The
first of many things to catch your eye is a striking Calvary
sculpture to the right of the main entrance. The interior is
stunning. The white walls and vaulted ceiling, plus the pale
sandstone pillars and gold coloured tracery, create a wonderful
feeling of light and spaciousness. A magnificent rood screen,
featuring carved figures of Our Lord on the cross flanked by
Our Lady and St John the Evangelist, gives an air of great dignity
and reverence. The view from the nave through to the chancel
is truly amazing. The Lady chapel is behind the sanctuary and
its lozenge window of Our Lady with the Christ Child can be
seen behind the high altar with the magnificent jewel-like complex
of the east window rising above. The exquisite Lady chapel acts
as an ambulatory and joins St Wilfridís chapel to the chapels
of St Raphael and the Holy Spirit. The baptistery windows sparkle
with colour. There is a marble font, above which is a very effective
1960s artwork depicting flames and a descending dove, symbolizing
the Holy Spirit. This magnificent church could easily be an
The church: Services are held every day and there are clubs and societies for both adults and children. Full details can be seen on their website.
The spa town of Harrogate became very popular in Victorian and
Edwardian times. Today it is an elegant and vibrant town with
up-market shops, an abundance of period buildings, and beautiful
gardens. The church is situated in an affluent leafy suburb
with large detached houses, a mere five minutes walk from the
centre. Its nearest neighbour is the elite Harrogate Ladiesí
College, and many of the houses have been acquired by the college
to be used as boarding houses for its pupils.
The principal celebrant was the Revd Gary Waddington, SSC, team
rector, assisted by the Revd Gordon Newton, team vicar. The
preacher was Alex Garner, a seminarian. The organist was Tim
Gray and the choirmaster was James MacDonald.
The date & time:
1 September 2013, 10.00am.
We have received a comment on this report.
What was the name of the service?
How full was the building?
It was quite a good attendance with around 100 in the congregation,
predominantly elderly, although all ages were represented, including
babies and toddlers.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
Yes. I was greeted by a sidesman who, on finding I was a visitor,
gave me quite a lot of information about the church. As I had
arrived quite early, I used the time to look around the church.
Father Gordon came over to introduce himself to me, so we were
able to have a pleasant chat.
Was your pew comfortable?
It was an adequately comfortable chair joined to other chairs.
The hassock was deeply cushioned and was comfortable to kneel
How would you describe the pre-service
There was the usual greeting going on but that quietened down once the organist started playing.
What were the exact opening words of the
A lady read some general notices and then invited us to say
the prayer of preparation: "Almighty God, to whom all hearts
are open..." Then followed a very long period of silence.
As I wondered whether this really long silence was customary
in this church, some rather irreverent thoughts began to enter
my mind. Could they not light the thurible? Had someone lost
the cross? Had something happened to the organist or the vicar?
But no, everything was fine. The organ suddenly burst into life,
prompting the procession of choir and clergy. Then Father Gary
greeted us with: "In the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."
What books did the congregation use during the
The New English Hymnal, a parish mass book, and a leaflet
containing the collect, the readings, the psalm, the gospel,
and notices for the week.
What musical instruments
A three-manual organ built in 1928 by the Harrison and Harrison
firm of Durham, and still going strong! Mr Gray played "Deck
thyself, my soul, with gladness" by JS Bach before the
service and "Fantasia in G major" by JS Bach as the
Did anything distract
I was intrigued by the painted panels on the carved wooden pulpit, and the painted panels on the walls above the Stations of the Cross. I later discovered the pulpit panels were of various saints and the side panels were scenes taken from Christís life.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or
It was glorious Anglo-Catholic at its best. The choir and vested
clergy processed into the church, led by a lady thurifer with
the crucifer following. The altar was thoroughly censed, and
there was much crossing, bowing, and genuflection. Sanctus bells
were rung at appropriate times and the fragrance of incense
filled the church.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
8 Alex Garner spoke clearly, but much of it was lost
on me because a determined toddler set up in opposition and
In a nutshell, what was the sermon
It was about the sin of pride. Jesus said, "All those who
exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves
will be exalted." Pride is the act of putting ourselves
before others. The Pharisees were a typical example of this.
Their problem was attitude and conduct. But pride is an easy
trap for us to fall into. We name drop, we boast, and we make
ourselves to be marvellous by volunteering to do something,
but then complain that we are hard done by the next day. We
must change our attitude. The rules of the kingdom of God are
those of humility, not pride; generosity, not selfishness; and
concern for others, not just ourselves. We need to be willing
to be transformed by the mutual love of the kingdom and not
let the selfish love of pride rule our hearts. We are invited
to join the heavenly kingdom. Our actions should be those of
humility, generosity and love.
Which part of the service was like being in
Well, I was really in heaven throughout the service, but the
icing on the cake was the singing of the Angelus at the end.
Father Gary has a lovely voice.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The noise made by toddlers at the back of the church throughout the whole service.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
Several people came to speak to me. They were very friendly
How would you describe the after-service
Tea and coffee are normally served, but they were unavailable
on this day because the floor of the hall was being sanded and
so could not be used.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
10 If I lived in the area I would definitely worship
here. It is a joy to find a church with traditional Catholic
worship and a friendly congregation. I felt I could easily belong
Did the service make you feel glad to be a
Absolutely. The dignified and reverent style of worship, the
glorious singing of the choir, and the most beautiful gem of
a church gave me a wonderful Sunday morning.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
If I have to name one thing, it has to be the view of the rood
screen, through which can be seen the high altar, the spectacular
east windows, and the lozenge window in the Lady chapel.
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