Sunday, 21 June 2009
Scargill House, near Kettlewell
Yesterday I made a brief foray into the "beyond Saltaire"...up into the Yorkshire Dales - Wharfedale to be precise. I visited Scargill House, which is a Christian community near the village of Kettlewell. It is the 50th anniversary of its founding, celebrated with a garden party and an open-air service of worship, thanksgiving and rededication. As well as enjoying the celebrations and seeing lots of friends, it was good to revisit the lovely open spaces and greenery of Wharfedale.
The celebrations were especially significant because last autumn the original trustees put the house up for sale because it was no longer financially viable. A group of concerned Christians banded together to 'save' Scargill and ensure that it keeps going as an international Christian community and centre for teaching, renewal and transformation. There is a lot of work to be done before it can reopen - fundraising(!), major building repairs and improvements, and the forming of a new core community. But there is a real sense of God at work in what is happening and a clear sense of vision and commitment. As well as the impact that a visit to Scargill (or Lee Abbey or Iona or any similar Christian community) can have on individuals or church groups, I believe such places have important things to say in our society, modelling values of community and stewardship that are crucial in the individualistic and materialistic world we inhabit.
The photograph shows Scargill's Chapel, designed by architect George Pace in a Scandinavian style and built in 1960. It is now a listed building.