|our history ...|
Once upon a time there was a Church of England parish established to serve a particular part of Harrogate from the centre near the Pump Rooms right up to Harlow Hill at the edge of the town. Two worship centres were built, St Mary’s the main parish church just off Cold Bath Road and All Saints built as a chapel at the top of Harlow Hill to serve the surrounding area.
Over the years the St Mary’s building became an increasingly heavy burden to bear and eventually it was closed in January 2007 due to severe structural problems which successive generations over the years had vainly tried to rectify. At almost the same time All Saints was forcibly closed due to structural problems leading to a formal closure in 2009. The church continued to pray and work towards effective discipleship and mission and St Mary’s moved into Harrogate Grammar School for Sunday services until Summer 2008.
Under the present church leader, Rev Mark Carey, who came to Harrogate in October 2007, St Mary’s began a significant transition from Parish Church to a ‘fresh expression of church’ serving the whole deanery of Harrogate. It is a Church of England church but not in the traditional inherited form. Fully part of the Deanery of Harrogate and the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds, St Mary’s, is now known as Kairos Church.
Mark Carey explains, “Kairos is a Greek word of great significance for Christians as it speaks of the appointed time in the purpose of God. For Kairos Church this means a fresh expression of the Church of England, focusing on releasing communities of followers to live the mission of Jesus. For us this is being worked out through people who are good news in our workplaces, families and friendships. We gather together at various times and places and also operate in midsized/mission-shaped communities (MSCs).”
“MScs are communities of our people each of which has a distinctive vision for mission. Examples are Outnumbered focused on families with children and Wanderers, meeting people in the park and the street.”
Kairos Church will continue to meet together twice a month in the hall in Harlow Terrace that itself will continue under the name of Westcliffe Hall. The hall houses Kairos Church office and, as well as Kairos Church activities, is used by a number of local community organisations.