Monday, June 16, 2008

Ever onwards...

A tricky few days - last week we were told that we are unlikely to get 0.6 of a clergy person for the part of the team ministry where I worship. So we thinking about redeployment of existing resources! However if you're reading this and you are 0.6 of a clergy person (or even more!) and want a part time post the job pack is still around!
Then this evening I heard that Scargill House (the site index page is broken for GNU/Linux users..) - where I spent 4 years working as a community member is to close and the site sold - now that's another big wrench with the past.
Remembering the folk I worked with the places and the experience of those years.

But always onwards... a pilgrim people...and they're moving on too:
Located on a 100 acre estate in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Scargill community has provided a place to explore contemporary spirituality, celebrate human diversity and act responsibly with regard to creation and the environment. It has just announced the decision to sell the site and to create a grant giving Foundation run by a ‘virtual’ community of members.
Now Scargill has taken the radical step to set up a Foundation with the proceeds of the sale of the Centre. Through this it will be enabled to support those who, in numerous and diverse ways, continue to live out its vision.

My album of slide scans from those years is here. I must get around to getting a few more on line, and am tempted to see the place once more before the closure.


Brian said...

I am also shocked at the Scargill news, and it is so unnecessary. NO ATTEMPT Has been made to obtain funds from Partners and others. This closure is nothing to do with the rubbish put out about the "Post-modern world"...whatever that is; I did music weeks there for 18 years, with full houses, until a new wqarden decided my programme didn't fit in with the "new vision of Scargill". We can all see where the new vision has got us. This lovely place must be saved. Ghapel is Gde.II listed building -has to stay.How can a few incompetent people be allowed to destroy something built up over 50 years? ANSWER -they never wanted to listen to anybody mention the PAST and SUCCESS. This is very sad, I pray someone will try a rescue attempt or at least postpone this act.

rajm said...

Thanks for your comment.
I think there was an appeal only last year to partners - and from the letter the report which produced the closure decision was produced around then. Yes it's a hard decision - I spent 4 years on community there so there's a big hole for me too! I don't know the financial situation but I recognise the courage of this decision and if the environmental outlook (and impact) is only getting worse - at least they're closing under their control!
I'm sure most of the buildings will remain I shall wait to see where the vision of Christian service goes from here.

Julie said...

I heard of the closure last week, and still feel numb. Its been a big shock, but one I felt in my heart would happen sooner or later, and feel a measure of peace about the whole thing. I think I'd realised that Scargill was no longer operating at the cutting edge of Christianity that it once was, for whatever reason. A few events still seemed popular, but it was clear that people were no longer attracted to go their either as visitors or to serve on community. Despite being a member of community for nearly four years I think this is the right move. There are a number of opportunities around now for young Christians to serve and to gain experience, and for churches to recieve training and encouragement in outreach. I only wish that I could get up there one last time - is anything happening for ex-community?
I was looking at the slides, remembering the traditions such as the "banging off" from outside the dining room, the Christmas productions in the Chapel, and just chilling out. Happy days, and good memories.
Julie Taylor

rajm said...

Greetings Julie!
Maybe community members can (sometimes!) see that Scargill is a dynamic entity, not just there for the guests but with an ongoing life of its own?
I wondered whether we should say to them - the ex-community will turn up on date x before it closes - I'd been looking forward to re-meeting folk at the 50th but that may have to wait until we pass the great cattle grid in the sky.
I'm going up before the closure - mid-week - but I'm not going to quote the day on a blog! my email is easily found!!
(Thinking of you (J) and yours at this time if you still have those foreign connections)

George and Kate Davies said...

From the Revd George & Mrs Kate Davies former community members 1977-80 we have just returned from Kettlewell and a v/brief visit in the Chapel. Reading the vision statement on the gate and looking at the 'progressive Christian Network' website as directed by one of the Church Times bloggers, it is now easier to understand perhaps, what has been happening at Scargill. Led in such a direction,the 'Trustees' have modified, re-written the governing instruments of 1958 and lost sight of the foundational basis creating a poor imitation, something which is flawed and unworthy. They have gone too far down the slippery slope of 'inclusiveness' and the finances are a symptom of a deeper malaise. The chapel has become a place for and of memories not of sacramental Eucharistic Celebration, prayer, music, joy and praise, so we left a stone on one of the 'cairns' recollecting we stood there in September 1980 and made our marriage vows to each other in the presence of GOd, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I wonder, since the 2000, has He been asked to slip out for to accommodate those who do not seek him?
On Monday 30 June we felt saddened as we looked back to Scargill from the road into Kettlewell. Didn't Christ say the grain must go into the ground & die before it comes to New Birth and bears fruit? Let us wait, pray and seek this precious gift of new life: come on former community members, guests,partners, senior church leaders retired bishops et al. We are an Easter people. Or is this too 'exclusive' and partial a 'traditional' expression for the soon to be 'sold' 'inclusive' Scargill House?

rajm said...

Kate/George - thanks for that posting, I was going to reply to some bits of it but I will leave it until after our own trip up!
Won't anyone put me out of my agaony and remind me of the name of the kitchen no 2 whose leaving do, I picture here?

Julie said...

Back safe & sound. I admit to taking the non-ecologically sound method of Dad's big gas guzzling car, but partly justify myself in that day-to-day i am on public transport and Shank's pony; the car enabled me to offer lifts back to Skipton and the freedom to spend time quietly for as long as needed.
I couldn't face staying at the main house, and needed to find somewhere else for the Wednesday night anyway, so was in a B&B in Kettlewell. The main reason was that I didn't want my last experience of the place to be in a potentially packed, emotionally charged babble of people. In the end there were very few people staying over on the Tuesday night, so think it might have been ok.
Have taken lots of pics, will put them online soon
I walked up to Scargill and to the top of the estate late on Tuesday night, something I often did after lock-up or when frustration left me sleepless. Spent an hour or more sitting, listening (once the Lamberts finished spreading!), praying, singing (very out of tune, my voice has gone from lack of use) and just being. Watching the moonlight. Picked my way back down again sometime after midnight.
Wednesday morning was spent walking the walled garden and the estate and remembering. The curlews are still on the top. The place was starting to fill up as I took the car back to the village and then walked back. Several people had gone to a gathering in Grassy, hosted by who turned out to be Maggie Leach, one of the founder community. some found they were too upset after that to go to the Chapel, so I'm glad on hindsight that I didn't rush to get there too.
The Chapel service was very well balanced, and a peaceful one, given the potential for protest. Your giant spider of a flower arrangement had been replaced by the new altar, a three tiered round wooden table. The original altar is now, sadly, never used. I can understand the need for something a bit more mobile on occasion, since it took four of us to shift the thing at the risk of our backs, but to take it out of use altogether is a shame. I don't think as many people came as expected, certainly not as many as there could have been, there were several empty seats. Arrangements had been made to relay the service to the Marsh Lounge - i think an overflow had been expected. A reflection of the timing perhaps. David Baker spoke and apologised for the way in which comunication was handled, but not for the decision itself.
It feels as though Scargiill has been semi-suffocated into unconciousness and is now being buried alive. Despite my initial support for the foundation idea, this has now totally gone. The debt is not so bad considering the value of the property. And not everything had been done to turn things around. There was certainly no in depth consultation and appeal this time, and I am not convinced that this happened when the change of direction was taken. I do not trust these people to form a foundation true to the vision of Scargill as a centre for evangelism and renewal. A few people talked to the trustees after the service, and have persuaded them to meet in 2 weeks, to enable time to find a solution of re-invigorating the community and the vision. Help and prayer is needed, if you look on the church times blog there is a link to the site.
It could be said that we are idolising the Community and the site, and not fixing our eyes on God. But I think that this is why the place is dying in the first place, not why there is hope of resurrection. I left Community in 96 believing that I had nothing left to give at that point and that therefore community were better off without me. Joining the Partners a few years later there was no real communication of the desperate need for people of faith to join community to boost its dwindling numbers. They are still there, but now few. I believed, wrongly, that it was me who had lost the vision. There is still hope.