Calderdale church first mentioned in Anne Lister's diary celebrates its 200th anniversary

A Calderdale Church welcomed the Archbishop of York to celebrates its 200th anniversary.

By Ian Hirst
Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 1:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st March 2022, 11:30 am

Rev Canon Angela Dick and church members welcomed the Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend Right Honourable Stephen Cottrell, to Christ Church in Sowerby Bridge.

They were joined by the newly appointed Archdeacon of Halifax, The Venerable Bill Braviner in only his third week in the role, and representatives from churches in the “Halifax and Calder Valley” deanery.

The first mention of our current building is in the diary of Anne Lister, and the actual opening date of the new church was under a special licence on May 24 1821

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The Archbishop of York's visit to Christ Church in Sowerby Bridge

Canon Angela said: “It is a very special day for us. We welcome Archbishop Stephen as an old friend who knows our church from his days as the ‘Diocesan Missioner’ of the then Diocese of Wakefield, some twenty plus years ago.

"We’re also excited that people from across the Deanery could greet our new Archdeacon Bill, and give him a warm Calderdale welcome.”

Also attending were representatives from community groups, and the head teachers and two pupils from the primary schools who, as part of the curriculum, regularly visit the church.

Each of these schools Christ Church Juniors, Tuel Lane Infants and Bolton Brow Academy has a history dating back to the late 19th century when the town’s population boomed in the Industrial Revolution.

Also pictured are the Church Wardens, Peter Henry and Dave Gill, who played a key part in the event.

On a daily basis they support the vicar and share the responsibility of leading the administration of the PCC.

In particular, they care for and maintain the Grade II listed church, its contents, and the churchyard, supported by a team of willing volunteers.

In practice Dave collaborates with Calderdale’s Bereavement Services and Green Team to maintain the graveyard so it is a calm and pleasant place to sit or to research family history.

Peter has been heavily involved in recent years in applying for permission to undertake major repairs.

In 2019 the church introduced a new lighting scheme with emergency and LED lighting and in 2021, a “live-streaming” system with digital hearing loop that meant services could be watched live from home during self isolation.

Peter said: “I’d like to thank the many individuals, businesses and grant giving bodies, which have generously supported us over the years: particularly the Community Foundation for


"Our building may be 200 years old but we have recently made big improvements in the fabric, facilities and events we can offer. We’re now equipped to stage concerts, exhibitions and lower key events.

"One such is our weekly Digital Café for those wanting to get to grips with a smart-phone, or improve their skills learning how to use the NHS app, or try on-line shopping”.

After a delayed start anniversary celebrations will continue until the end of the year with a much looked forward to visit of Diocesan Bishop Rt. Revd. Nick Baines on May 15 2022, a Flower festival on the Platinum Jubilee weekend, and other fundraising events to maintain and fund further improvements.

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