'Homeless' churchwelcomes new vicar

A NEW vicar at St Mary's and All Saints Church has been welcomed with open arms to a congregation displaced after their church building was made redundant.

Rev Mark Carey, who is the son of former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr George Carey, was delighted at his reception.

Since 2006 when their building was declared unsafe, the congregation have been worshipping at Harrogate Grammar School where Mr Carey was licensed as Priest in Charge during a ceremony at the beginning of this month. The Bishop of Leeds and Ripon was there to lead the ceremony.

Mr Carey said: "The school hall was pretty full with people from various different churches in Harrogate as well as members, and also people from around the country. It was a great occasion and a great start, very welcoming and very positive."

He said he had been busy since his arrival, getting to know those within his congregation and figuring out what the church hopes for in the future.

Mr Carey was previously vicar at St Mark's Church Grenoside, Sheffield, where he had been for eight years. His wife Penny, and three children joined him at the vicarage in September as they embarked on their new life in Harrogate.

St Mary's Church was made redundant last year and taken into the care of the Redundant Churches Fund after it became apparent that the stone walls were not coping well with age, and that the amount of money needed would be more than the church could feasibly raise. Sadly for its congregation, the church was no longer usable and they had to find another place to worship.

Harrogate Grammar School has since allowed the them regular access for their mass and ceremonies.

Mr Carey said: "The grammar school is great as a flexible and easy to use building and the staff are very welcoming. It's time to take on a new challenge, it is something I am really looking forward to, a new opportunity.

"Even though the building problems have got in the way in the last few years, the people of the church are still serving God in Harrogate."