About St Hilda and St Hilda’s Church
Have you ever been to Whitby on the East coast? If so you will probably have noticed some ancient ruins high above the town. If you visit again go and look at them. They were originally an abbey. This place was home to a very special lady, Saint Hilda. She was the abbess and the story of her life is extraordinary – for several reasons.
She lived from 614 to 680 and was a great niece of the king of Northumbria. She was baptised at the age of thirteen and became a nun twenty years later. She eventually became abbess of Hartlepool and later of the great monastery of Whitby. We usually think of a ‘monastery’ as being a home for monks, but in this case it housed members of both sexes. We may be surprised to find that it had a female leader, given the problems the Church of England has had in recent decades about accepting female priests and bishops!
People wonder if she was a ‘bossy’ person but the evidence is that she was regarded as a woman of great compassion, sought out for her wise counsel by ordinary folk and rulers alike. Some came from as far away as mainland Europe.
Down the ages Christians seem to have got bogged down with things that do not seem to us nowadays to be of major importance. In the days of Hilda the issue was the right way to calculate the date of Easter. The original British Celtic church had one tradition. A newer grouping, who owed allegiance to Rome, had another. It was really not desirable for different members of the same family to be celebrating this major festival at different times! A special meeting or ‘synod’ was called at Whitby to deal with this and a few related issues.
It was decided to follow the Roman way. Hilda may well have been disappointed but she accepted the decision of the synod and called on others to do likewise. She believed in the primacy of peace and love.
Under Hilda, Whitby Abbey became a great centre of learning. At this time books were expensive and hard to come by, but she began to build a library. This was long before the invention of printing.
Although she lived a long time ago, well before the coming of William the Conqueror, she is still a powerful example to is all. She is remembered by the Church of England each year on November 17th.
The following ‘Hilda’s blessing‘ was written in her honour by Barrie Williams:
Have peace with one another as children of one mother.
Let each defer to other and may your hearts be one.
Have peace with all around you; sweet love of earth surround you;
and may no harm confound you or break the peace within.
Have peace with God your maker. In Jesus be partaker and Spirit consecrator. God, Three in one, grant peace
The peace of God posses you. The love of God caress you. The grace of heaven bless you; peace everlastingly
St Hilda’s Church
Our local newspaper – The Huddersfield Examiner – once described St Hilda’s as the “Church with a View”. The building – erected in 1850 – is neatly tucked into Cowcliffe on the bend in Netheroyd Hill Road. From the Church Door you can see right across the town- and even out to Emley Moor mast. From the exterior the church has more of a school appearance because it was originally to serve to educate the ‘poor of Cowcliffe’ as well as providing a place of worship in the village!
The building has served the local community (which is proud to call St Hilda’s “their church”) now for 163 years
Our Sunday service is in the early evening at 5.00pm (except the 1st Sunday in the month when it is at 10.30am) As well as services of Holy Communion, we are able to offer “Songs of Praise” services and other more informal acts of worship.
Click on our “St Hilda’s Groups” page to see what activities are going on.
Click on our “Serving the Community” page to read about our Luncheon Club and the Cowcliffe Community Singers
The church and its facilities are available for hire for a one off activity or for something on a regular basis. St Hilda’s building is a multipurpose building, which lends itself to functions, meetings and regular activities. Our entrance area has a spacious entrance hall, accessible toilets and baby changing facilities. The main church area has a capacity of about 100. In addition there is a room with a capacity of about 30 and a fitted kitchen.
Contact either Rita Jones 01484 431391 or Noelle Bowden 01484 542200 for details
Should you wish to support the Church via easyfundraising, please choose St Hilda’s Church, Cowcliffe as your cause