Parish Profile. The Parish Church of S James the Great, Albert Hill, Darlington

Parish Profile The Parish Church of S James the Great, Albert Hill, Darlington W elcome to this Parish Profile of S James the Great, and thank you...
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Parish Profile

The Parish Church of S James the Great, Albert Hill, Darlington


elcome to this Parish Profile of S James the Great, and thank you for your interest in the vacancy for a priest to serve in this parish.

We have compiled the profile with two principal objectives: 1.

So that it may help you discern whether God is calling you to serve in this place, and


To help us distil the characteristics of the parish, its people, its needs and opportunities so that we may be able to identify the priest who can best serve us.

We have tried to make this document as comprehensive as possible; you will read about the parish its geography, history, people, industry, social condition, its churchmanship and the church buildings. Of course, there will inevitably be questions you would like to ask but for which there are no answers in this document. For that reason we have included the contact details of the two Churchwardens who will be pleased to answer any such questions.

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Why the Vacancy?


he General Synod of the Church of England has had great difficulty over the past several years in understanding what provision needs to be made that will satisfy the needs of the Traditionalists / Anglo Catholics within the Church of England. That is particularly the case now that draft legislation that will permit the consecration of women as Bishops has been approved by General Synod and has been considered by Diocesan Synods. No totally satisfactory provision has been made for traditionalists although the House of Bishops made some amendments to the Draft Measure in May that was helpful to Traditionalists. At the General Synod in July these amendments were referred back to the House of Bishops for further consideration. The Bishops will meet in September and the results of their endeavours will be heard at an ‘extra’ General Synod to take place in November. Our last incumbent - Father Ian Grieves - could see no future in the Church of England because of all of the uncertainty. Following the publication of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus by Pope Benedict in November 2009, Father Grieves was immediately attracted to the Ordinariate when it was created. A significant number of the congregation decided that they too would join the Ordinariate with Father Grieves. And so it was on 19 February 2012 that Father Grieves presided at his final Mass at S James the Great after some 22 years as Vicar, and the parish was plunged into Interregnum.

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The Priest we are seeking ● is a traditional Anglo-Catholic who will continue the liturgical style that is so much part of the worshipping life at S James the Great ● is probably a member of SSC and of Forward in Faith ● Is comfortable being the priest of the only A, B, C parish in the Deanery whilst being able to fully engage with the Deanery ● Is someone who can respond to the challenges we face with positivity and enthusiasm ● is able to engage with the wider community not just to bring them to church, but also to take church to them, especially the young and disadvantaged ● regards high quality pastoral care to be an absolute priority ● gets involved with fund raising activities

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● will be involved in wider church activities ● has excellent leadership qualities ● is happy to encourage laity involvement ● appreciates the role music plays in liturgy ● will seek to use the talents of all the people ● has previous experience of being a priest in an urban parish ● can show us how to bring young people to church ● will provide teaching and help people grow in their faith ● has a sense of humour! During the incumbency of the last vicar, it became the practice of the PCC to fully re-imburse his expenses. The current PCC would wish to continue the practice of reimbursement of all reasonable expenses.

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A short history of the parish


he parish was created in 1872. A lot of heavy industry had been established in the area which was supporting the rapid growth of the railway industry not so far away. Large numbers of workers were required and this resulted in streets of terraced house being built on Albert Hill. Initially there was no church building. Instead a dwelling house in Killinghall Street was utilised until a church had been built. The foundation stone was laid on 14 April 1875 although it was some time before all of the church was fully completed – 27 years! A lithograph published in ‘The British Architect’ on 23 July 1875 - just two days before S James’ Day showed S James the Great with a spire. In fact there is no spire; the cost of building it was too much. It seems that there may have been an intention to build the spire at a later date, for the beginning of the spiral staircase was constructed and is just inside the door to the vestry. Another oddity of this lithograph is that the building is depicted the ‘wrong’ way around, with the apse at the west end, and the entrance porch facing onto Allan Street. Local architects, Ross and Lamb designed the church and the foundation stone was laid by the Mayor of Darlington on Wednesday 14 April 1875. The church was built in two phases - the Chancel was added later and was funded by the proceeds from ‘Ye Olde Englishe Fayre’ that was held over four days in October 1881 - six years after the laying of the foundation stone. The Fayre was supported by the great and good of Darlington including the then MP, Arthur Pease. The programme stated ‘Ye entyre proceeds toe be devoted toe ye fund for payeing ye Debts and buildynge ye Chauncelle of ye Churche of Sainte James, Darlington.’

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The organ was dedicated on 28 June 1900 and was the completion of the main features of the work carried out over 27 years. During that time Church, Vicarage, Schools (now the Church Hall) were provided ‘for the permanent work of the parish’. The organ cost £500 and was built by Lewis and Co of London. Sadly, this organ was lost in the fire of 1960. Today, we have a fine Copeman Hart instrument that has been regularly maintained and developed, with the addition of French voicing. A plaque above the inside of the Vestry door shows that the building was free from debt on 31�� August 1910! The parish of S James the Great is one of the smallest in Darlington Deanery with an estimated population of around 2,400

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About the Parish Location The main road running north from Darlington town centre is the A167 (formerly the A1). Another road heads east from the town centre towards Middlesbrough. The Parish of S James the Great lies within the quadrant formed by these two roads. The map shown in the appendix clearly shows the boundary of the parish, much of which equates to the boundary of the municipal Central Ward. The parish extends to the west of the East Coast Main Line that runs north – south. Most of the heavy industry that existed when the parish was formed was sited to the west of the East Coast Main Line. Following the closure of the heavy industry this area became the Cleveland Trading Estate where today a range of small businesses are established. Due to the topography, Albert Hill stands apart from the surrounding area and has always been an identifiable community. The church itself stands on elevated land and is very conspicuous from the roads that converge to the south at the foot of the hill. Housing Most of the housing is terraced and is a mixture of owner occupied and private rented. There is some social housing provided by Housing Associations and in recent years there have been a number of new housing developments. This has been a mixture of detached and semi detached homes, as well as apartment blocks. Yet more housing development is to take place on a brown field site to the west of the East Coast Main Line.

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arlington College is relatively new having been opened in 2006 following relocation from older premises situated on the west side of the town centre. Teesside University opened a Darlington campus in 2011 offering higher education in the town to students and businesses on a site adjacent to the Darlington College. Most of the Darlington College complex is within the parish, although the Teesside University building lies just outside. The school formerly known as Eastbourne Comprehensive School has now become St. Aidan's Church Of England Academy and also is geographically within the parish of S James the Great. Most of the young people (11+) in the parish attend St Aidan’s. Gurney Pease Primary School is located at Dodsworth Street convenient to the residents of Albert Hill. The school was built in 1873 and has 7 well proportioned classrooms and a purpose built nursery which opened in March 2006.



he Parish is within the municipal Central Ward which is amongst the ten most deprived wards in England. This been corroborated recently with the publication of deprivation tables compiled by the Church Urban Fund. This shows the Parish of S James the Great is ranked 12106 out of 12706 parishes in England – one of the most deprived. In the Diocese the ranking is 203 out of 232. Although this is a situation that presents a number of challenges there are many opportunities for the church to engage with the community in a wide range of different ways.

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Buildings Church


he church has had much work carried out over the past fifteen years and is in excellent condition.

Major restoration work has taken place including that of the windows and replacement of the roof. In total almost £580,000 has been spent on refurbishment works since 1991. Most of the work has been undertaken during the past five years. Great reliance has been placed on grants from various bodies, but the PCC has raised over £113,000 through a range of fund raising activities. At major festivals over 300 people, 20+ concelebrating priests and a full choir have managed to squeeze inside the church! The main entrance on the south side used portable metal ramps to allow for disabled access up until 2011 when a purpose built disabled access was provide by opening up the door of the north transept and constructing an entrance vestibule with external ramped access. Toilet facilities are located in the hall. The church garden is maintained to a very high standard by a small team of volunteers. A small team look after flower arrangements inside church, and another group of enthusiastic volunteers see to the cleaning of the interior and attending to the altar linen.

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Father Christopher Davis was the first Vicar of S James’ in 1876 when the church was consecrated. He used to travel to Switzerland and the Austrian Tyrol where he greatly admired the murals painted on internal walls of the churches he visited. He commissioned an artist, Alfred O Hemmings, to decorate S James the Great with similar murals. These were completed in 1895 and most of them remain resplendent today, although in need of restoration. A survey has been carried out by experts but the cost of refurbishment is prohibitively expensive and conservation is the best that one can hope for at the present time. The photographs displayed in the Appendix show the ‘beauty within’ the building that from the outside does not look especially interesting.

Hall The Hall has been refurbished and also is in good condition. In addition to the large hall there are three other rooms – one is used for storage; another is named the Music Room and was used for choir practice and where the choir robed before services; the third room is used as a lounge area. There is a well equipped kitchen which is used to serve up teas and coffee after Mass on Sundays and Wednesday mornings. There are also toilets that are disabled accessible and used by those visiting the church. The Hall is the source of a great deal of income, whether that be through the sale of teas and coffee after Mass or the use of the Hall for social events, or for the Sale of Work events held in spring and autumn. In addition the Hall is let out to organisations for meetings and training courses. Whilst providing much needed additional income, this is an area that probably can be developed still further.

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The Vicarage The Vicarage was built shortly after the Church. It is soundly constructed and has the proportions and space of what the architect perceived to be necessary for a Vicarage of that time. The accommodation is on two floors although there is an upper floor which could provide additional space. The property is detached and stands in its own grounds with fairly large gardens to the front. This is mainly of grass with herbaceous borders and is a good area for Garden Parties! There is a detached single garage, with ample parking space in front of the property. The ground floor consists of a study, lounge, dining room, a ‘snug’ and kitchen, with pantry. There is also a toilet. Stairs lead to the first floor where there are four bedrooms plus a family bathroom. The property is in good condition and has been regularly decorated so the interior is in fine order. The Vicarage is a spacious property and is ideal for someone with or without family, and for those who entertain at home. The property is not overlooked, there being a Darlington Borough Depot to the south of the property (planned to be relocated) and the Darlington College to the west. Access is very convenient with traffic light controlled junction at the main road (Haughton Road) and is only a short walking distance from the church.

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Our Churchmanship


rom the outset, the parish has been distinctively Anglo-Catholic in its life and witness, to an extent unique not only in Darlington but in much of the Southwestern part of the diocese of Durham. Outstanding among the eight vicars who have served the parish was Fr. Theodore Gobart (1901-1930).•As uncompromising in his Catholic faith and practice as in his Christian socialism, at a time when neither was fashionable (and in certain official quarters, not even tolerated) he achieved a reputation far outside the boundaries of the parish, and indeed the diocese. He was also a noted Shakespearean scholar and popular lecturer. The fiery zeal of the diminutive Fr Arthur Cross is still remembered in the parish. He was also unique in having been incumbent twice, initially for the years 1950 - 59 and then again (after the benefice had been united with that of the town centre parish of S. Hilda) from 1963 - 68.

His successor was Fr Denis Smith, a much-loved pastor in whose time the united benefice was severed and S. James again stood alone. During the final years of his ministry he had the assistance of a nonstipendiary curate, Fr. Michael Wilson, but the latter’s commitments in his secular profession meant that the help which he could give with visiting and other pastoral work was severely limited. In April 1989 Fr lan Grieves was instituted as parish priest. In contrast to his recent predecessors for both of whom S. James was the final appointment at the end of a long career, this was Fr Grieves’ first incumbency and his vigorous and energetic enthusiasm transformed the parish into one of the leading Anglo-Catholic parishes in the Northern Province.

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During the years of his incumbency, Sunday congregations increased five fold, with a corresponding increase in support for the daily mass on weekdays,•and an excellent choir was established. At various times the clerical staff was increased by up to four by the addition of retired but still active priests, plus two other priests whose full time role was in chaplaincy. The Parish was one of the first to reject the decision of General Synod in November 1992 which authorised the ordination of women to the priesthood, as being wholly contrary to Catholic faith and practice and the historic formularies of the Church of England. The PCC passed Resolutions A and B under the provisions of Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure and petitioned for Episcopal oversight under •the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 (Resolution C) and is now under the alternative episcopal oversight of Martyn, Bishop of Beverley, the Provincial Episcopal Visitor for the Northern Province. This was confirmed by the current PCC in May 2012. S. James has been prominent in the Forward in Faith movement; one of the Churchwardens is a Council member of Forward in Faith, and Sr. Anne Williams - National Vice Chairman was a member of the congregation prior to her being commissioned in the Church Army. Father Grieves was a member of the Chapter of Our Lady and S. Cuthbert, which provides a forum for like minded clergy in Durham Diocese.

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Our Congregation


redictably, S. James’ distinctive and uncompromising churchmanship attracts an eclectic congregation from Darlington itself and even further afield, which has brought to the life and worship of the Church a range of talents .The Church is also very firmly rooted in the social fabric of the local community as their Church and many who are not themselves churchgoers are active in their support for it both in cash and in kind.

The decision by the previous incumbent and many of the congregation to join the Ordinariate caused some uncertainty and unhappiness. Those individuals that remained had doubts as to the future viability of their church. In the event, the numbers remaining proved to be greater than was first estimated and there is now a solid core of around 50 faithful members making up the congregation at the Sunday Mass and around 25-30 at the Wednesday morning Mass. Practically everyone of that number take an active part in the running of the church, whether it be as members of the PCC, cleaning the church or hall, opening the premises or simply helping others who have taken on tasks. The congregation are now firmly focused on the future and ready to face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, under the leadership and direction of a new incumbent.

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About money


he fact that the congregation was able to raise nearly £156,000 over five years for various refurbishment projects, plus the amounts required for Parish Share and normal running costs, says something about the generosity of our people. However, we have to be realistic in recognising that we now have a smaller number of people that make up the congregation. Whilst we can be confident that we will cover our costs during 2012 we have not been able to offer to pay the amount we used to pay in Parish Share. We estimate our annual income based on present weekly giving to be around £18,000 - this figure includes anticipated Gift Aid refunds. This is supplemented by the proceeds of various social and other fund raising activities which we believe will raise an estimated £8,000 in a full year. Whilst our reserves are reasonably good we continue to build upon these so that we are confident of being able to deal with any unexpected emergency, and so that in the future we will be in a position to continue the refurbishment of this special place. The index of deprivation for this parish is evidence enough that the amount of giving is not going to be as great as in some other parishes. Yet, in spite of this our people are very generous - with time and effort, as well as with money. We do attempt to bring in money from outside of the parish through Festivals, social activities, concerts etc.

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We also hope that through various initiatives we will be able to bring more people into S James’, and to make greater use of the facilities available in our Hall. Of course, most of our income is through weekly giving, and we hope soon to appoint a Stewardship Officer so that we may maximise personal planned giving and Gift Aid refunds. The Hall is well equipped and we intend taking steps to ‘sell’ these to the local community individuals and organisations - and also wider afield. It would seem that maintenance was not always high on the agenda at S James’, mainly for reasons of affordability. When Father Grieves became Vicar in 1989 he embarked upon a programme of restoration. Motivated by his enthusiasm and commitment a great amount of money was raised by the parishioners and from grants. In total no less than £528,000 has been spent on various repairs and upgrades since 1998; over the past five years over £368,000 has been spent of which £156,000 has been contributed by the PCC through the generous giving of the congregation. As a result our predecessors have left us with both the Church and the Hall in good condition; both have been re-roofed - Church in 2005/6 and Hall in 2009.

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About Darlington Darlington is a pleasant historic town, situated in the North East of England some twenty five miles south of the City of Durham and its Cathedral and University. Darlington is a Unitary Authority, so designated in 1997, but prior to that was part of the Durham County Council area. Edinburgh is approximately 140 miles to the north; Newcastle upon Tyne approximately 35 miles to the north and the City of Durham and its Cathedral and University about 20 miles to the north. The City of York lies to the south and is approximately 55 miles away. All of these places are readily accessed by rail and road from Darlington which is served by the East Coast Main Line. High speed trains reach London in little over 2½ hours; York in 30 minutes; Oxford in less than 4 hours; Bristol in less than five hours. Leeds and Manchester are easily accessible via regular and quick train services. The railway industry was born in Darlington although little of that industry remains today. Ironically a Japanese company – Hitachi – is soon to construct a train building factory on the northern boundary of the town adjacent to the historic Bishop Auckland branch line at Newton Aycliffe. It was on this route that the original railway line ran connecting Shildon to Darlington and eastwards to Stockton on Tees – the Stockton & Darlington Line.

Darlington town centre left - Market Place right - High Row

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Much of the industry in Darlington today is within the service sector comprising call centres, distribution and retailing, but manufacturing still has a significant presence. For example, Cummins manufacture a range of diesel engines in the town, many of which are destined for export. The Cleveland Bridge Company still survives and was responsible for the building of many world famous bridges and other structures. Orange Telecommunications have a large presence with call centre and administration centres. Aldi have a regional distribution centre as do Argos, both of whom are taking advantage of the excellent road connections that serve Darlington. Teesside University has recently opened a campus in Darlington and the Darlington College is well established in a modern complex and is situated on the edge of the St James the Great parish boundary. The Church of England sponsors an Academy that is located within the parish and with whom we have a good relationship. The Darlington Town Centre has benefited from significant investment by the local authority in creating a large pedestrianised area. Like many town centres there are a number of void premises resulting from the economic downturn and plans for a large retail development have been placed on hold. Out of town shopping is mainly restricted to supermarkets and DIY stores, with Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, B&Q and Homebase represented.

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Appendix On the following pages you will find ● Map of Parish Boundary (Appendix A) ● Extract from Church Urban Fund report on deprivation (Appendix B) ● Charts showing number of communicants at Sunday and Wednesday Mass (Appendix C) ● Statistics regarding Occasional Offices (Appendix D) ● Gallery of various photographs of the Church and Church life (Appendix E) ● Contact details of Churchwardens (Appendix F)

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Appendix A

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Appendix B


t•CUF•news: Video•from•the•Tackling•Poverty•conference online•now

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Appendix C

Charts showing number of communicants during Interregnum 70


Sunday Communicants

Monday Communicants

60 20




30 10




0 Lent 1


Page 23

Lent 2


Lent 3


Lent 4


Lent 5


Palm Sunday

Easter Day



Easter 2 Easter 3 Easter 4 Easter 5 Easter 6 Easter 7 Pentecost








Holy Trinity

10th Sunday OT

11th Sunday OT




0 Monday




Monday Monday of Monday HW










Monday - Monday St George 23-Apr












Appendix D

Occasional Offices over past three years

Baptisms Weddings Funerals

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2009 2010 2011 15 32 32 0 2 2 26 26 13


Church Interior Page 25

Appendix E


May Festival Procession and Reception in Hall More photographs may be viewed by clicking on this link: Page 26

Appendix E

Appendix E


Both Churchwardens will be happy to answer any questions. They may be contacted as shown below:

David Warren

Å 01325 314437 |È 07770 617273

|™ [email protected]

John Ridley

Å 01325 466488 |È 07766 767187

|™ [email protected]

Website Our website address is:

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