The Community of the Resurrection has a long history with ministry in several countries all over the world.
CR – A Brief History was published to mark the Community’s 120th anniversary in 2012.
The Community of the Resurrection: a Centenary History by Alan Wilkinson, published in 1992, gives a more comprehensive account of the Community to that date.
On St James Day (July 25th), six priests founded a religious community in Pusey House, Oxford, where Charles Gore (1853-1932) resided as the first principal of the house. The following year Gore became the vicar of Radley and the brethren moved into the vicarage, sharing pastoral duties in the parish.
1898 The move to Mirfield
The founding brethren were Christian Socialists challenged by the poverty of the working classes, and their strong sense of vocation made them look for a new home in the industrialised north.
1902 Opening of the College of the Resurrection
The College of the Resurrection opened in the same year in which Walter Frere first became Superior. Because part of the teaching was done at the University of Leeds, a hostel was built and run in Leeds in the period 1904-1976. The College remains an important part of life at Mirfield, and students join the Community each day for prayer and worship.
1902 Work in Southern Africa
The Community first went to South Africa at the invitation of William Carter, an aspirant who went on to be Bishop of Pretoria. Establishing and working in parishes, schools and theological colleges, the Community had a presence in Africa until 2006. Today, the brethren maintain close links particularly with South Africa, Zimbabwe and Lesotho.
1903 Fraternity of Companions
The monastic awareness made it natural for the Community to develop a community for priests and lay people associated with CR and its Rule of Life. The Fraternity of Companions was established in 1903, and the CR Chronicle (subsequently CR Quarterly) became the link between them and the Community. Today, Companions are spread around the world, linked to the Community by mutual prayer.
1904 Mirfield Publications
Mirfield Publications started issuing a series of ‘Mirfield Manuals’ – 1d books of tracts on the faith.
The Foundation stone of the Church was laid on 22 July 1911. Designed by Walter Tapper, work was interrupted by the First World War and building was completed in 1938. A major refurbishment and re-ordering was completed in 2012, giving the Community a flexible space for prayer and worship which we are pleased to share with guests as well as local groups.
1914 Retreat House
Retreats became an important element of the Community’s work, with brethren leading retreats at Mirfield and in other parts of the country. Work on the retreat house began in 1914 and was finally completed in 1926.
1939 Trevor Huddleston
Trevor joined the Community and became a leading figure in the fight against apartheid, both in South Africa and, later, as president of the anti-apartheid movement.
An order of oblates was formed in 1944 for celibate men wishing to share the discipline of the religious life with brethren in a ministry outside the community.
1950 Hemingford Grey
For 60 years, we ran a retreat house in Cambridgeshire, having previously been in Sussex from 1931-48. Today, there is ever increasing demand for retreatants to come to Mirfield to share in something of the Community’s daily life.
The Community was invited to run Codrington Theological College in the West Indies, and stayed until 1969. Eric CR attended the College’s commemoration day in 2012 to unveil a plaque in the chapel marking the Community’s involvement. An active group of Companions remains on the island.
1967 Princess Margaret
Princess Margaret, visiting for the Community’s 75th anniversary, became the first woman to dine in the refectory.
1968 Royal Foundation of St Katharine
The Community moved from its London priory to the Royal Foundation of St Katharine, where we shared a ministry for 25 years with the Deaconess Sisters of St Andrew and then the Sisters of the Church. In 1993, we opened a priory in Covent Garden, from which we ministered to the city until 2003.
1968 St Matthias, Trier
The Community enters into a covenant relationship with the Community of St Matthias, a Roman Catholic Benedictine community in the Moselle wine region in Germany. A new agreed statement was signed in 1995.
1973 Church Porch
The most recent stage of new building onto the Church, the porch offers access to the Church for those approaching from any direction other than the House. This was seen as final completion of the Church, over 60 years after work began.
1977 Novitiate Reopens
A period of uncertainty in the Community came to a close with the decision to re-open the novitiate, leading to new professions since 1979. Today, we welcome a steady flow of enquirers, alongsiders, aspirants and postulants, supporting the discernment and exploration of vocations.
1996 Northern Ordination Course
The Northern Ordination Course opens an eastern arm based in the College of the Resurrection. This then became the Yorkshire Ministry Course which has recently merged with St Barnabas Theological Centre to form St Hild College. A flourishing relationship continues with both College and Community.
1997 Mirfield Centre
Established to formalise and broaden the Community’s work in offering learning opportunities for both clergy and lay people, the Mirfield Centre runs an ever-expanding range of courses and has become the hub of the Community’s public-facing works.
2007 New Refectory
Demands on the site – particularly for eating and teaching space – led to the building of a new refectory attached to the College of the Resurrection, and the expansion and rebuilding of the College kitchen. Today, we find that we are again pressed for space and are developing exciting plans for the future.
Over time, the church had become difficult to use both physically and liturgically. The failure of heating and electrical systems hastened the need to take action, and a major programme of work was commissioned to refurbish and remodel the building at the heart of the Community’s life. Much of the work was undertaken as a result of the generosity of our friends and supporters.
2015 Society of the Resurrection
An increasing interest in sharing something of the religious life prompted the founding of the Society, offering a structure and rule within which men and women, whether married or single, can join with us in prayer and fellowship whilst continuing their daily lives.
To learn more about the Community’s work today, please visit our news page.