In June 2013, YHCT awarded the Church of the Holy Epiphany at Butterwick £3000 for much needed roof repairs. This was part of the £30,000 raised by the church and local residents that was needed to restore the church, and on Sunday 15th June, Trustee Peter Johnston attended a service of thanksgiving and celebration, led by Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York.
Holy Epiphany Churchwarden Jill Hopkins said, “We realised we had a real problem at Holy Epiphany when chunks of plaster began dropping off the ceiling. If we didn’t tackle the problem, we knew we might have to close the church – we couldn’t have people getting hurt as the building decayed. The problem could only be solved by a restoration programme that involved re-roofing, new guttering, down pipes and soakaways, the stonewalls re-pointing, as well as interior work to replace rotten floor timbers; at an estimated cost of just over £30,000”.
“The work was urgent, and for many communities this might have been the moment to throw in the towel; but not for the residents of the hamlet of Butterwick, with its outlying farms and neighbouring village of Brawby. We feel that this small Victorian chapel is an iconic landmark. It is not only a special place of worship with a loyal congregation that swells to standing room only for special services, but a light and quiet place for contemplation”.
“We held events such as our day of ‘Beauty and Tranquillity’ when botanical artist Bridget Gillespie and wood carver Henry Leeson displayed their work in the church, and continued with coffee mornings and cake stalls. Local people pitched in by sponsoring roofing slates, and a local businessman was spurred into giving a generous donation after driving past the ‘cassockometer’, our fund raising thermometer with a difference.”
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, led the service, and said: “, “Not only is Holy Epiphany Chapel a beautiful building, it is at the heart of the communities of Butterwick and Brawby. It’s heartening to see how the local people supported the fundraising efforts of the church. The future of this rural Christian building is now secure, and the community can be proud of restoring such an important part of their North Yorkshire countryside.”
Standing as it does on rising ground overlooking the bridge over the river Rye, Holy Epiphany presents as an iconic landmark, and now the church is ‘fit for purpose’, it will remain as a beacon of Christianity, providing a place for worship, and quite contemplation.