Announcing the Revd Claire Honess

St Mary’s Church is delighted to share the news that the next Vicar of Whitkirk will be the Revd Dr Claire Honess.

Claire joins us from the Benefice of Barnoldswick with Bracewell, where she has been Assistant Curate since 2021. Before her ordination she was Professor of Italian Studies at the University of Leeds. She will be moving to Whitkirk with her husband over the summer, and a date for her induction and collation will be announced in due course.

We’d like to offer our thanks to those who applied for the position, as well as to our congregation, our patron the Society for the Maintenance of the Faith, the Diocese of Leeds, and all who have offered their prayers, support and guidance through this time of vacancy.

Feeling sunny

It’s been a while in the making, but St Mary’s Church Whitkirk Community Centre is thrilled to share the news that it’s now (at least partially) powered by the sun.

Thanks to the combination of a generous legacy left to the Church, combined with grant funding, the new solar panels will generate an estimated 6,900kWh of electricity every year – that’s enough to fully recharge 150 electric cars, completely meet the electricity needs of two and a half houses, or make a whopping 200,000 cups of tea!

The system – installed by local firm Leeds Solar – also includes a battery which will soak up any excess power generated during the day and then release it at night.

By combining the solar panels and battery with information from the National Grid, the Community Centre is also helping to build a more resilient and lower-carbon electricity supply for the whole area. 

All together it’s estimated that the system will not only save the Church around £2,500 a year which can be put back into the local community, but will also prevent over a tonne of carbon being added to the atmosphere.

The death of Her Majesty the Queen

St. Mary’s joins with people of all faiths and none in giving thanks for the life of Queen Elizabeth II. The church is open over the coming days as part of our Heritage Weekend, and is available for all who may wish to pray, sign a book of remembrance, or simply sit in the space.

We shall in due course be holding a service of commemoration, as we remember her life, and we shall confirm that date as soon as possible.

Continue reading “The death of Her Majesty the Queen”

Letting the (wild)flowers grow

As part of Earth Day 2021 St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk are pleased to share the news that parts of their land will now be left to grow wild.

The Church is responsible for the upkeep of large amounts of grassy land in its churchyard and cemetery, and this change means that selected patches where there are no graves will no longer be mown. Leaving these areas to grow wild and encouraging local flowers and plants to take root helps to support local wildlife, in particular pollinating species such as bees and butterflies. This in turn strengthens the local ecosystem, boosting biodiversity and making it more resilient in a changing climate.

St Mary’s is committed to reducing its impact on the environment, and this change is the latest in a line which includes moving to low-energy lighting, installing improved insulation, adjusting heating to better match usage and encouraging greater reuse and recycling on our sites.

An update on worship during the latest lockdown

Worshipping in-person

During this time of national lockdown we have temporarily suspended all acts of public worship at St Mary’s. We ask everyone to play their part in controlling this ongoing pandemic by following all official advice and remaining at home wherever possible.

This is not a choice we take lightly, and we will regularly review our decision and re-open to worship – with some restrictions – as soon as we believe it is safe to do so.

Join us for worship online

You can join us in worship online every Sunday from 10.00 am by visiting, or catch up later at any time in the week. These services are streamed live from St Mary’s and include prayers, readings, hymns and a sermon.

If you can’t get online you can also call us on 0113 467 6777 to hear the services over the phone, or listen to our services by podcast, by searching for “St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk”. Services over the phone and podcast may be delayed by a few days.

Baptisms, weddings and funerals

We are able to hold services such as baptisms, weddings and funerals with limited attendance. If you want to speak to us about one of these services please email [email protected] or call 0113 264 5790.

Stay up to date

You can sign up for our weekly email newsletter at

You can find us on social media – we’re /whitkirkchurch on Facebook, @stmaryschurch on Twitter, and @whitkirkchurch on Instagram.

For full details of what we’ve been doing during the Coronavirus outbreak you can see our website at

Get in touch

If you want to get in touch with us about anything we’re always here for you. You can email [email protected] or give us a ring on 0113 264 5790, or for more ways to get in touch see our website at

An update on reopening our buildings

As businesses up and down the country begin to reopen, many churches are working towards doing the same. Here at St Mary’s we’re eager to open for worship, services and prayer once again, but our first concern is the safety of everyone who enters our buildings. For this reason taking things slower to make sure we’re doing them properly and at the right time.

At the moment we remain closed for all services – including weddings and funerals – as well as for private prayer. We are working hard to find ways to gradually reopen both our church building and Community Centre to as many people as possible, and we’ll be sharing our plans in due course.

We have no plans at the moment to stop providing our online and telephone services, meaning even after we begin to reopen you won’t need to attend in-person to join our worship. If you are currently shielding or self-isolating we continue to recommend you follow all official advice, and encourage you to get in touch if there are ways we can help.

Please continue to share your thoughts and comments with us, as well as join us online each Sunday and through the week.

The Coronavirus Management Team

Switch how you donate at Whitkirk

Dear friend,

These are trying days in the life of our nation. At the beginning of the year, while we might have known of the outbreak of a new illness through the news, we probably pushed it to the back of our minds. Few could have imagined what impact it would have for as we all know, it has changed so many aspects of our life. St. Mary’s, as you know, has not been unaffected and last Sunday morning via the internet I led a service from a church now closed to the public for worship. Next Sunday, I may be broadcasting from the Vicarage! Yet the life of the Church here and around the diocese goes on. We have to find new ways to minister and manage our parish.

One aspect of this management is the impact on our cash flow at this time. As one of our regular givers, I appreciate how much you do to support the Church through our envelope scheme. However, opportunities for giving in this way are now minimal. Therefore I ask if you might consider changing the way you give, at least for the time this pandemic is with us.

Continue reading “Switch how you donate at Whitkirk”

The Church continues to be alive and active, but our buildings must close

We are seeing a huge increase in the number of people falling sick with COVID-19. We must distance ourselves from one another and prevent the spread of infection in order to save lives.

Therefore, as well as public worship being suspended, St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk and all church buildings in the Church of England are now closed for all services and prayer.

Our worship of God and our care for each other continue but cannot be done in the church building.

Our website contains details of how to join others online for prayer, worship, study, and community life.

The vicar can be contacted in an emergency by telephoning 0113 264 5790 or emailing [email protected]. Churchwardens may be contacted in an emergency on 07929 127190 or 07554 442788, or by emailing [email protected].

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength… Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

To protect the vulnerable amongst us, please do not leave your home except for essential trips.