Chapel’s half-century service attended by founder members

Words and photos by Dave Barry 

Several founder members attended a popular Scarborough chapel’s 50th anniversary service.

The Holy Apostles Chapel at St Mary’s Parish House in Castle Road opened in February 1969.

The inaugural service was attended by the Archbishop of York, Rev Dr Donald Coggan, ministers from nearby Catholic and Methodist churches and members of St Mary’s Church and churches which had been closed through falling congregations and deteriorating buildings.

Half a century later, 10 of those present attended the 50th anniversary service: Joan Ward, Rev Pam Jennings, Christine Rhodes, Kath Harness, Phyllis Ackling, Noreen Dennis, Kate Close, Jean Warren and Rosie Jackson.

Rosie’s father, Canon John Keys-Fraser, conducted the initial service and was instrumental in establishing the chapel. It is an extension of St Mary’s Parish House, which in 1969 was as busy as it is today. It was used for physical education lessons by the nearby St Peter’s School (now a business centre). It has a stage for performances and cinema facilities and is now the home of Scarborough Film Society. The building is home to the Rainbow Centre, which began more than 20 years ago under the ministry of the vicar, Rev Bob Jackson.

The churches which were closed, with their dwindling congregations redirected to Holy Apostles, were St Paul’s, a small mission church on land now occupied by flats opposite the fire station in North Marine Road; and St Thomas’s in East Sandgate, now home of the sea cadets, and where the town’s morris dancers practise. The chapel name was inspired by the names of the two closed churches.

Holy Apostles regular and Review columnist Joe Coates says: “Understandably, there was much sadness and anger for the members of those churches. It was not an easy ride for Canon Keys-Fraser.

“Fifty years on, the chapel has become a regular and loved place of worship. The Wednesday 10.30am communion service is well attended and valued, as are the morning prayer meetings, the family fun church afternoons and the Christmas day service. The regular Sunday 10am service became so popular years ago that, during the ministry of Rev Ted Crofton and curate Paul Kenchington, it moved from the chapel into the larger hall, where worship still continues each Sunday at 10am”.