A fledgling Christian community on the North Yorkshire coast is looking to expand its team who live in and run its retreat house.

St Oswald’s offers visitors a place for retreat and holidays, set in a spectacular setting amid beautiful wooded grounds and with stunning views across the village of Sleights in the Esk Valley.

For 20 years, the Order of the Holy Paraclete sisters, based in nearby Whitby, ran the house as a retreat centre before teaming up with the Scargill movement in the Yorkshire Dales to form the new community.

‘This is a phenomenally formative opportunity for people to come and join us and experience the nuts and bolts of what a Christian community looks like’, said the Revd Paul Reily. With his wife, Jackie, also an ordained minister, they lead the community, with Michyla Hickling joining them for its opening in 2020.

All three lived and worked at Scargill before moving across Yorkshire to what Paul said was to ‘take on but not take over’ the sisters’ work.

Jackie said prospective community workers wouldn’t need prior experience in a similar environment. But they must have ‘the love of others’ and the ability to ‘have a go and not take things too seriously’.

She added: ‘You don’t need to go on a course to live in a community – coming here will be like an apprenticeship where people will learn on the job.

‘The most important thing is for our new members to make St Oswald’s their home, not just a place of work’. Jackie said they would need to be fit to carry out daily duties, including cleaning, hoovering, gardening and cooking.

‘We will want community members to learn the ways of this place and do their best to make it work’, she added.

St Oswald’s will pay an allowance and give free board and lodgings.

Paul added that the length people wanted to stay would be open for discussion but expected they: ‘would be formed more like Christ when they left than when they arrived’.

He went on: ‘We don’t want to be prescriptive and say what kind of people we want to join us.

‘We’re open to Christians of any age and from any type of Church’.

The charity describes itself on its website as a ‘small intentional community seeking to follow a rhythm of prayer, and offers hospitality and a warm welcome to anyone who comes through our door’.

If you’re interested in joining the team, contact St Oswald’s on 01947 810496 or office@stoswalds.community.

Words by Mike Tyas