Holy Rood House in Thirsk - the Centre for Health and Pastoral Care - provides a welcome and entry for everyone to a safer space when life is falling apart, and an oasis in the midst of life’s turmoil, explained the Revd Elizabeth Baxter (pictured) recently to Churches Together in Easingwold and District.

Holy Rood and beighbouring Thorpe House were originally private homes, becoming in turn a school and then a Convent of the Sisters of the Holy Rood in the 1970s. When they moved on, Elizabeth and her late husband Stanley came here from Leeds in 1993 to set up the Centre. It includes accommodation, meeting rooms, a chapel, a very extensive library and a quiet garden. The prime Mission involves the two ministries of Teaching and Healing, for individuals and groups, for short or longer stays.

The community offers flexibility in an accepting and creative environment, to people looking for someone to accompany them on their spiritual journey. Sometimes a time of transition, illness or trauma can be the moment to find the right person and the place to make this important journey.

The Ecumenical team of Spiritual Directors and Accompaniers, both lay and ordained, have a variety of skills. Much use is made of the creative arts, in which people are encouraged to flourish, not fail.

Guests come from many places and may be self-referred (often via the internet), or by a doctor or other professional.

In addition, the Centre runs an extensive programme of retreats and other events.

Easingwold Deanery Publicity Officer Michael Wansborough said, "It proved to be a most interesting and informative session, raising a number of questions, which we were able to discuss with Elizabeth afterwards."


We reach for a welcome that beckons us homeward,
crossing the threshold to find safer space;
a place we can turn to in hurt and rejection,
where tender compassion bears witness to grace.

We rest in a love that can offer us healing,
care for the aching and comfort for pain;
a gentle embrace of our wounds and our rawness,
protecting fragility through suffering and strain.

We work for a vision that holds us together,
built on the depths of the faith that we share;
through tension and giving, in silence and speaking,
our tangle of living is woven in prayer.

We long for a wisdom that answers our searching,
the questions and protests and agonised cries;
the glimpses of glory through anger and doubting,
the mystery of holiness clouding our eyes.

We sing of a hope that is flourishing in us,
shaping our lives into all they might be;
delighting in art and in music and laughter,
the God of creation in joy sets us free.

Hymn of welcome written for Holy Rood House by the Revd Jan Berry