Our Parish & Our History
St Wilfrid’s Church is the Parish Church for Cantley, Bessacarr and Branton, serving some 6,000 homes in those communities and situated some 4 miles SE of Doncaster town centre. There has been a church on the site since the 11th Century. Details of the history of St Wilfrid’s Church and the Life of St Wilfrid may be found in the ‘History’ section of our website.
Our Church & Our Worship
St Wilfrid’s Church has been firmly established in the Catholic tradition within the Church of England for over one hundred years and is affiliated to The Society of St Wilfrid & St Hilda and Forward in Faith. St Wilfrid’s Church is part of the Deanery of Doncaster, within the Diocese of Sheffield, and under the pastoral care of the Bishop of Beverley, the Rt. Revd. Glyn Webster.
The Patron of the Living is The Guild of All Souls.
The Revd. Canon Andrew Howard became our Vicar in October 2013.
Fr. Andrew, as he is known to us, was born in Derby in 1963. After school, he worked in Hotel Management for fifteen years, latterly as the Front Office Manager for Hilton International Hotels at Manchester Airport. During this time he obtained a BA in Theology & Religious Studies at Manchester University.
In 1995, he commenced his Ordination Training at the College of the Resurrection in Mirfield and during that time obtained an MA from Leeds University. He was ordained Deacon in the Diocese of Southwell in 1997 and Priest in 1998. He served as Assistant Curate at the Priory Church of Our Lady & St Cuthbert, Worksop, in the Diocese of Southwell, from 1997 to 2001.
From 2001 to 2005, Fr. Andrew was Vicar of St Timothy’s, Hemlington, Middlesbrough, in the Diocese of York, where he was also a School Governor of two local Primary Schools.
In 2005, he was appointed Chaplain to the University of Teesside, in the Diocese of York. During his years at the University of Teesside, Fr. Andrew was also an Associate Priest at St Columba with St Paul & St John the Evangelist, both Anglo Catholic Parishes. He also served as a member of General Synod – House of Clergy – for the Diocese of York from 2009 until his appointment as our Vicar in 2013.
Fr. Andrew has a strong attachment to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham and has led annual Parish Pilgrimages and Youth Pilgrimages to the Shrine for the last ten years.
Since his arrival at St Wilfrid’s, Fr. Andrew has been appointed to the Sheffield Diocesan Synod and is a Governor of St Wilfrid’s Church of England Primary School in Branton.
Fr. Andrew was appointed Joint Area Dean of the Doncaster Deanery in July 2018
Fr. Andrew was installed as an Honorary Canon of Sheffield Cathedral in May 2021
Our Assistant Curate
Fr Michael Dixon became our Assistant Curate in June 2022
Fr Michael was born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire in 1996.
He first arrived in South Yorkshire at the age of 18 when he came to study History and Russian at the University of Sheffield, where he fell in love with Anglo-Catholic worship at St Matthew’s, Carver Street, in the city of Sheffield.
It was also at university in Sheffield that Fr Michael met his lovely wife, Lydia (a fellow linguist), whom he married at St Michael’s, Carver Street in July 2022.
After a year living in Russia and time as a pastoral assistant at St Michael’s, Croydon, Fr Michael commenced his ordination training at St Stephen’s House, Oxford, where he graduated with a BA in Theology & Religion and a PGDip in Theology, Ministry & Mission in June 2022.
Fr Michael was licensed as Assistant Curate in the Parish at his Ordination to the Diaconate on 26 June 2022.
Fr Michael remains interested in all things Russian, football (particularly his beloved Mansfield Town), cricket, and trying to keep his and Lydia’s cat, Harry, out of mischief !
Our Spiritual & Social Activities
Mass times are shown under the Services section of our website. There are also a number of regular weekly and monthly spiritual and social activities, as well as special events throughout the year. Details of all these are contained in the Activities section of our website, which is updated weekly.
We maintain very close links with Branton St Wilfrid’s Church of England Primary School and members of our congregation are governors at the school. Full details of the School and its activities may be found through the Links page on our website.