Reverend Suzy’s Installation Service

We were delighted to be able, at last, to formally welcome Reverend Suzy and her family to the Benefice at an induction service held on 28th July. With a few sensible precautions in place, the service went ahead in the newly-repaired Killinghall church and was attended by members of the three churches together with Killinghall’s patron, Sir Thomas Ingilby, and representatives of the diocese and the villages. Presided over by Bishop Helen-Ann, it was a welcome return to worship with singing, beautifully supported by a joint benefice choir.

For anyone who’s never attended an induction service, it’s a mixture of warmth and humour, symbolism and ceremony (or at least, this one was). Robert Smith, from Suzy’s previous parish, gave a delightful speech about her as he, in effect, handed over to us; Suzy received a symbolic bunch of keys by the wardens, placed her hand upon the church door and even had the unenviable task of ringing the church bell which, as everyone at Killinghall knows, is no mean feat (but she managed it with apparent ease).

It was lovely to see members of our retired clergy who have supported our churches so well during the vacancy and to hear the kind words of the representatives of the Methodist chapel and WI and our patron. Even though we weren’t able to have any real social time in the church after the service, it still felt as though we, as a united benefice, had finally said a proper (and long overdue) welcome to Suzy, Brendan, Kathryn and David.

Happy Easter!

We celebrated Easter Sunday morning with a wonderful Church service in which we raised the cross made by the children with Rozanne Russell at last Saturday’s Easter Eggstravaganza.  It looked wonderful against the rood screen and by the beautiful pulpit flowers arranged by Elsie Russell, with the Paschal Candle taking centre stage.  We are so grateful to ALL our kind volunteers who do so much for our Church and make it such a place of welcome, hospitality and fun. Happy Easter from the Church family.

Easter Eggstravaganza!

On a beautiful April morning, there was a chill in the air but the church was filled with warmth and the comforting smell of chocolate for the Easter Eggstravaganza event! 

Local children (young and old) joined in with some fun Easter crafts. Kids made festive doves, Easter bonnets and cards, as well as creating a giant cross on an egg which will form the centre piece to the Easter Sunday service. 

There was chocolate galore to indulge in with Easter buns, hot drinks and a chocolate tombola with a prize every time. An egg themed quiz tested everyone’s knowledge of the Easter story. The winner will be announced in the Easter Sunday service in church. The Vicar then judged the winner in the traditional Easter bonnet competition. 

The morning was rounded off with an eggciting Easter egg hunt on the Glebe. The event raised £150 for the church and was a great way for families to get together in the heart of the village while learning about the story of Easter.

Festive Family Fun Day

The weather outside was miserable but inside the church was warm and filled with festive cheer on Saturday 1st December for a family fun day.
Children from the village gathered to make festive crafts in the morning. The floor was carpeted with a layer of glitter as the children decorated Christmas cards, gingerbread biscuits and baubles.
More people joined at lunchtime for hot dogs and delicious soup followed by carols round the Christmas tree. A delicious afternoon tea rounded the day off.
There was a tombola, cake stall, sweet tree stall (with all proceeds going to Great Ormond Street Hospital), a raffle and a name the teddy competition.
The day was organised by members of the congregation who baked cakes, cooked warming soup and made delicious sandwiches.
It really was a fabulous day and lovely to see the church alive with laughter and festive cheer.
The day raised a total of £400 for the church.
More Christmas activities will take place throughout December in all four churches. Keep an eye on the upcoming events page for more information.


We had a wonderful weekend of music, hospitality, fellowship and faith at Killinghall Church over the weekend of 5th-7th October. During the weekend over three hundred adults and over one hundred children came into Church either to participate in concerts and events, and to enjoy food, fun and fellowship. We started the weekend with a joyful concert by the Killinghall C of E School Choir and Years 1 & 2, before which hot chocolate and marshmallows warmed us all up as the colder weather kicked in. Later that evening, a stirring and rousing concert was given by St Aidan’s Symphonic Wind Band with a varied repertoire and wine and nibbles were enjoyed. On Saturday, our newly restored organ was played, during which coffee and cake was served and people were able to see the beautiful Harvest displays of flowers and produce, which were gifted by the schoolchildren from Killinghall and will be taken to those in need in the village, and to the Harrogate Homeless Project. On Saturday evening, the Village Voices gave a wonderful performance and we had a Bring & Share Supper in Church. Our weekend concluded on Sunday with a traditional Harvest Service of Holy Communion and an Afternoon Tea and Favourite Hymns Sing!

Our intention was to open our Church doors and welcome people in and to offer hospitality and fellowship to all, in reflection of God’s loving welcome and gifting to us, as we then were able to give to others in His name. We think we did it!

Gospel Choir Workshop

On Saturday 22nd September, York City Gospel Choir joined us at St James’ Birstwith for a gospel singing workshop. Around thirty people from across the Benefice attended the workshop, together with the Gospel Choir. At the end of the afternoon, a concert was given by all the attendees, together with the Gospel Choir – it’s fair to say that most of those attending actually sung in the choir, but great fun was had by all in this uplifting, spirit filled, inspirational praise.

They invited anyone to join them for their regular practice at Clifton Moor on Thursday evenings and we, in turn, invited them to join us for worship whenever they would like to!

In the press!


We held a Pet Blessing Service at Killinghall Church on Sunday 16th September, to which a number of our regular congregation and schoolchildren brought their beloved pets, as well as canine visitors from the local community.  It would be fair to say that dogs outnumbered any other pet, but there were two beautiful Guinea Pigs and a tortoise among our guests too!  The service was joyful and all pets behaved themselves in an exemplary fashion – much fun was had by all.  See this link for the write up in the Harrogate Advertiser, with more photos!

Welcome to our new Parish Administrator!

We are delighted to welcome Gill Clarke, our new Parish Administrator.  Gill will be working from the Parish Office at St John’s Bilton, giving much needed administrative support to Rev Chrissy.  Gill has been working as Parish Administrator for St John’s & St Luke’s for a couple of months, before which she had  a successful career in retail management.  Gill will provide a first line port of call for all general enquiries, as well as providing administrative assistance.

We are also very grateful indeed to Rev Simon Dowson, Rector of Bilton, for his willingness to help us to enable this post by so generously offering use of the existing Parish Office at Bilton.

Gill’s working hours are 1-3pm on Mondays and 2.30-5.30pm on Wednesdays.  Her contact details are as follows:

Tel: 07840 922748


Our New Confirmees!

If there is such a word!  We are delighted to share the good news of our Confirmation service at St Thomas the Apostle, Killinghall, when four adult members of our congregations were confirmed in a special service by our Ripon Area Bishop, the Right Reverend Dr Helen-Ann Hartley.

Helen, Susan and Jen are members of Killinghall Church and Beth is a member of Hampsthwaite Church.  All four churches in the benefice came together for this joyful commitment to Christ that our four candidates made in coming to Confirmation.  The service was a first in the area as Bishop Helen-Ann presided whilst her husband, Myles, very kindly played the newly restored organ – a wonderful double act!

The Confirmation group met regularly with Rev Chrissy in the run up to last Sunday to prepare for their Confirmation.  Rev Chrissy said: “It is always a privilege to share in people’s Christian journeys, particularly at a time of wanting to make a greater commitment to their faith in this way. I hugely enjoyed classes, which were also attended by Jen’s baby, Fern.”

“I really valued the sessions as an opportunity to explore my faith in the wider context of my relationships as a wife, mother, daughter, friend and employee. I a looking forward to seeing what the future holds and how my Christian journey evolves,” added Jen.

Beth concluded “Being confirmed felt like a really significant moment in my walk with God. As I affirmed my faith in Jesus and felt the weight of the declarations said by me and over me, I awoke to a new awareness of (and willingness to heed) God’s call on my life. I’m excited to see what road lies ahead and to journey it with my fellow confirmees.”

Diocese of Leeds Lay Conference


Nine Lay delegates from across our Benefice attended the first Lay Conference of our young Diocese. Chrissy as Assistant Area Dean and being part of the hosting team also shared in the day, Chrissy states “It was a real privilege to attend the Lay Conference. I was particularly encouraged that our Benefice had nine delegates, which was noted as a high attendance – I am so proud of our people and immensely grateful that they all gave up a whole Saturday to be at this event. I hope their enthusiasm for all they experienced is infectious”!

Below are the amalgamated Lay comments from our group. It was a very full day of presentations and sub groups and so these are just some of the high lights that made an impact on each of us.

Bishop Nick: In his introduction he reaffirmed that we are humans first, followed by discipleship and then ministry. He asked us “are we expecting to hear from God today”? Read on and see……We hope the following will also challenge, inspire and speak to all of us within the Benefice.

The opening worship and music was wonderful and really set the day as being God focussed.

Mark Russell – Chief Executive Church Army: Keynote speaker.
Challenged us to realise that in this secular world of today we are the “shop front” of Christianity and could be the only “Bible” some people read so our example can and should show people what Christianity and God is all about. We are a hope filled people in a world of uncertainty and we have good news to share! He suggested if each church introduced one new initiative a year – the difference it would make could be remarkable, and if each of us recruited one person to come to church – it would reverse any decline.

He encouraged us to reach out in new and creative ways – to actually go into the community. He illustrated the power of prayer – during a baptism service he shared how he wanted to make a difference by giving an Easter egg to all within his community. Little did he know there was a Director from Cadbury’s in the Baptism party, the person came forward and offered to supply all he needed!…..God equips us! He also showed an illustration of an orphaned hippo being placed with an aged tortoise and although they initially ignored each other, over time their relationship developed to one of caring, love and becoming inseparable – keep trying even if discouraged. Be confident in the love of Christ, we can change those around us by showing we care, doing this in simple ways eg text, buy flowers, phone, invite for coffee, by generally encouraging one another. He gave a humorous illustration of a rather poor looking sheep (won’t say ugly!) and how we need to look out for the lost and forlorn.

Testimony from Ehsan Kourjani – Sudan Link
A video was shown by this very young lady which gave a very thought provoking message of how “ordinary” people are spreading the word of God and bringing people to Christianity.

Bishop Jo Bailey-Wells “God’s call: The Old Testament and Me”
She confirmed that whatever we are called by God to do – God will equip us, even if we query and have doubts in His strength we can do it. We might feel we are broken pots/vessels and not worthy to do God’s work but broken pots have cracks and the light can shine out from these. God chooses to work through us – we are his hands and feet on earth, a vessel to radiate God’s Blessing….God chose us, we are a chosen people.

When we speak to God – listen and ask – don’t forget God’s voice can come through others so be open. – Keep listening as his call is like a gentle flowing river – not a stagnant pool – it evolves. Look and listen around you for the same persistent message until you act.

Nick Shepherd Programme Director ‘Setting God’s People Free’
Emphasised the need for Clergy and Laity to pull together to ‘enable’ God’s work to be done, it was refreshing to hear this at a conference for the Laity.

Andrew Norman Director of Ministry and Mission “Discerning God’s call for yourself and those around you”
Asked ‘How do you feel now?’ our answer was – tired, happy and inspired having thoroughly enjoyed the day.

It was good to be reminded that When the Old Testament talks of leaders it is their FAITH and NOT their Leadership the Old Testament emphasises eg (Moses, Abraham, Ruth and Samuel). He calls us from a place of safety to take risks, it may mean coming out of our comfort zone, we can be full of excuses but God says “I will equip you” Say yes to obedience and adventure. God is calling us individually to reach others and we will be blessed. The Old Testament is still so relevant to us today.

The closing worship and hymns were so inspiring, especially hearing them sung by nearly 1,000 voices.

It was also such a blessing to see the needs of those with a hearing impairment were met by two tireless sign language speakers; it reminded us of the need to ensure we are inclusive of all people irrespective of their individual needs.

We came away buzzing with the whole ethos of community in action, acknowledging the need to encourage and enthuse one another. Working together as one throughout the Diocese and Benefice to the benefit to all.

We recognise the need to encourage more people and especially younger people into our churches, perhaps a shared youth worker might be a way forward? Could our churches be used not only for worship but also to use our buildings for the benefit of the whole community?

Let us be a people of doing not just talking! Enabling means Lay and Clergy working together and when we do we have the potential to become a dynamic partnership!

Chris Eyes
St. James’ Church, Birstwith