Our Churchwardens at Killinghall, Sue Macdonald and Fiona Pepper; and our Hampsthwaite Churchwarden, Beth Wickenden, were all installed in their position for the next 12 months as the Archdeacon’s Visitation Service at St Peter’s on Monday 25th July.

Here they are with Reverend Suzy

Jubilee Weekend Activities

Benefice Jubilee Weekend. Please join us.

Thursday 2nd June 7.45pm Bell Ringing for Her Majesty

Saturday 4th June 1.30pm Coffee and Cake in Killinghall Church and a Street Party in Hampsthwaite Church Car Park!

Sunday 5th June 9.30 Killinghall Jubilee service and 11.00 Hampsthwaite Jubilee Service, wear red, white and blue and stay for refreshments afterwards. Crown activities for children.

Birstwith 6.30pm Evening Service of Holy Communion using the Book of Common Prayer.

Welcome to our new Musical Director

We are delighted to announce that we have appointed a new Musical Director, organist and choir master, whose name is Thomaz Flessenkaemper. We invite you to meet him in Hampsthwaite Community room on Saturday 2nd April at 6pm where we will serve drinks and nibbles. If you can’t make the evening, then do come along to one of our Holy Communion services 9.30am Birstwith or 11.00am Hampsthwaite on Sunday 3rd and hear him play and meet him afterwards. We look forward to many musical and exciting events in the years ahead!!

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.


Our famous snowdrops

Bang on time, at 9.00am on a very lovely Saturday 17 February morning a coach arrived at St Thomas a Becket Church filled with 44 Dutch Galanthophiles (snowdrop enthusiasts) on a garden tour from the Netherlands. They had come specifically to see the snowdrops in the churchyard! When I asked Hanneke, the leader of the group, how she knew about our display, she said she had found us on the internet!!!

The visitors

Never have the snowdrops been so photographed, as were the Mousey Thompson mice on the lychgates. The visitors took the opportunity to look around the whole of the churchyard, to sit on the benches overlooking the river, and to explore our wonderful church which all looked absolutely wonderful that morning. The visitors were so complimentary – I felt very proud to be part of our church and village.

Jud Charlesworth

Festive Family Fun Day

The weather outside was miserable but inside the church at Killinghall 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!