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!

New Stained Glass Window in the chancel

We will be holding a service of dedication and thanksgiving for the installation of a ‘new’ stained glass window in the chancel on Sunday 30th September at 11am. I will be joined by the former Archdeacon of Leeds, Rev Canon Paul Hooper for this special service in which the window will be blessed and celebrated.

The window has come to us through great serendipity and by God’s grace. The first we heard about it was when our former Churchwarden, Peter Capel-Cure, met with York Glaziers Trust (YGT) to discuss the needs of our current windows in terms of their preservation. The representatives from YGT noticed the clear glass window in the chancel and suggested that a window they had in storage from a decommissioned church may suit the space. They were very generously willing to let us have the window for nothing, other than the costs of altering it to fit the precise space and of transportation and installation. Following an exciting visit to YGT by Peter & Suzanne, Jud and myself, to see the window, it was decided by our Church Committee and PCC to use part of a very generous legacy from our friend and Benefactor, the late Ian Haden, to fund the necessary work to the window in order to make it fit the space and to be installed.

The history of the window with YGT began in 1975 when salvaged glass of c1910 by the London artist Henry Victor Milner (1866-1944) was relocated in York Minster clerestory window S2.1 These panels had been acquired from the demolished church of St Paul’s, Middlesbrough (built 1870, demolished 1966). The exact circumstances of the acquisition have remained unclear. These panels were removed from the Minster in 2013 and will now have a new life here. The beautiful reconstituted window depicts Jesus Christ seen in a traditional ‘blessing’ pose. In this stunning, colourful, window we see the Mother of sorrows flanked by St John, as they witness to our Lord, who is not in anguish upon the cross, but is resurrected, redeeming all creation through himself. The colours in the window pick up on the green of creation, which is reflected in the countryside around the church.

One of the unintended consequences of stained glass windows from their origins is the benefit that the window is seen, not just in its beauty from the interior as the light shines through from the outside in daylight, but in hours of darkness when, lit from the inside by electric light, the stained glass is illuminated and seen from outside the church too, increasing its influence.
The window reflects and completes the stories depicted in the other windows. It offers a beautiful symmetry and synergy with the East Window in the chancel. The dedication to our patron Saint, St Thomas a Becket, reflects the profound suffering of a martyr, brutally murdered in God’s church, for whom our church was built as a penance for those involved in uprisings from the area. Thus, the window encapsulates not only the hope of St Thomas a Becket of the love of God, for which he was prepared to die, but the act of repentance undertaken by individuals and communities which culminates in God’s forgiveness, gained by his Son, so clearly seen in this window as Jesus bestows his blessing on the world, a palpable, permanent, reminder that we are blessed and called to share His blessings with others.

We are most grateful to Ian Haden for his incredible legacy to the Benefice Churches, and whom we will remember through this window; to York Glaziers Trust for their gift, skill and generosity; to Peter Capel-Cure for his vision and tenacity; to Jud Charlesworth for her dedication in seeing the permissions for the window through the complex Faculty process; and to Rev Canon Paul Hooper for joining us as we celebrate the installation of this incredible gift to the Church and village.

Please come and join us!
Rev Chrissy Wilson

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:

email: [email protected]
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