By Betsy Everett
A packed and lively congregation greeted the Bishop of Ripon, Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, yesterday for her first visit to St Oswald’s Church in Askrigg.
She presided at a family service of holy communion, explaining the significance of her vestments to the children, and encouraging the adults to take a leaf out of the book of Radio 4’s The Archers whose Lenten season in Ambridge was going to be “fuelled by positivity.”
This, she said, should encourage positive listening, “to each other, the environment around us, and to God.”
The embroidery on her cope, she explained, reflected the rural and urban nature of the Ripon area: the towns, fields, and water – “lots of it” – and she invited the children, many from sheep farming families, to hold the shepherd’s crook, or crozier, representing the bishop’s care for her flock.
The Gloria was sung – possibly a first – to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the official anthem of the European Union, and hot water bottles were provided for the less robust members of the congregation, as the heating had failed.