The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, has visited Grendon to meet the congregations of the five churches which comprise the Yardley Hastings Benefice.
Worshippers of St Mary’s, Grendon, gathered with those from St Andrew’s, Yardley Hastings; St Mary Magdalene, Castle Ashby; Castle Ashby, St Margaret of Antioch Denton and St Mary the Virgin, Whiston to meet the Archbishop on his two-day visit to the Peterborough Diocese.
The Rev Paula York welcomed the Archbishop who wanted to see an example of a rural ministry.
During his hour with the congregation, he met members involved in different aspects of church life including members of the clergy, church wardens, youth workers, members of the Benefice and Community choir, who gave a performance, and everyone involved in church life.
She said: “We wanted to show that rural ministry is alive and well in our diocese and to demonstrate to him the imaginative ways that we are engaging with our five village communities.
“He spoke to those involved in running and maintaining our churches and was particularly inspired by the T-shirt that our Messy Church had made for him as well as our work with the Grendon C of E Primary School and young people in the Benefice.”
Wearing the T-shirt emblazoned with ‘ABC Justin’ on the back, he continued his tour.
Two long-serving church wardens, with a century of service between them, were presented with certificates by the Archbishop who thanked them for their hard work.
Paula added: “The Archbishop presented Gerald Hunt and Richard Dicks, who have both served 50 years as churchwarden at St Mary Magdalene Church in Castle Ashby, with long-service awards.
“The church members also presented the Archbishop with a basket of ‘rural’ produce including local honey, homemade jam and half a dozen fresh eggs.
“He then went into the ringing chamber to talk to bellringers from across the benefice who rang as he left to visit for Northampton.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to take time to celebrate the hard work put in by so many through the parish churches in Castle Ashby, Denton, Grendon, Whiston and Yardley Hastings to build community and serve our villages in Jesus’ name.”
The Archbishop said: “I saw an amazing example of thriving rural ministry this morning in Grendon. Thanks Rev Paula York and all for welcoming us.”