A packed church at Great Ouseburn welcomed our new vicar, Rev Sarah Feaster, to our benefice with guests from Sarah’s previous parishes plus assorted members of the clergy from around the area. It was good to see a deputation from the Whixley parish’s linked church, St Aidan’s, Leeds, where Sarah and her family worshipped regularly.

Led by Bishop Nicholas Baines, the relaxed service nevertheless, lacked none of the solemnity and prayerfulness of this wonderful occasion. Our combined choir (what a joy to hearing all those voices from within our benefice!) sang beautifully – especially “Song of Mary” by York composer, Richard Shephard – whilst the Bishop’s sermon reminded everyone that our congregations are expected to offer as much support to our new vicar as we would expect from her. It goes without saying at as a Christian community, this will happen!

After Sarah had tolled the church bell, symbolic of the church’s mission in calling all people to worship, the Archdeacon led Sarah to the vicar’s seat with these words:

“Sarah, I place you in the seat of the Vicar of this Benefice. Lead and hold these parishes in prayers…”. Various representatives of organisations within the benefice officially greeted her.

From now on, Sarah is by herself and takes over the duty of priest to all within our benefice. She can only be successful if she has the full support of everyone living within our villages.

From what I know of our wonderful village communities, I know that Sarah and her family will be welcomed with prayerful love, humour and Christian fellowship.

So, Welcome, Family Feaster!