Our new Priest

From the Darlington and Stockton Times

Representatives of the local community joined parishioners from the Stanwick Group of Churches, the Walkingham Hill Benefice near Knaresborough and members of the clergy from a much wider area in Forcett church on Monday evening September 18 for the licensing and installation of the Revd Camilla Campling-Denton as priest in charge. She has previously been rector of the Walkingham Hill benefice

The Stanwick Group of Churches had been without a priest for several months. The licensing was carried out by Rt Revd Nicholas Baines, Anglican Bishop of Leeds who is well known to listeners of Radio 4’s Today programme as a frequent contributor to Thought for the Day. During the service he gave a sermon that made good use of his gift for communication though was almost upstaged by Revd Campling-Denton’s 2 year old son, Chad, who was busily exploring the church under the watchful eye of his father.

The licensing service is both a legal and ecclesiastical event recognising the Church of England’s role as the established church of England and requiring the new incumbent to swear allegiance to the Queen as well as reaffirming her ordination vows. Once the licensing was completed the bishop asked Archdeacon Beverley Mason to install Revd Campling-Denton in her customary seat in the church and present her to the congregation as their new priest. Following this the community representatives including local councillors, staff from local schools, the Aldbrough medical practice and other organisations came up one by one to welcome formally the Revd Campling-Denton to her new post. Now installed as priest her first task was to announce the church notices for the coming week.

The service ended with the hymn You shall go out with joy during which it had been intended that the clergy and readers would process out into the churchyard but in true British fashion, the weather ensured the impracticality of that plan. After the service there was a reception in the village hall at Eppleby which was an opportunity for the various groups who had been at the service to meet and chat.

The new priest with her husband Chris Denton, who is a musician and director of music at St Mary's Church, Richmond, and their three young sons are looking forward to spending time getting to know the area by walking and cycling as well as meeting the various people who make up the populations of the villages of the benefice. The three parishes are greatly looking forward to working with a caring and enthusiastic new priest and watching her family settle and grow as members of their community.

These parishes gained a certain notoriety in 2000 when at that time they said that they would not be prepared to accept a woman priest to fill the vacancy that arose then. There were no such misgivings about welcoming Revd Camilla Campling-Denton. 

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