On a sunny day in early July over 200 people from churches across the circuit gathered for the York Circuit's second annual Celebration, hosted by Robin and Margaret Jackson at their farm near Stillington.
Starting in the barn with the Circuit's Annual General Meeting, every chair was occupied as we worshipped together, led by Revd Ian Hill. Sally Gall, the outgoing Senior Circuit Steward, led the gathering in a look at the events of the past year, and her successor Christine Stephenson spoke about the coming year. Revds David Godfrey and Francis Nabieu are moving to other Circuits this summer and we hope to appoint a new minister for September 2016. In the meantime retired ministers Revd David Priestnall and Deacon Cedric May will be providing care for churches, alongside Revd Leslie Newton and others.
Superintendent Revd Leslie Newton concluded by introducing the new Circuit Vision (which can be downloaded from this page) which had been approved by the Circuit Council and was the result of a lot of work by the Vision Group.
"I am excited by us reaching this point because I think that the Vision Statement offers us great hope as we look to the future," Leslie said. "The important thing now is to make the Vision Statement come to life. The Circuit Council committed us to focus on that work in the coming year."
Leslie also spoke about the need to take risks, and to encourage each other to keep a sense of momentum: "We are at our best when we realise we belong together."
After the AGM everyone went out into the sunny weather to enjoy the afternoon's entertainment. The Golden Rail Brass Band and Strensall Singers provided music, and there were stalls and displays about many of the activities going on in churches around the Circuit, including Open the Book (taking the Bible into schools), Messy Church, building and development projects that are revitalising various churches, work with the homeless and activities for children- including a bouncy castle!
With a barbecue, selection of cakes, strawberries and cream as well as hot and cold drinks and an ice cream van, no one was in danger of going hungry or thirsty. Donations were collected during the day for the Circuit Ebola appeal, with the money going to help children orphaned by the disease in Sierra Leone, and £1162 was raised.
There was also the opportunity to buy fairly traded goods, and to celebrate the fact that the Circuit has recently gained Fairtrade Circuit Status.
The afternoon ended with hymn-singing led by the Golden Rail band and Robin Jackson, a fitting end to a Celebration of God's work in the York Circuit.
You can see more photos from the Celebration in the 'Galleries' section of the website.