The Archbishop of York visits St James the Great, Ryhill


The Parish of St James the Great, Ryhill, Havercroft with Cold Hiendley and Wintersett welcomed the 98th Archbishop of York, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable The Archbishop of York and Primate of England, Stephen Cottrell to both preach at Evensong and to give Benediction on the occasion of the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone on Sunday 16th May 2021.

Even though the celebrations were unable to include Congregational singing and the numbers of those attending had to be limited due to the current COVID pandemic, the spirits of those who had gathered from the parish and it’s sister parishes of St Luke’s, Grimethorpe with St Paul’s, Brierley, as well as All Saints, South Kirkby, were not dampened, not even by the loud thunderstorm which was overhead for some of the service.

This was the first public engagement in person for the Archbishop of York not only in the Diocese of Leeds, but in the Northern Province outside the Diocese of York. 

During his sermon the Archbishop asked several questions of those gathered

“Why do we have a Church here in Ryhill? Why was the foundation stone of this church laid 150 years ago today, I gather right underneath the pulpit? Why did they put a Bible underneath the foundation stone?  Why are we here this afternoon, on this very wet afternoon?…  Someone said to me recently that the Christian faith was just a prop, and I said to them “Yes it is, what’s yours?” I’m not ashamed to say I lean on Jesus, that I need what I find in this Church and in the Church of Jesus Christ, because Jesus is the one who helps us through life and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is like medicine for the heart and for the soul”.

At the end of the Service those who attended were each given a packed Afternoon tea to take away and enjoy safely, and the Archbishop visited Victoria House, a local Nursing home situated at the side of the Church to see some of the residents.

The Priest in Charge of the Parish the Revd Canon Paul Cartwright said “It was a great joy for the parish and our newly formed team of parishes to be able to welcome the Archbishop of York to Ryhill for this special anniversary.  Christians have worshiped Jesus Christ and hallowed the area through prayer for over 150 years, and we pray that this will continue into the next 150 years. The date coincided with our usual pattern of evensong and so we were able to make the most of it, even though we are currently living with COVID restrictions.  To have Archbishop Stephen with us to attend his first public service in person in the Northern Provence outside of the Diocese of York was very special, and I thank God for the Archbishops ministry, encouragement and powerful preaching” 

Photos show the visit of the Archbishop of York to the church of St James the Great, Ryhill and to the Victoria House Nursing Home. Photos are by Benjamin Cartwright.