It was September 2008 when I first visited the church of St Mary the Virgin in Ebberston near Scarborough, a small Grade I listed church nestled in Ryedale, North Yorkshire. As a trainee architectural technician working for Ferrey and Mennim Ltd of York, I never thought that five years later I would be shaking the hand of not one Archbishop but two!
The late Gordon Huddy of the PCC and current churchwarden Sheila Clayton understood that for a church building in a remote area to survive, it had to first adapt to provide a space which the local community could utilise for activities other than worship alone.
Following a successful amount of fund raising, including a generous grant from the YHCT, the church had the money it needed to transform the west end of the nave. The facilities would include a kitchenette servery, accessible W/C, store room and vestry area all masked with a new decorative oak panelled screen. The removal of fixed pews and a heated stone floor to the nave area provided an open space with which to place stackable and movable seating.
Although sadly Gordon Huddy did not see the completion of the works, his fellow PCC member Sheila Clayton carried the work forward. To celebrate the completion of the works, the PCC arranged for the building to be re-dedicated and blessed, by none other than his grace the Archbishop of York.
Following the processional hymn and welcome message, Andrew Boyce of Ferrey and Mennim Ltd and church architect of St Mary’s gave a very interesting summary of the work involved in the project, including the archaeological evidence uncovered of the base of the walls to the previous church.
The churchwarden Sheila Clayton gave the first reading of 1 Kings 5. 1-7, followed by the Rev Dr Jo White with a psalmody and then a second reading by the PCC Vice Chair Keith Simpson of 1 Peter 2. 4-10. The organ was played very well by Dr Francis Jackson CBE during the ceremony.
The Archbishop of York performed a very insightful and refreshing sermon and was very captivating followed by his predecessor Lord Hope of Thornes in prayer. A number of hymns were sung and the church and its new facilities including the new stackable chairs blessed by the Archbishop himself.
Once the ceremony had finished, we were all invited to stay for a bite to eat and drinks were provided using the new kitchenette. The evening proved a success and was enjoyed by all who attended.
By Sean Lilley
YHCT Website Editor