THE congregation of the Mulgrave parishes - Lythe, Hinderwell and Ugthorpe - were treated to a church service with a difference on Sunday.
The service, which was led by Reverend Barry Pyke, took place in the unusual location of Rose Hill Farm, Mickleby.
Josephine Secker, Curate of the Mulgrave parishes, explained: “The idea to hold the service on a farm derives from an ancient Christian tradition that celebrated the first fruits of the harvest.
“A Lammas service - which is derived from the an Anglo Saxon celebration that literally mean ‘loaf mass feast’ - would see harvested crops brought to be blessed by and dedicated to God.
“There are lots of farmers within our benefice and they are often so busy - particularly when harvesting - that we decided that we would take the church to them.
“The experience was very refreshing, the weather was nice and it was lovely to be out there surrounded by cows and geese during the service.
“Everyone seemeed to really enjoy it and I think that it is a service we will look to hold every year in the future on different farms in the parishes.”
The outgoing Bishop of Whitby the Right Reverend Dr Martin Warner was in attendance and took part in the service.
Dr Warner’s participation was one of his last official duties as Bishop of Whitby.
He said: “The service at Rose Hill Farm took place on my last functioning Sunday here and I shall remember it with great affection.
“It was really a restoration of an ancient practice that dates back to the time of the Old Testament when the church gave thanks for the production of the food that we depend upon to live.
“I think that it is very important that the church connects with the farming community and demonstrates our commitment to it.
“It was very appropriate that the service took place on a working farm amongst all of the sights, sounds and smells of the livestock.
“We were blessed with good weather and received very generous hospitality from our hosts.
“It is great news that the Mulgrave parishes are now planning to make this type of service an annual event.”
After the service Reverend Pyke presented Dr Warner with a painting on behalf of the congregation of the Mulgrave Parishes to commemorate his time as the Bishop of Whitby.
The picture of Whitby harbour and the abbey was painted and donated by a local artist and Mulgrave parishioner who wishes to remain anonymous.
Dr Warner added: “The painting of Whitby that I received is beautiful and is a very welcome reminder of a really happy time spent here.”