Clergy and laity joined together at a service to bless holy oils and reaffirm their vows at Ripon Cathedral today.
Maundy Thursday saw the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, thank the filled building for the dedication and hard work in so many diverse roles across our diocese.
Freshly back from his first ever sabbatical break, Bishop Nick was warmly welcomed by Dean of Ripon Cathedral, the Very Revd John Dobson, who led the congregation, including the Lord-Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Johanna Roper, in a round of applause.
Reminding everyone that the diocese would be five years old next week, Bishop Nick said he had returned with a sense of renewed conviction having had time to view local and national issues from different perspectives during his study break.
Urging all to take courage from what had been created, he said how the diocese was unique and that all should tell the good news of both the New and Old Testaments.
"And that means not ducking the hard bits.
"Christian faith must not be reduced to a private security system for ourselves. These are times when we have to challenge some world views," he said.
"I have also come back with renewed admiration for you all - clergy and laity together - and with a renewed love for our common task."
The Chrism Eucharist centres on the blessing of sacramental oils which are then shared out and taken back to parishes.
Speaking after the service, Revd James Barnett (pictured with oil) of Riverside/St Matthias, Burley said:
"What Bishop Nick said was very powerful and this is truly an opportunity to renew, reconnect and be refreshed."
Revd Julie Bacon, interim priest-in-charge, Kildwick and Cononley with Bradley, (pictured) said:"This is a special service, a marvellous opportunity for all God's people to be together and reaffirm our vocations and identities, be they lay or clergy."
Canon Paul Cartwright of St Peter's Barnsley, (pictured above with Bishop Nick) said: "We are here together as brothers and sisters to see the blessing of the oils which help us bring the sacraments to life."
Bishop Nick posted the main body of his sermon on his blog which can be read here:https://nickbaines.wordpress.com/