New Ribble Valley vicar is 'deeply touched' by friendly welcome

Rev. Christopher Wood is pictured second from the left with dignitaries at the induction.
Rev. Christopher Wood is pictured second from the left with dignitaries at the induction.
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The new vicar of two Ribble Valley villages says he has been "deeply touched" by the welcome that he has received and is looking forward to being surrounded by people who speak in an accent that he can understand.

The induction of the Rev. Christopher Wood, as vicar of Waddington and West Bradford, took place earlier this month at St Helen’s Church in Waddington, by the Rt Rev. Philip North, the Bishop of Burnley.

Speaking about this new role, Rev. Wood said: “I am deeply touched by the welcome that I have received in Waddington and West Bradford and by the friendliness that I have encountered in all the people I have met in the Clitheroe area.

"I was brought up near Bury where my mother still lives, and it is a true joy to me to be returning home to Lancashire after half a life time away, in Oxford, London and Norfolk. At last I am surrounded by people who speak in an accent that I understand and who know what an oven bottom barm cake is.

"When I was a child we enjoyed many Sunday afternoon drives out to the Ribble Valley, often passing through these beautiful villages of West Bradford and Waddington. I would never have guessed then that one day it might be my privilege to come and serve the people of this community, as vicar, as I do now."

Rev. Wood added: "My working life has involved answering God’s call amongst homeless people, those whose lives have been diminished by addictions and by traumatic bereavements as well as working in the prison service and probation service. Eventually I answered the call to the ordained life as a priest in order to go on serving God by sharing his word through the sacraments and the life of the church. I have ministered in Norfolk parishes, both urban and rural, and I have always enjoyed village life where there is usually more activity going on than many towns would ever guess.

"In the coming weeks and months I look forward to getting to know the people who live in my parish as well as families connected to Waddington and West Bradford school. As vicar I am called to listen to everyone and to share with them the good news of the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As St Helen’s Church in Waddington is so popular for wedding services, I also look forward to being part of many joyful occasions as couples make such an important step in their lives and ask for God’s blessing.

"I am sure that people will soon realise that they have just seen the vicar when a large man in a clerical collar passes by on his moped. I am eager to get to know more and more about this area and its people.”