Latest News

Below you will find some of the latest updates from around the Nidd Valley Circuit. For previous updates, please refer to the News Archive

Thank you Eleanor and Michael

It is with much appreciation that we say farewell as circuit stewards to Eleanor and Michael Borkett. Not that they are going anywhere soon. But they are both stepping down from their roles after many years of faithful service to both the old Knaresborough Circuit and the present Nidd Valley Circuit where Eleanor has been our Senior Circuit Steward for the past five years and Michael our Property Steward from its outset.

It has been a busy few years with an almost complete change of ministerial staff for NVC since Eleanor took over as Senior Circuit Steward. As those who have been involved in stationing will know, this is no mean task and Eleanor has worked tirelessly throughout this period. In fact, as I am writing, she is hanging curtains in the York Road manse, carrying out her duties to the very last. (Don’t be put off prospective circuit stewards—it isn’t a requirement of the job, just an example of Eleanor going that extra mile and her attention to detail).

A lot of things go on behind the scenes and few people know that the circuit has a car park and cemetery to attend to. Michael has always been there, looking after things unseen by the majority. We’re not losing his services entirely, he is now our Local Preachers’ Secretary and Eleanor is still sitting on various management teams.

Eleanor and Michael’s hospitality has always been remarkable: hosting meetings, suppers, parties at their home on behalf of the circuit and we circuit stewards in particular will miss our breakfasts consisting of toast made from Michael’s home-made bread—always a good start to a Monday morning.

Thank you, thank you both on behalf of everyone, we are most grateful for all that you have done, and for all that you will continue to do in the life of your church and circuit. God Bless.

Judith Yeats

Posted on: Mon, 27 Aug 2018

Introducing Jaynie and Family

Hi, I’m Jaynie Kendall and I am really excited about working with you all in the Nidd Valley Circuit as your Children and Families Development Worker.

I have lived in Knaresborough a year with my husband Rob and 8 month old Son Ethan. For the past 10 years I have worked in South London as a children’s pastor and I look forward to growing the exciting work you are currently doing.




Posted on: Mon, 27 Aug 2018

Introducing Gordon and Family

Dear friends,

Hospitality is an important act of the Christian faith. At its heart it is an expression of love to the stranger. The people of Israel were to remember they were once strangers in Egypt and they are to love strangers (Lev. 19:33-34). Jesus, in turn, experienced the love from strangers in his itinerant ministry. In one of Jesus’ parables he told the people to love and welcome the stranger.

We are to see Christ in them (Matt 25:31-46). The letter of Hebrews extorts us to show love to strangers as some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it (Heb 13:2).

Over the past few months the circuit has shown us hospitality. We feel loved and already welcomed into the family. We hope that we too will be a blessing to you all. Perhaps a moment to say a few words about us. Joseph is 8 months old. He likes to smile and is beginning to venture towards crawling. Zoe is 5 years old. She loves being with people and enjoys horse riding.

Becky, is a wonderful mother and enjoys singing. The birth of Zoe started a new interest in photography for me. Though my physique may say otherwise I have always enjoyed sports. Thank you for your prayers and be assured you are in our prayers.

May the peace of God be with us all.

Posted on: Mon, 27 Aug 2018

August Reflections from Rev Ben

Dear friends,

‘As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.'’ (Matt 10:7)

The old hymn goes
Summer suns are glowing over land and sea;
happy light is flowing, bountiful and free.
Everything rejoices in the mellow rays;
all earth’s thousand voices swell the psalm of praise.

I guess many of you will be singing it now for the rest of the day. Despite this being well-loved by many it is one of those hymns we rarely sing. This is partly because many of us preachers have chosen it in the middle of the week before a service when the sun is blazing down, only to turn up to the church on a Sunday and find it tipping down with rain! Part of the problem of living in the UK. This summer has been an amazing one and it has been interesting hearing stories
of those who have been on journeys abroad only for the weather to have been better here!

The concept of journeying is something that as Christians is very close to our hearts. We sing ‘we are pilgrims on a journey and companions on the road’ and even ‘summer suns’ has the line ‘light of life, shine o’er us on our pilgrim way’. As a circuit we’ve been on a pilgrimage over the summer since we said farewell to Gail and David and very recently Matt and Helen. They are all going on physical journeys and we who remain are called to continue to journey ourselves.

The scripture at the top of this letter comes from a passage in Matthew’s gospel when Jesus is sending people out to share the Good News. He is reminding us to share the Good News, the ‘going’ is actually an assumed action! Yet as churches it is very easy for us to become comfortable. As Christians we need to remember that the Bible talks about Jesus being the ‘scandalon’, the rock that makes us stumble.

As we continue on our journey this summer with God and as we share in the new stages ahead of us with Gordon, Becky, Zoe and Joseph and with our new circuit Children and Family Development Worker, Jaynie, we need to remember to go and share the Good News, to not become comfortable and to be constantly reaching towards the goal that awaits us at the end of our pilgrim journey.

Yours in Christ,

Posted on: Mon, 27 Aug 2018

Service to celebrate Rev Ann's Ordination at Starbeck (8th July)

Thanks to Rev Ben for joining Rev Ann in worship this morning as Starbeck Methodist Church celebrates Rev Ann's Ordination and welcomes her back to the circuit.

Click here to view more photos on Starbeck's website >

Posted on: Sun, 8 Jul 2018

Job Vacancy - Children and Families Development Worker

Nidd Valley Methodist Circuit requires a full time Children & Families Development Worker from 1 September 2018.

- Based in Harrogate

- Salary £21,000 - £24,000 per annum depending upon experience

- Application Form & Job Description Tel: 07944 853489 or e-mail :

- Closing date for applications -  25 May 2018

- Interviews will be on 14 June 2018

There is a genuine occupational requirement that the post holder is a Christian

Posted on: Fri, 27 Apr 2018

Welcome to new faces

We are delighted to be welcoming so many new faces to our Circuit.  Here is a short introduction to some of our new friends.  Firstly our new superintendent minister and his family.

Ben Clowes: Superintendent and Minister

Let me introduce us – we’re the Clowes family. We’ve moved to the Nidd Valley Circuit from Cheshire. I have just completed 10 years in my first circuit, Alderley Edge and Knutsford, looking after 3 churches including The Welcome.  This is one of the oldest ‘Fresh Expressions’ in the country and one of the first to convert into a fully-formed church in its own right.  We actually lived in Alderley Edge and when I did my probationer studies research on the village I learnt that there were more millionaires per square mile there than anywhere else in the country!

Over the last 10 years, we have grown physically as a family – we arrived there when Sam was 8 and Joel was 4 and about to begin school.  We leave with Joel about to start his GCSE courses which he will take at St Aidan’s, and Sam awaiting his A-level results and hoping to go to university to read chemistry this autumn! I began my ministry there and left as a co-superintendent.  During our time in Alderley Edge, Catherine became a trained Christian counsellor alongside honing her skills as a qualified worship leader among many other things.  Later this year she will begin work in the Ripon & Lower Dales Circuit as a Community Link Enabler. 

We’re looking forward to all that God has for us here in the Nidd Valley Circuit.  We do feel strongly that God has led us here and we’re looking forward to working with you all.  There are many challenges we face as church in the 21st Century but as we begin our new journey together we need to remember that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).  Here’s to all that God has for us all as we journey on with him. 

Yours in Christ 

(As well as being our Superintendent, Ben is also Minister at Trinity and Pannal.)


Rev. Grace Caudwell

Our new minister at Bilton Area, Hampsthwaite, and Killinghall.  

Ben and I met at Uni (he was studying law and my degree is in Youth and Community Work).  We then moved to Stanley, Co Durham, where I worked in pioneer ministry on a housing estate. 

Ben's job took us to North Yorkshire, with Ben working as a solicitor in Richmond, and I worked in various outreach roles in the Darlington circuit.

I've trained part time at Queens Foundation, which took longer than expected as we are now a family of four, with Edward (3) & Emily (18 months) who both love dinosaurs, Postman Pat, and trains. 
When I've not been busy studying, chasing toddlers, or walking our dogs I'm involved in reusable nappy and sling libraries, supporting other parents with young children. 

I'm really looking forward to getting to know people, and to working alongside you all as we show and share God's love in the Nidd Valley circuit and beyond.


Breaking News as we go to press:  Congratulations to Sam Clowes who has gained excellent A level results, with A*AA and an A in his Extended Project.   He has got his place at The University of York to study Chemistry.  His family are well proud! 

Rev Gillian Houghton

Grace is being assisted by Rev. Gillian Houghton at Bilton.  Although Gillian lives in Harrogate, she has recently been working in the Wharfedale & Aireborough Circuit, with churches in Guiseley, Yeadon, Hawksworth and Rawdon.   Gillian introduces herself here: 

Hi. My name is Rev. Gillian Houghton and I'm joining the circuit to work part-time (30% of the week) alongside Rev. Grace Cauldwell at Bilton Area Methodist Church.  I am married to Tom and we have an elderly whippet called Honey.  I like to be creative and have an interest in art.  These interests feed into the worship I prepare. I came into ministry in 2003 and prior to that had been a technical translator and then a secondary school teacher (French and German).   I'm looking forward to getting to know you and working alongside Grace.

Rev Gillian Houghton


Pippa French: Manager of Wesley Centre

From the beginning of September, Pippa French takes up her new post as Manager of Wesley Centre.  Pippa is no stranger to the circuit; she is an active member at Pannal, and attends circuit meetings.

Originally from London, I first came up north to university in Leeds in 1984 to study History of the Fine & Decorative Arts.  After then working back in London and Nottingham in public relations and marketing, I got a job with the BBC as Press Officer for the Yorkshire & Lincolnshire region.  I got married in Boston Spa in 2001 but have lived in Harrogate for 16 years. Our two children appeared in 2004 and 2005 and I decided to give up work to look after them. I retrained as a reflexologist and kept busy with a number of voluntary roles - just as interesting as my previous jobs but minus a salary! 

I am now very excited to be taking on my new position at the Wesley Centre. I will be continuing the great work that's already been done there and working to make sure it fulfils its potential and plays a big part in the heart of Harrogate's lively community.

Pippa  French 

Posted on: Tue, 12 Sep 2017

Congratulations Starbeck

Starbeck made a big splash in the local Harrogate Advertiser this week (17 August).  The headlines were ‘Starbeck’s extraordinary community spirit was on full show when the Britain in Bloom judges visited’. Starbeck had reached the finals of Britain in Bloom in the Urban Community  category for Yorkshire.  Eighteen community groups had pulled together in what the paper described as ‘a truly inspirational effort’.  Starbeck Methodist Church was involved and the Rev. Ann Fox was quoted as saying,  ‘so much has been going on in the background to pull all of this together. I've really enjoyed being a part of it’.  People of all ages came out to support this project.

The RHS Britain in Bloom UK Finals Awards Ceremony will be held in Llandudno on 27 October.  We wish the urban community of Starbeck every success and congratulate everyone concerned for their wonderful efforts.

For more and to see the pictures click here to visit the website.

Posted on: Tue, 12 Sep 2017

Chirp for Joy’ this Harvest!

Inspire your church to 'chirp for joy' at God’s creation and make a practical difference through All We Can's Harvest Appeal.

Share stories from Zimbabwe and the Bible of how it is possible to overcome challenges.

Download or order All We Can’s free inspiring resources, which include worship materials, a talk and a sermon, interactive activities, an unforgettable film and more!


Posted on: Mon, 29 May 2017