About the Parish

Little Churches

The parish of Upper Ryedale consists of five little churches in the North York Moors; three of which are mediaeval treasures. Every church has at least one service each month.

The parish, as a whole, is farming country, bordered by forestry and moorland. It has three pubs, one restaurant, one shop, one garage, a number of bed and breakfast establishments, and some of the most beautiful countryside in England.

Our churches are always open, and we welcome visitors. Old Byland and Cold Kirby churches provide help-yourself refreshments to ramblers.

The parish is dedicated to St. Aelred of Rievaulx. Old Byland Church was already standing when Aelred first arrived in Rievaulx, just down the lane, in 1134; Scawton church was built during his time there, by the neighbouring Byland monks.

There are no other churches apart from the Anglican ones; and the congregations include people from a range of different church denominations

An Upper Ryedale

I believe and trust in God,
daily to be encountered here.

In all walks of life
I honour the wealth
of God's creative work:
the restless roaming
of nomads and sailors;
the bold engineering and art
of great cities;
the farmer's patience with nature
in these old river valleys
and moorlands.

I hold fast to the raising up
of the Crucified:
'good news to the poor'.
And I celebrate
Christ's unglamorous presence,
down through the ages,
within the harsh life of toil
which shaped
this green landscape's
quiet fullness.

I look for
the Holy Spirit's fire
in the friendship of
little churches.
I affirm
the communion of saints
in redolent stillness
of ancient stone.
I aspire, in hope, to take to heart
historic wisdom.

And, beyond all the fearful
changes and chances
of this mortal life,
I still acknowledge the truth
in the curlew's call,
and the marsh orchid's wisdom -
greater by far than the glory of Solomon

both now and for ever. Amen.

This creed emerged, as a co-operative piece of work, out of the discussions of the parish Lent Group in 2001.
The conventional pattern for a creed is just that it should include three affirmations, or clusters of affirmation, relating to the three Persons of the Trinity: first, something about God revealed in creation as a whole; then something about the special meaning of Christ's life, death and resurrection; and finally something about the work of the Holy Spirit in the church, culminating in an expression of hope.
So here is a creed springing from our experience of this particular place.
The conclusion alludes to Matthew 6: 26 - 30: 'Behold the fowls of the air ... Consider the lilies of the field ...' And note also: the red blotches on the marsh orchid have a traditional association with the shedding of Christ's blood on the cross.

The Parish

For further information about events in the parish: see the Parish Newsletter

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