The Bishop of Whitby, the Right Reverend Paul Ferguson, recognised Yvonne Bowling as a Chaplaincy Assistant at the Thirsk Rural Business Centre on Thursday 13th February. Yvonne will be working closely with Revd Dianne Gamble Chaplain to the farming community, in order to aid the farming communities around Thirsk and North Yorkshire.

Yvonne has become an active member of St Oswald’s Church, Sowerby, in her seven years living in Yorkshire, and is excited to begin the next stage of her new role, after already having volunteered with the chaplaincy at the Rural Business Centre with Yorkshire Churches.

“We’re talking to them all the time, but sometimes we feel that they just want to have a space… we all talk about numbers of who we have in the church, but the numbers are here as well” Yvonne explains, as she describes the need for a space for the farmers to worship within the bounds of what they can get to. “They’re here, and some of them want to know what’s going on: what did you do this Sunday at Church? What did the Vicar say? They’re asking the questions.”

Her newest role as Chaplaincy Assistant will be to serve as a sort of bridge between the farmers and the church, bringing the church to them and offering a spiritual space in which the farmers can come and relax and talk to people like Yvonne and escape the stresses of farm life.

And the stresses of farm life are many. From working all days of the year, often with little to no support, as well as upcoming uncertainties on Brexit and the recent floods that have affected the area, it is more important than ever for farmers to have this sort of outreach to come to. “They don’t know what’s happening from one day to the next… I have to be their voice and say we need to stop and look at what we are doing” says Yvonne.

Yvonne comes from London, where she worked for the police force as support staff, helping those who had been victims of crime and victims of domestic violence. “All through the work that I’ve done,” Yvonne said, “God was always in my life. He was always pushing me to help people and to do more.”