Wednesday evening saw the licensing of a new Vicar for the River Idle parishes of Austerfield, Bawtry, Everton, Mattersey and Misson

The Revd Becky Hancock was licensed in the Church of St. Nicholas, by the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, the Rt Revd Paul Williams, in a covid-safe service.  Since the lockdown necessitated by the coronavirus, all licensings have taken place online; Becky’s licensing therefore marked the first ‘in person’ service to have taken place since March. Numbers were strictly limited to 30 socially distanced and face-masked guests, although many more were supporting Becky through prayer, across the communities.

Representatives from Bawtry and beyond welcomed Becky as the new Vicar; this included: –

Kay Beckett, Church warden for Austerfield on behalf of the River Idle parishes, The Revd Dave Gough, Area Dean for Bassetlaw and Bawtry, Paul Higginbottom – Executive Head of Everton and Mattersey School (on behalf of all the local Primary schools) and Ivor Greer, Pastor of the Bawtry Community Church on behalf of Bawtry Churches Together. Becky is also Chaplain to the Bawtry Air Cadet Squadron so was welcomed by Flt Lt Andrew Archer – Commanding Officer of 2008 Bawtry Air Cadet Sqn.

Although Becky was welcomed formally, she is no stranger to the parishes to which she has been called, serving as their Assistant Curate in since 2017. Prior to being ordained as a priest, Becky was a senior manager with HSBC for 22 years, enjoying a successful career in a variety of IT roles.

Becky is married to John, a school head teacher, and they have two teenage children. Becky shared that the family were very pleased to be staying in Bawtry ‘we look forward so much to all that God will do across these communities, as we pray and journey together’.

This was the first licensing attended by the Bishop of Sherwood (designate), the Revd Dr Andrew Emerton, who gave the final blessing. As part of his episcopal role, Andy himself will also soon go on to license future ministers across the diocese.

Speaking after the service, Bishop Paul said ‘When we set a date to license Becky in Bawtry, we had no idea if it might be possible to do so under the current restrictions.  We are delighted that we could go ahead with a few present from each of the villages in the benefice praying for and welcoming Becky in her new season of ministry.  Becky brings immense gifts of leadership, vision and team building; God-given gifts which have been shaped by her time in banking before she was called to ordination. Becky’s heart to connect the good news of Christ in fresh and transformative ways with people in their workplace, classroom or home will be such an encouragement to many at this time and in the years to come’.