ANGLICAN congregations in the Worth Valley have been assured that they can continue worshipping in the same way, despite administrative changes in their parishes.

The Anglican Church in Cross Roads, Haworth and Stanbury has established a United Benefice, which covers the Anglican congregations in all three villages.

This means that the parishes of Haworth and Cross Roads cum Lees are now being operated as one administrative unit.

The current priest in Cross Roads and Haworth, the Reverend Peter Mayo-Smith, has become the rector in both parishes.

Within the supporting lay clergy Rev Peter Wilson has taken on a new role joining Gladys Stephenson to work under "Permission to Officiate" rules. The Rev Julie Roberts will remain as honorary curate in training until she completes her training.

The status of lay readers within the new united benefice's boundaries will not be altered.

The Rev Mayo-Smith said: “It was felt that the Anglican Church in the mid Worth Valley region needed to alter its approach so it could deal more easily with how people live in the parishes of the 21st century.

“Both parishes have put a great deal of thought into whether they wanted to make the change.

"Now we've become the United Benefice of Haworth and Cross Roads we can look forward to working and worshipping together, as well as fulfilling the Church of England’s mission in this part of the Worth Valley.”

The vicarage in Haworth's Prince Street will serve as the vicarage for both parishes.

The Rev Mayo-Smith added: “The only real change that the people of the parishes will be able to see will be the alterations to the Church titles on our respective notice boards.

“It’s really appropriate that the house on Prince Street has been selected as the vicarage for both parishes, as it's centrally placed and accessible to both parish congregations."