Bishop Nick was surprised when a grateful candidate presented him with a distinctive Lake District slate sculpture following a confirmation service at Bingley All Saints Church.
Charlie Kershaw gave Bishop Nick a slate shield on behalf of all seven candidates and All Saints Church at a reception after the service.
Charlie, a former scenic designer at YTV, who now runs his own stone carving business in Bingley, was asked by All Saints parish priest Beverley Mason to use his skills to provide a special gift for the Bishop. “Beverley mentioned it would be nice if I could make a present from us all for the Bishop,” said Charlie. “During the confirmation classes the concept of the Trinity was so powerful that I wanted to include it in the design”.
The high Lakeland fell slate came from a supplier in Grange over Sands. “I made it into a 12” polished curved triangular shield representing the Trinity. It has a Celtic styled cross with a rough punched circular background and a small convex square of planished stainless steel in the centre, I love variations in texture.”
Charlie decided to be confirmed after Beverley was licensed as priest-in-charge at All Saints at the end of April. He said: “My wife, Janice has been going to All Saints ever since we moved to Bingley 31 years ago, but I only started going after attending the licensing service.”
A friend of Charlie’s commissioned a Madonna statue to fit in a gable niche of a farmhouse in Italy. During the carving it helped him on his journey to faith. He said: “As I was carving, my thoughts naturally turned towards Christianity and the thoughts grew stronger and stronger. Now I just love carving things with a religious theme.
“There have been certain points in my journey where there has been sudden clarity. I was questioning everything, trying to work it all out, but then I realised that there are some things we cannot comprehend – you just have to believe and have faith, and that gave me a wonderful feeling of inner peace.”
Charlie worked for YTV for 30 years. “I started as a stage hand in the theatre when I was an art student, from that I got a job at Yorkshire Television as a scene hand for the first 10 years and then for the last 20 as an art director and scenic designer involved with shows including Darling Buds of May, Touch of Frost, Heartbeat and many others”. In 2009, ITV stopped production of Heartbeat and offered staff voluntary redundancy so I took it.
"I’ve always loved stone, it's all around us here in Bingley. So after YTV I started my own business, first at home, but that wasn’t ideal - it's a bit tricky taking big stones up and down cellar steps – so I now rent my own workshop in Bingley.
"At the moment I'm working on a circular stone garden table embossed with a relief carved Yorkshire rose in the centre. It has scallop designs cut all around the edge of the top representing the 27 books of the New Testament.”
Bishop Nick said: “This gift was a total surprise. It holds the cross in the context of God’s enfolding love, encompassing the whole of life. It will hang in my study where I can see it daily and be reminded of Charlie, All Saints Bingley and God’s great gift.”
The seven candidates from the two Bingley parishes – All Saints and Holy Trinity - were Millie Markham, Alex Widdop, Susan Cochrane, Barbara Coleman, Maureen Stott, Chris Atkinson-Price and Charlie Kershaw.
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