Priest Beryl delivers her final sermon at King’s Lynn church

Rev Canon Beryl Wood, who will be retiring from St Faith's Church Gaywood ANL-150727-125026009
Rev Canon Beryl Wood, who will be retiring from St Faith's Church Gaywood ANL-150727-125026009

The Reverend Canon Beryl Wood, one of the first women in the country to be ordained, has hung up her cassock.

Mrs Wood – the priest-in-charge at a Gaywood church – took her final service at St Faith’s on Sunday.

It brought the curtain down on her second spell in West Norfolk having been curate there for five-and-a-half years between 1987 and 1992.

After taking her final service, Mrs Wood said: “I didn’t have any tears as such as it was a time to celebrate a fantastic 28 years in the ministry.

“There was so much to rejoice and give thanks for. I have enjoyed every minute of it and have met so many wonderful people.”

Mrs Wood spent two years training to be a deaconess at Lincoln Theological College from 1985.

After being ordained back in 1994, her next role was as hospital chaplin at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham for three years.

In 1997, she became rector at Shipdham and Bradenham, three years acting as rural dean, before spending three years as deputy warden at Launde Abbey in Leicestershire.

Prior to her training, she spent 13 years in analytical chemistry, working at a laboratory in London.

Last year she attended a special ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral, in London, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of women being ordained as priests.

On her second spell at St Faith’s, Mrs Wood said: “It has been a completely different role. I’ve had an oversight of everything going on in the church.

“It has presented a different challenge, everything from moving the pews out of the north aisle to making the finances of the church as one.

“It has brought a greater unity between the Methodist and Anglican communities.

“I’ve been able to help the curates as well, passing on my knowledge and experience from my inital time here.”

Back in 2012, she organised and took a party of 20 from the church to Jerusalem to visit the holy sites.

On Saturday, there was a specially-arranged party for Mrs Wood at Gaywood Church Rooms.

More than 150 people attended the farewell bash and Mrs Wood said: “I was inundated with some lovely cards and presents. It was an amazing afternoon.

“It was a joy to see so many people who have shared my 28-year journey through the ministry.”

Mrs Wood, 61, has no immediate plans for her retirement.

“I’m going to have six months rest to start with,” she said.

“There are still things I would like to do in the church and there are other projects which I’d like to do outside it.

“After taking some rest I will decide my next chapter.”