A BISHOP celebrated the formation of a new Mardyke Team Parish.

Bishop John Wraw joined the people of St Michael’s Church, in Aveley, St Stephen’s Church, in Purfleet, St Nicholas Church, in South Ockendon and All Saints Church, in Belhus as they marked the formation of the new parish.

It came into being on April 1 and a service was held in St Nicholas, then on to All Saints, where the Archdeacon David Lowman preached, the Eucharist took place at St Michael’s and the service concluded at St Stephen’s, where a buffet was served.

A lantern was lit in each church and transported to St Stephen’s, where a special candle was lit to signify four congregations working together.

The congregations were transported between churches by a fleet of three restored Routemaster buses, donated by Ensign Bus company in Purfleet.

The Rev Tara Frankland is now team rector with the Rev Andy Hudson and Father Peter Rabin as team vicars of the Mardyke Team Parish, in the Deanery of Thurrock.