Vicar cooks up harvest bake-off

Rev Gary Wilton of All Saints C of E church on Ringinglow Road is organising a Great British Bake-Off for local scouts and guides

Rev Gary Wilton of All Saints C of E church on Ringinglow Road is organising a Great British Bake-Off for local scouts and guides

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The televised Bake Off is over for another year – but the cookery fun has only just begun at a Sheffield church which is getting into the baking spirit for a harvest service with a difference.

The Rev Gary Wilton has already held fun events this year themed around cycling and the football World Cup at All Saint’s Church, Ecclesall, and now the focus is on sifting flour and kneading dough for the Great British Bread Bake-Off.

The contest is the theme of the church’s harvest parade service from 11am on Sunday, when All Saint’s will be filled with children and teenagers, including members of local Brownie, Guide and Scout groups.

Each unit will be invited to bake a loaf and bring it along to be judged, with the winning team receiving £50 to go to a charity of their choice.

Rev Wilton said baking has soared in popularity among youngsters who have been tuning in regularly to the Great British Bake Off programme on BBC One.

“This generation is more excited about baking than ever before,” he said.

“The scouts in particular are very excited about baking the bread. One of the main themes of service will be ‘bread for the soul’ – how do we feed ourselves spiritually?”

The loaves will be judged by Emma Hardy, executive head of Ecclesall Infant and Junior School, playfully nicknamed the ‘new Mary Berry of Ecclesall’ by Rev Wilton.

He added that its congregation has been boosted this year thanks to the novel services held in recent months.

In June 209 bicycles were wheeled through All Saint’s on its first Cycle to Church Sunday, an event which is set to return next year.

The bikes were parked outside the Anglican church at the bottom of Ringinglow Road – looked after by the scouts – while riders attended a service with a theme of the wind and the spirit.

Meanwhile, a large screen descended behind the nave for each of England’s games in the World Cup, with an invitation to the public, as well as the congregation, to watch the matches.

“I’m greatly encouraged by the numbers of people coming to church, and the new people who are attending,” said Rev Wilson. “People who have not been to All Saint’s before are finding that church is fun and life-giving.”

Plans are also being made for a special First World War-themed service next month.