ALMOST 250 people joined a Zoom meeting as the new rector of Hexham was welcomed by the community.

The institution of Rev. David Glover, formerly of Washington, Tyne and Wear, as the rector of the parish of Hexham St Andrew, took place on Thursday night.

Although the service could not be held in public due to the coronavirus pandemic, 247 people, including parishioners and community figures, attended the service via Zoom

Rev. Glover extended his thanks to the people of the town for the warm welcome given to him and his wife Emma.

He said: “My wife and I have had a wonderful welcome. You’ve made us feel welcome with bottles of wine, cards, emails, and other messages.

“I know too that they have been sending us their best in prayer.”

The service was carried out by the Bishop of Newcastle, Christine Hardman, to coincide with the Feast of St Matthias the Apostle.

Bishop Hardman praised the technology that allowed so many to come together.

She said: “It’s quite extraordinary how connected we can feel. Through Christ, and through Zoom, we are together.

“Hexham Abbey has survived so much, and it will continue to do so.

“David and Emma will share their lives with the people of Hexham, and they will love you.”

Several prominent local figures, including the Mayor of Hexham, Coun. Bob Hull, spoke during the service to welcome David and his wife.

Coun. Hull said: “Hexham was voted the happiest place to live in the country last year, largely because of its community spirit and its neighbourliness.

“That spirit is being demonstrated in the coronavirus crisis. Looking ahead, the town council looks forward to working with you and the Abbey team to ensure that Hexham is a strong, viable, town.

Mark Aspell, master mercer at funders the Mercer’s Company, added: “This has been very unusual, but very uplifting.”