A CHURCH without a building that has also been without a minister for almost a year has appointed its first female leader.
The Reverend Helen Wilkinson will also be the first 'associate vicar' at the Eastbury Church since it was set up 10 years ago.
The church has no building, and instead services are held at Eastbury Farm School, in Bishops Avenue, Eastbury.
The previous two incumbents at the church, which is affiliated to Emmanuel Church in High Street, Northwood, were both pastors and male.
Miss Wilkinson, 55, of Rofant Road, Northwood, used to attend Watford Grammar School, so she has some knowledge of the area.
She said: "My experience is that women are very good at working in a team, and that is what my expectation is.
"Everybody at the church has been really supportive and they have given me a super welcoming. I'm glad to be back in the area."
Before coming to Northwood Miss Wilkinson was a curate at a church in Berkshire, and before that worked as a maths teacher for 26 years in Reading.
She said: "I thought it looked like a really friendly community church. The fact I am an ordained minister gives us a closer link with Emmanuel Church, and I am already on the staff clergy team there.
"My desire is to see the church grow in numbers and in the community."
Joanne Dawrant, a member of the congregation, said: "We have a leadership team within the church and they work with the person who is pastor or associate vicar.
"The last one left in October and the work has fallen heavily on the team. It's new to have a woman, and I have no problem with that.
"There's nothing about her to think the men are going to object, but there's always going to be somebody who has a feeling about it.
"I am really looking forward to her coming on board."
Roger Cooper, who is on the leadership team, said: "I don't think it will make any difference because she is a woman. She is the right person for the job, but some people may fear the unknown.
"It will be great to have an extra person taking on some of the responsibilities."
* There will be a licensing service for Miss Wilkinson at the school tomorrow (Thursday) at 7.30pm for all who wish to attend.