MEMBERS of the congregation at St Mary and St Nicholas Church, Compton were shocked into silence last week by an unexpected visitor to their Café Church-style service.

Brigid of Kildare, played by Oxfordshire based actress Mary Warrington.

The service itself was looking at the ministry of welcome and hospitality in the church when St Brigid of Kildare – an Irish-born contemporary of St Patrick – arrived and was interviewed about her oft-acclaimed work in the twin-field by churchwarden Dave Hawkins.

The saint – whose Feast day was 1 February and was arguably the first-ever female Bishop – told of her work in 5th-century Ireland tending the poor and needy, and set the record straight about some of the “legends” attributed to her.

The story was then taken up by a performing fox, herself the subject of one of the legends. Once the interview was over, the congregation went on to fashion St Brigid’s crosses from straws, and were introduced to St Brigid’s blessings for home and workplace. The saint and her fox then bid the congregation adieu and went on their way, after being thanked for travelling so many miles and a millennium and a half.

St Brigid appeared courtesy of Oxfordshire actress Mary Warrington, while the fox was animated by Robyn Kuttner, a member of Parababble, the Hermitage Team Puppet Ministry.