Walk of Faith – Holyford Mission Community

On 19th and 20th May parishioners from across the Holyford Mission Community came together to take part in a Walk of Faith.

The walk was devised by Julian Thompson who first approached the Rector, Fr Steven, with the idea last year. The Walk of Faith was designed to bring people together and offer a relaxed and friendly environment and opportunity for people to get to know each other and discuss matters of faith. The route took in all six churches in the Mission Community, plus an old chapel at Borcombe Farm, all set within the gorgeous East Devon countryside.  We started on St Dunstan’s Day at St Michael’s, Musbury, with a special Eucharist at 7am. After a special blessing for the pilgrimage, we had breakfast at the village hall before setting off across roads and farmland to Colyford, where we gathered for Morning Prayer and coffee.  Then on to St Andrew’s, Colyton, for Midday Prayers and lunch, then on to St Giles’s, Northleigh, for Evensong. After tea at Northleigh, we walked to Southleigh, where we had supper in the village hall, followed by an address and Compline with the Ven Andrew Beane.

A few intrepid pilgrims camped overnight in St Lawrence’s, Southleigh, and in the morning, following a service of Prime, more pilgrims joined us for breakfast. We then set off for St Winifred’s, Branscombe, stopping on the way at the Chapel of Ss. Simon and Jude at Borcombe.  After Matins at St Winifred’s, we headed for the beach for an ice cream, then on to Seaton Hole and up to Holyford Woods.  Our Mission Community was named after these woods as it is at the geographical heart of our six churches. After prayers of blessing for the woods, our parishes and pilgrims, we did the last leg, ending our walk with a cream tea at St Michael’s, Colyford.

We were joined by parishioners and visitors at different stages of the journey.  We published our stopping places and the miles/details of the terrain of each section, so that people could join whenever they wished. The walk covered 26 miles over two days and took in fields and hedgerows, country lanes, beaches and cliffs, and woodland.  Prayer and refreshment were key features of the walk. Over fifty people joined us on our Walk of Faith, our youngest pilgrim was 1, our oldest in their mid-80s. We appreciated the opportunity to walk together, getting to know each other and our parishes better.  It was a great time of fellowship, refreshment and encouragement for all involved. The blessing of fine weather and good humour amongst the pilgrims added to the deep sense that Jesus Christ was with us every step of the journey.

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