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Nov 1, 2015

Freddy's November Letter


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Category: General
Posted by: suzi hedgecock

I want to tell you about "The South Dartmoor Mission Community" (The "Edge Community") Cornwood - Harford - Ivybridge - Sparkwell.

Since 2005 the Diocese of Exeter has been developing "Mission Communities". They are groups of parishes in the same locality coming together as one church, but expressing itself in the traditions of the churches involved in the Mission Community. It is essential that each church maintains its own identity of traditions reflecting the story of the particular church.

Our four churches, of St. Michael's Cornwood, St. Petroc's Harford, St John's Ivybridge and All Saints Sparkwell, have their own distinct traditions; all giving colour and texture to the one church, known as South Dartmoor Mission Community (S.D.M.C.).

It is early days for our Mission Community. We have been "commended" by the Bishop but are working and moving slowly towards the moment when we are "celebrated".

There are two vicars, Father Freddy Denman at Sparkwell and Cornwood, and Father Chris Osborne at Ivybridge and Harford. The parishes are trying to work more closely together and will be thinking about working towards a Mission Community Pastoral Care Team in the future.

The Mission Community "thinking" is done by the Mission Community Chapter; approximately a dozen people from the four parishes who have the interest and inclination to meet from time to time. They are a faithful group who are committed to the idea and vision of the Mission Community and to making it work.

Bishop Robert has given a challenge to all the parishes and Mission Communities to:-

1. Grow deeper in prayer
2. To nurture new disciples, and grow in numbers
3. To serve the community (Devon) with joy

In order to begin to do this the S.D.M.C. has taken as their inspiration "New Monasticism", a fresh expression of church which is becoming very popular across the Church of England. New Monasticism refers to a variety of approaches drawing inspiration from all monastic traditions. There is a strong focus on intentional community, patterns of prayer, contemplation, hospitality and practical engagement in mission. The S.D.M.C. has a subtitle - the "Edge". It is part of our thinking to work with those on the edges of life, something we can explore in the future. We draw on aspects of monastic life in our inherited church setting without seeking to be an order.

We have adopted a rhythm of life (what the ancients call a rule):

1. A daily prayer card for everyone in the Mission Community to use if they want. It can be said at anytime and anywhere, in parts or in its entirety.
2. Father Freddy and Father Chris will meet each Wednesday in the month, at 12 noon in one of the churches (a different church each week) to pray the Prayer Card. That the clergy are meeting together is a joy! Anyone can join them, especially from the parish in whose church they are for that week.
3. Every first Wednesday in the month there will be a simple Communion in one of the churches, taking it in turns to visit a different church. This Eucharist is for everyone from the Mission Community.

There is still a long way to go. We are just laying foundations for others to build on. Not everyone will feel they want to be part fo this, may not understand what we are trying to achieve. That's alright and understandable. But for those who do want to know more let us sum it up as follows.

The South Dartmoor Mission Community are passionate about Jesus. Collectively and individually the Mission Community offers hospitality and welcome, especially to "questers" or spiritual seekers and to all the people in its parishes. It values "inclusiveness" - all are welcome. We are passionate about sharing the Gospel of Jesus afresh to each generation.

As a Mission Community we seek to deepen the ways people encounter God, themselves and others. We are bonded together by a simple rhythm of prayer. We encourage daily prayer, scripture reading and meditation, accompanied by a Sunday Eucharist in the individual churches and the monthly celebration of breaking bread together. It all has echoes of monastic as well as Anglican tradition. There will be seasonal and annual patterns like pilgrimage and retreat. It is our hope, our vision to sustain a deeper sense of community for mission in this "neck of the woods".

A full Mission Community programme will appear very soon. Until then your prayers are asked for.

Weds 4th November at 7.30pm at Sparkwell Church - a simple evening communion for South Dartmoor Mission Community. All are welcome from all four churches.

Father Freddy



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