South Dartmoor Mission Community

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 (SDMC).

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”.

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 SDMC 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 SDMC 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) of 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.

We 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”.

Special services throughout the year will be hosted by one of the churches. These include Advent carols, Maundy Thursday, Tenebrae (on Good Friday) and Corpus Christi.

There was a pilgramage walk between the four churches on Saturday 7th November 2015 starting at St John's, Ivybridge at 11am, getting to St Petroc's, Harford at 12:30pm, then arriving at St Michael's, Cornwood at 3.30pm and ending at All Saints, Sparkwell with a short service at 5pm.

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