The other part of the rhyme of course is… ‘where it rains six days out of seven!’
This of course is not true – it is always shiny and bright here in the gorgeous South-West of England – the sun always shines, it is just sometimes there are clouds between you and it! But as I write this, we have just experienced some of the strongest winds for over thirty years in the South-West and more generally across the South of England, brought to us by Storm Eunice.
But within the life of the Society here in the Diocese of Exeter there is indeed a wind of hope and joy blowing strong as we give thanks to God for all the blessings he has bestowed on this part of the Ebbsfleet family. We have so much to look forward to, and it indeed looking forward that we need to focus on as we continue to emerge from COVID and two years of disruption.
We are thankful for the Episcopal ministry of Bishop Martin Warner and Bishop Will Hazlewood who are supporting us while the See of Ebbsfleet is vacant, and it will be a joy to welcome Bishop Will back to the Diocese of Exeter to celebrate the Ebbsfleet Chrism Mass in Exeter Cathedral on Tuesday 12th April.
We are all so excited at the prospect of welcoming the image of Our Lady of Walsingham back to Devon, almost eleven years after the last visit for a Jamboree weekend across the Diocese. The image will be received into St Michael’s Heavitree on Friday 20th Mary for a Vigil Service; there will be a Sung Mass in the Cathedral at 11:30am on the 21st May, healing ministries of the church at 2:15pm and a procession of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction at 3:30pm. All are very welcome, please see the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham Website for more information on booking your tickets.
After a two year ‘COVID Gap’ we will once again be gathering as the Family Fest Community at the River Dart Country Park. Family Fest is a family camping weekend which is distinctly Catholic in its expression. Our theme this year is ‘Angels and Saints’ as we will create a camping experience for our ‘Saints in Training’. Please look at our Family Fest Website for more information www.familyfestsouthwest.com.
We will also be welcoming to the Diocese in the Autumn a team of Missioners who will be leading five ‘Fan the Flame’ missions in Society Parishes across the Diocese of Exeter as we seek to grow our churches both in number but in a greater and deeper conversion of faith.
As we give thanks and as we look forward to some incredible opportunities to share the good news of the Kingdom let us pray for each other as members of the Ebbsfleet family, let us pray for the Council of Bishops of the Society, and let us prat fervently for all who are involved in discerning who our next shepherd will be.
With my prayers
Fr Nick Debney – Representative of the Bishop of Ebbsfleet in the Diocese of Exeter.