'The Pilgrim's guide to Devon's churches: The location, history, architecture and stories of Devon's 618 Church of England churches'
What a year it’s been for Devon Pilgrim. Here’s a roundup of everything we’ve been up to.
Devon County Show
After years in the making, and a pandemic to contend with, we were thrilled to finally launch the initiative at the Devon County Show in July.
Over the weekend, we had dozens upon dozens of conversations with our friendly neighbours across the county and beyond, all intrigued and excited to discover more of what this ‘Devon Pilgrim thing’ was all about. We met a wide range of people from those who had walked other pilgrimages (notably the world-famous Camino de Santiago on the continent) to others with no experience of pilgrimage.
During the official launch event, the Bishop of Exeter, Robert Atwell, said a prayer of blessing, followed by two special performances by local folk musician, Jim Causley.
After three days and countless conversations, we left feeling more passionate than ever about Devon Pilgrim and had big ideas about its next steps. We also left feeling very tired, so we had a nice rest before doing anything else.
The Archangel’s Way
A few weeks later, we celebrated the launch of The Archangel’s Way, the 30+ mile route which begins atop the magnificent Brent Tor, crossing the north side of Dartmoor to the bustling market town of Chagford. Walkers and runners set off from either end of the route to converge on the beautiful village of Belstone. A special service was conducted by local Team Vicar, Paul Seaton-Burn, featuring poetry, readings, blessings and another excellent performance from Jim Causley of a song written especially for The Archangel’s Way.
The day’s celebrations continued with music from local musicians, Morris dancing from the all-female Cogs and Wheels group and many other performances showcasing the remarkable talent on offer in this special corner of West Devon.
A huge thank you to our friends along the route who supported the event by providing refreshments and delicious home-made cakes and sandwiches. We were looked after very well indeed.
In September we supported the team at Melanesian Mission UK to open Patteson’s Way, an eight mile circular pilgrimage route in East Devon visiting the main sites associated with Bishop John Coleridge Patteson, first Bishop of the Pacific islands of Melanesia.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, on his first official visit outside of London in 18 months, unveiled a plaque at Feniton Parish Church in East Devon, before blessing the first pilgrims to walk the Patteson’s Way. A special service was later conducted at Exeter Cathedral in honour of Patteson.
St Boniface Way
In October, St Boniface Way was introduced to the world (well, mid-Devon) with a series of mini-events along the route.
With talks from Exeter Cathedral and A Rocha on pilgrimage and creation care, long walks in the beautiful Devon countryside, dressing the Shobrooke Holy Well, enjoying lunch and afternoon tea, planting 300 crocus bulbs, a choral Service of Compline… we had a very special day indeed.
St Boniface Way is a 1-2 day pilgrimage starting in Crediton – the birthplace of its namesake – to Exeter – the place of his study; and is themed around his Benedictine daily rhythms of prayer, work and study.
Sacred Waters Way
Running from Dartington down the river to Dartmouth, each circular walk was themed around the four seasons and the special dates and festivals along the way. In 2022, the route will again begin at Dartington but up the river to its source on Dartmoor.
Stay tuned for more details.
We can’t wait to see what 2022 brings. You are all invited to join us on this exciting journey.
Five of our churches on The Archangel's Way are part of the Small Pilgrim Places Network, a national group of unique, peaceful spiritual sites.
Right in the heart of Exeter resides the tiny church of St Pancras - a place of sanctuary amidst the noise and bustle of the Guildhall Shopping Centre.