Singing The Praises Of The Unsung Heroes Of Devon’s Churches
The first people to be admitted to the new Company of St Boniface are to be presented with their medals during a special service at Exeter Cathedral on November 9. The award has been introduced by the Bishop of Exeter to honour volunteers who have made a substantial contribution to Devon’s churches, communities and schools.
It also recognises those who have worked to support churches abroad.
The nine winners were nominated by churches across Devon. One of the recipients, Liz Camp, founded the Exeter Debt Advice Centre in partnership with Christians Against Poverty (CAP) 10 years ago.
The Reverend Jonathan Soper, from Exeter Network Church, nominated her. He said during the time the centre had been running 200 people had become completely debt free and 60 people had taken new steps into Christian faith.
Reverend Soper said:
“Liz has taught us how to love others with highly chaotic lives, to be wise but not be judgemental, to see regularly that the good news of Christ and the power of the Spirit changes lives utterly and that no one is too far from God.”
Another winner, Malcolm Pomeroy, who has been a volunteer at Exeter Cathedral for over 40 years since 1976, said he was “thrilled to bits” to win the award.
Morag Lobley, who was nominated for the “significant impact” she has made running school assemblies, pre-school groups, music workshops and youth groups in the Black Torrington area, said she was so surprised to be nominated for the award that she originally thought the letter of congratulations had been sent to the wrong person.
Bishop Robert, who is leading the commemoration service, said:
“I am really looking forward to meeting all the recipients and hearing their stories in more detail. They are an inspiration in the way they have followed Jesus’ call for us to “love our neighbours as ourselves. They are humbly living out their Christian faith day in day out and it is a privilege to be able to honour them publicly.”
The St Boniface medal has been designed by Exeter priest and stained glass designer Andrew Johnson.
The 4pm service on November 9 is open to everyone and the Diocese of Exeter is hoping as many people as possible will come along to support the new Companions of St Boniface.
Devon County Council recently voted to adopt St Boniface as the patron saint of Devon.
He was born in Crediton in Devon in around 675 and is credited with bringing Christianity to Germany. For this, some historians call him the “First European” and he is still revered in Germany to this day.
The St Boniface awards and commemoration service will become an annual event, with next year’s service taking place as close as possible to St Boniface Day on June 5.
If you would like to attend the service or would like interviews beforehand or afterwards please contact: Chloe Axford, Communications Director, Diocese of Exeter: firstname.lastname@example.org, 01392 294905, 07889 523776.