The nature of the land in Exmoor means that communities and their priests can feel isolated. Everyone has to travel distances to meet with others. Many of the beautiful churches have small congregations working very hard and drawing the deanery together so we can look outward and rejoice in living and telling the story with everyone from the farmers to the business people to the visitors at Butlins can seem a burden.
Exmoor is a place of great tradition and deeply rooted families and communities. We are thrilled to be able to host the priesting of two deacons in the deanery this year at Exford at the end of June. This has been a significant event not only in the lives of the two parishes where Nicola and Ann have been working but for the whole of the deanery, together with their training incumbents.
We felt very strongly that it was important for Exmoor to see two women being made priest in the heart of the moor and we are grateful that Porlock agreed that the service could be on the moor itself, although either church would have been just as good. To have two deacons working with us as clergy has been good for all of us since they bring all sorts of gifts and experiences from which we have learned together.
The diocese listened to the request that was made and to have Bishop Ruth visit us for this great occasion will make it very special indeed. Nicola and Ann working with us shows the best of what we have and the best we can have in future with God’s blessing.
The Revd Caroline Ralph
Rural Dean, Exmoor