Exmoor Deanery covers Oare in the west to Leighland in the east, Dulverton to the south and Blue Anchor to the north. Its 28 churches cover dozens, even hundreds, of square miles and countryside from the deep moor to the Bristol Channel and farmland. Harvest and Christmas are very significant events in the life of Exmoor when we meet to thank and praise God for all his gifts and the incarnation of his son as a human being.
When we praise God for his gifts in creation, we also praise him for our human need to have friends, to take care of each other and to meet as Christian communities. People on Exmoor live busy and often hard lives, outdoors in all weather, tending to animals, running small businesses and living in isolated villages. Christians here enjoy ancient and beautiful buildings, but in an area where many are mature in years, we are looking anxiously to the future of all our churches and their often small congregations. If we are to remain as a Christian presence in every community, we will need more people to help us.
We also have one of the least socially mobile communities in the country, hidden levels of poverty, homelessness and isolation. Our food cupboard in Alcombe provides more parcels each year, and now there is also an outlet in Dulverton and another food cupboard in Williton a few miles away in the next deanery.
We need to nurture our young people through going into schools but also using our two youth workers. We remain the only deanery with a summer camp and the need for our workers far outstrips our funding needs. We continue to pray for grants and aid to expand what we can do with children and young people in the deanery.
The Revd Caroline Ralph
Exmoor Rural Dean