Four legs and two

30 August 2013

WHEN the English National Sheepdog Trials arrived in the Exeter diocese, to be held on the Castle Hill Estate, in Filleigh, the Vicar, the Revd Jane Willis, and her Methodist colleague, the Revd Mark Noakes, decided to move the Sunday morning service from St Paul's to the Estate.

Mrs Willis says that Lady Arran, who "was there with her dogs, offered the use of the West Wing, and, together with Farming Community Network we were delighted to welcome about 80 worshippers of all ages - four legs and two". It was a simple service, she says, celebrating shepherds and their dogs, and it drew together the regular church members with the sheepdog triallists and others from across the country who had come to the event.

It was led by Mrs Willis with Mr Noakes; for she tells me that St Paul's is a "very happy informal Anglican/Methodist collaboration". The preacher was the Revd David Ursell, himself a Devon sheep-farmer, whose "amusing and insightful sermon included the fact that sheep prefer a smiling face". The hymns were accompanied by accordion and violin, played by triallists from Northumberland.

Forthcoming Events

16-18 February 2018
Church Times Festival of Faith & Literature

Our literary festival with a theological slant in Bloxham, Oxfordshire. Speakers include Francis Spufford, Ruth Valerio, Eve Poole, Mark Oakley, James Runcie and many others. Find out more

5-6 May 2018
Church Times Festival of Poetry
With Sarum College, Salisbury. More details coming soon - register your interest here

The Church Times Podcast

The Church Times Podcast, hosted by Tim Wyatt and Ed Thornton, features a mixture of interviews and news analysis. Listen online

Subscribe now to get full access

To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read seven articles each month for free.