Lundy island becomes parish

20 December 2013

rebecca paveley

THE island of Lundy, off the north-Devon coast, became a parish in its own right on 1 December (Advent Sunday). St Helena's, Lundy, needs substantial repair work to the roof and walls, as it is continually battered by storms from the Atlantic.

Now that the island is a parish in its own right, it can more easily apply for funding for repairs and redevelopment. Projected plans include establishing a teaching and gathering space for visitors, with the aim of both highlighting the Church's work to safeguard the environment and exploring the island's links with Celtic spirituality.

The Revd Shirley Henderson, who is based on the mainland in Hartland, will become Priest-in-Charge of Lundy.

She was flown over by helicopter to hold a service on the island last weekend, and the whole island turned out - including groups of bell-ringers from Oxford and Southwark, who were staying there.

"Lundy is a very special place," she said. "St Helena's is storm-battered, and needs a lot of work, but residents and regular visitors to Lundy are absolutely committed to keeping it there. To turn it into a centre for everyone to use for worship and events, as well as research and education, will cost over a million; but we are hopeful that, with grant funding, and with the support we have from residents and those who are lovers of the island, we can do it."

Services at the church, which seats about 60, are currently held by clergy who are visiting. The rest of the island is administered by the Landmark Trust, and visitors tend to be walkers and nature lovers.

Mrs Henderson is a member of the Amelia Heaven Trust, which looks after the church, but it has only a few thousand pounds.

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