Seek and ye shall find it near Tedburn
Like the prodigal son, a newly ordained vicar has seen the light and come home to Devon. And now he's setting up a church in a barn.
Led by Devon boy the Reverend Pete James, who's coming back home after 10 years in London, a team's going to spend the summer knocking the place into shape when it will then become known as St Basil's. The Rev James says: “St Basil was one of the earliest Christian social entrepreneurs and he had a real reliance on the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit."
St Basil the Great of Caesarea (in modern-day Turkey) was a fourth-century bishop.” The Rev James explains. “He bought a farm on the outskirts of the city to feed people during a famine, he set up a hospital there, a hospice and an orphanage. It became known as the Basiliad, a place of monastic prayer, feeding people, teaching trades and breaking the cycle of poverty.”
It's hoped the new St Basil’s community, which will be based on a farm near Tedburn St Mary and Dunsford, will become a similar centre of prayer and worship, home-coming hospitality, deep discipleship and compassion-centric entrepreneurship. The project is a 'church plant' from KXC church in London and Exeter network church and is being supported by the Diocese of Exeter and overseen by the Bishop of Crediton. A consultation with other local churches is currently underway with a view to it being designated a new church under a Bishop’s Mission Order (BMO).
The Reverend Martin Wood, whose North Kenn Mission Community St Basil’s will be in, said “We are very pleased to welcome Pete James into our mission community. The church plant of St Basil's offers an exciting opportunity to develop a new church in the rural community. It offers a different expression of church in a new context.
That sense of expectation at trying something new was echoed by the Reverend Ruth Frampton, Priest-in-Charge of the neighbouring Teign Valley & Haldon Hill Mission Community. “It is exciting that such a “new creation” will offer an extra dimension to our Christian mission and ministry, helping to spread the Good News of God’s love and serve the people of Devon,” she said.
The Bishop of Crediton, the Right Reverend Jackie Searle, said, “I really want to welcome Pete to the Diocese of Exeter. This will be a different way of doing church based on a desire to see rural communities flourishing as places of faith for all ages. It will sit alongside the great work already being done by our rural churches. I’m excited by Pete’s vison for St Basil’s and his desire to serve local people and make a difference in their lives, particularly at this time.”
The St Basil’s project is in its early stages and Pete and a team of volunteers will spend the summer and autumn developing it before it opens its doors. To follow the progress of St Basil’s go to: https://www.stbasils.church/ https://www.instagram.com/stbasilsdevon/