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A Mission Community in the Diocese of Exeter

Our church buildings may be closed, 

but the Church is stll here for everyone

The Rector's letter, and other items usually on this page have been moved to a new page, together with the Church Magazine. These can now be found here

The information contained on this page will be updated regularly as new information becomes available. 

Most of our churches continue to remain closed at the present time.

St Peter's Shirwell is open on Fridays from 8.30pm until 6.30pm for private prayer and reflection, with

St Peter's Bratton Fleming open on Saturday afternoons 2pm - 5pm.

It is now possible to make a donation to make a donation towards the work of the churches in Bratton Fleming, Stoke Rivers and Kentisbury from this website.

Please click on the appropriate button above and follow the instructions to make your donation.

We are very grateful for your support at this difficult time.

This week's service from the Church of England

This week's online service is led by Rev Dr Lee Gatiss, the Director of Church Society. In his sermon, Lee reflects on God's kindness and mercy. The prayers are led by Ros Clarke, with readings from Gideon Emmanuel and Niv Lobo.


Service from the Diocese of Exeter

The Archdeacon of Exeter leads an online service on the subject of ‘Stepping Out of the Boat.’ “Perhaps we can all think of a time when we have had to take a risk, try something new, a moment when we like Peter in our Gospel Reading have had to ‘step out of the boat’, and trust God as we head out on the choppy waters. This week we’re exploring how people have followed the call of Jesus to ‘step out’ in faith.”

Although there will be no church services within the Shirwell Mission Commuity until further notice, we are keen to continue to support our communities in both spiritual, social and practical ways. We will be working to ensure we have up to date contact details (with consent) for any who are or might need to self isolate. If you are able to provide a daily phone call or occasional grocery shop then please speak to your churchwardens or Rosie. And any ideas on how we continue to be present for our communities (when we cannot be physically present to all) would be welcome. 

If you need a daily phonecall, if you need groceries because you cannot get out, if you need to talk... let me know. I may not be able to help personally but I can definitely pass you on to someone who can. Telephone 01598 711962, email

This is a time when we can come together as community, even though we are apart for a short time. Please use this page to offer help, prayers for one another, support, and humour to keep ourselves going! 

The love of God is bigger than anything we face, that’s what our faith tells us and has told us for centuries past. That is what we hold onto in times of fear. God is with us. 

And what’s the part we play? Love God, and love our neighbour. This is the time we can put those words into action.

Please bear in mind those who will also be financially vulnerable at this time. The foodbank will sadly be in greater demand, so please do keep up your generosity. We pray in faith for our neighbour, whoever that might be. 
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Prayers for those unable to be present at a funeral


While funerals will still take place at the graveside (not in the church itself) there will be rules on gatherings and social distancing that need to be applied in order to protect those who are elderly or vulnerable. Added to that many who would usually wish to attend a funeral may be unable to travel or be self-isolating. Here follows some prayers that can be said at home at the time of the funeral, words which are deliberately based on the Funeral Service itself. You can read the words silently or aloud, or read them together with others in your household or perhaps even on Skype.


The Gathering


We meet in the name of Jesus Christ,

who died and was raised to the glory of God the Father.


We join with those in (place) in remembering before God our brother/sister N;

to give thanks for his/her life; to commend him/her to God our merciful redeemer and judge; to commit his/her body to be buried/cremated, and to comfort one another in our grief.


God of all consolation, your Son Jesus Christ was moved to tears at the grave of Lazarus his friend.

Look with compassion on your children in their loss;

give to troubled hearts the light of hope and strengthen in us the gift of faith,

in Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen.


A time to share memories


If you are alone, and if you are able, write down some memories of the person who has died. You may be able to look back at these before a later memorial service or send them with your love to family and close friends.


A Reading


John 14.1-6

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’


Psalm 23

1    The Lord is my shepherd; therefore can I lack nothing.

2    He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.

3    He shall refresh my soul and guide me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4    Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;  

for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

5    You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me;  

you have anointed my head with oil and my cup shall be full.

6    Surely goodness and loving mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,  

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.




The words below are a guide – but you may want to say your own words or keep a time of quiet. 


God our Father, we thank you that you have made each of us in your own image, and given us gifts and talents with which to serve you.


We thank you for ...............…. .  We thank you for the years we shared with him/her,,

for their talents and gifts, the good seen in him/her, the love we received from him/her.


Now give us strength and courage to leave him/her in your care, confident in your promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


SILENCE           Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.


Your mighty power brings joy out of grief and life out of death.

Look in mercy on ................................... and all family and friends who mourn.

Give them patient faith in times of darkness. Strengthen them with the knowledge of your love. 


We give thanks for those who were good friends to .......... and for those who love the family he/she has left behind. We ask you to bless all those who care because in their love, we see your love for us.


SILENCE           Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.


You are tender towards your children and your mercy is over all your works.
Heal the memories of hurt and failure.

Give us the wisdom and grace to use well the time that is left to us here on earth,
to turn to Christ and follow in his steps in the way that leads to everlasting life. 


SILENCE           Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.


God of mercy, entrusting into your hands all that you have made and rejoicing in our communion with all your faithful people, we make our prayers through Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Amen.


Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. 


Commendation and farewell


First, keep a moment of silence.


God our creator and redeemer, by your power Christ conquered death and entered into glory. Confident of his victory and claiming his promises, we entrust .................. to your mercy in the name of Jesus our Lord, who died and is alive and reigns with you, now and for ever.  Amen


Final blessing


Keep in your mind all those who would have been at the funeral as you say these words. You might then listen to a favourite piece of music or be still. 


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.

Prayers about the outbreak 

Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ,
you taught us to love our neighbour, and to care for those in need
as if we were caring for you.
In this time of anxiety, give us strength to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick, and to assure the isolated
of our love, and your love,
for your name’s sake.

God of compassion,
be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation. In their loneliness, be their consolation;
in their anxiety, be their hope;
in their darkness, be their light;
through him who suffered alone on the cross, but reigns with you in glory,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

For those who are ill 

Merciful God,
we entrust to your tender care
those who are ill or in pain,
knowing that whenever danger threatens
your everlasting arms are there to hold them safe. Comfort and heal them,
and restore them to health and strength;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

For hospital staff and medical researchers 

Gracious God,
give skill, sympathy and resilience
to all who are caring for the sick,
and your wisdom to those searching for a cure. Strengthen them with your Spirit,
that through their work many will be restored to health; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

From one who is ill or isolated 

O God,
help me to trust you,
help me to know that you are with me,
help me to believe that nothing can separate me from your love
revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord.

For the Christian community 

We are not people of fear:
we are people of courage.
We are not people who protect our own safety: 

we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety. 

We are not people of greed:
we are people of generosity.
We are your people God,
giving and loving,
wherever we are,
whatever it costs
For as long as it takes
wherever you call us. 

Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference 


Click here for videos of Sunday services etc produced by the Church of England

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Church of England launches free dial-in worship phone line

The Archbishop of Canterbury has launched Daily Hope, which includes music, prayers, reflections and full worship services at the end of a telephone line. It is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 and has been set up to reach people unable to join online church services. 




If you have a concern about the safety of someone or the actions of someone working with children or vulnerable adults, please speak to someone:



The names and contact details of the Parish Safeguarding Representatives are:

Bratton Fleming:   Terry Squire Tel: 01598 710526  
Challacombe:   Carole Huxtable Tel: 01598 763217 
East Down with Arlington:   Linda Watt Tel: 01271 882376   
Kentisbury:   Margaret Purchase Tel: 01598 763207  
Loxhore:   Mike Matthews Tel: 01271 850550 
Shirwell:   Averil Richardson Tel: 01271 850537
Stoke Rivers:  Rev Rosie Austin  Tel: 01598 711962



The link to the Diocesan Safeguarding Team’s contact details -



The following organisations offer helplines: 
 NSPCC: 0808 800 5000 • Childline: 0800 1111 • Stop It Now: 0808 1000 900 • NAPAC: 0808 801 0331 • Samaritans: 116 123 • Family Lives: 0808 800 2222 • National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247 • Action On Elder Abuse: 080 8808 8141