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South West Church Choice Selection

Each week we hold a Church Choice Selection of South West Churches.

Please send us in a link using the contact page to your Church if you would like it displayed.

Alternatively, if you wish to have your Group, Club or Organisation displayed then please post below.

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Lee Abbey Devon Christian Community

Lee Abbey Devon is a Christian Community of around 90 people from all over the world: nineteen different nationalities.

The Community also represents many diverse cultures and age groups.

They bring with them a wide variety of traditions, worship styles and experiences which add to the rich tapestry that makes up the Community.

At Lee Abbey we recognise that people matter and that relationships matter.

Being in community helps you face relationships in a real and not a superficial way.

A visit to Lee Abbey gives people a real insight and an encouragement to go deeper into community.

The 280-acre estate is located in the rugged, beautiful and dramatic Exmoor National Park.

The woodlands, moorlands, streams, farmland and coastline offer to our guests the opportunity to connect with God’s creation.

Sometimes you need a retreat or holiday on your own for physical or spiritual renewal — perhaps a break from hectic home life or a sabbatical from work.

Lee Abbey is a place where many people choose to come alone (or with a friend or partner), feel welcomed, enjoy the tranquility, and gain a new perspective on life and God.

Whether you’re on a men’s weekend, a women’s weekend, a guided or silent retreat, a creative event or a walking holiday, you can choose to participate in as much or as little of the programme as you want, and decide for yourself whether to simply relish the moments alone, or to make new friends.

Single rooms are available, including some with en-suite, but these are popular so book early.

There are also a variety of beautiful twin and triple rooms which we book people into together if they are happy to share with someone of their own gender. (Couples and families can of course share a room as well.)

Spiritual Christian Retreats United Kingdom Great Britain

Rob Horsfall

Rob is a big yoga enthusiast since visiting India in 2002. After finish studying philosophy at university, he continued his studies of philosophy and meditation in Sri Lanka. Since coming back in 2011, his time is now spent promoting and developing Review my Retreat, studying acupuncture and trying to integrate his knowledge of various spiritual teachings into his life.

For those of you looking to explore your relationship with God, escape from the chaos of everyday life and deepen your spiritual practice, Christian retreats in the UK are the perfect solution.

Whether you belong to a church, you come from another faith completely, or you don’t believe, these retreat centres will welcome you with open arms and show you what it means to walk in His footsteps.

As a result, you’ll find inner peace, tranquillity and space to open your heart to the wonders of the universe, to strengthen community ties, to build new friendships and to heal past hurts. Here are our top ten Christian retreats in the UK, as voted by our staff.

Each offers a unique natural setting, from urban to moorland, to a valley, to into the wild, and provides its perspective on what it means to be a practising Christian in the 21st century.

These include Catholic retreat centres, Anglican retreat centres, and spiritual centres which want to help you reconnect with God.

Contents of Christian Retreats in the UK

Christian Retreats in the South East and London
Christian Retreat Centres in the South West
Christian Retreats in Devon
Christian Retreats in Yorkshire
Christian Retreat Centres in Scotland
Christian Retreats in Wales
Christian Retreats in North East
Christian Retreats in North West
Christian Retreats in East Midlands
Christian Retreats in West Midlands
Christian Retreats in Northern Ireland
Christian Retreats in East of England

Christian Retreats in London and the South East

Ashburnham Place

Ashburnham Place is a stunning English country house set in 220 acres of luscious countryside which allows you to start a conversation with God and give your mind, body and spirit some essential breathing space.

Whether you’re an individual looking for peace and tranquillity, a retreat group looking for a better spiritual connection, a leadership course or even a festival organiser, Ashburnham Place will be the perfect venue for you.

Offering comfortable ensuite and non-ensuite accommodation, delicious food, individual prayer rooms, themed Christian speakers, prayer walks, WIFI, meeting rooms, dining rooms and specially organised events throughout the year, this is the must-visit venue for your next Christian retreat in the UK!

ariel-foh-main1800x700 Christian Retreats in the UK – Top 10

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The Kairos Centre

You’d never believe that such a space of peace and tranquillity exists in South-West London, but this majestic Christian retreat centre in London shows us that there most definitely is! Share prayer and reflection in this oasis of calm, and allow them to lift your spirits, revive your soul and make plenty of new friends along the way.
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With WIFI in all rooms, a large chapel, a prayer room, a self-catering bungalow and a range of dining rooms and options, you’re sure to find the perfect Christian retreat to suit your needs in this green and beautiful location.

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More Christian Retreats in London and South East England

Acorn Christian Foundation Borden, Hampshire. GU35 0AP
Alton Abbey Alton, Hampshire. GU34 4AP
Benedictine Centre of Spirituality Oakwood, London. N14 4HE
Carmelite Priory Oxford. OX1 5HB
Centre for Reflection Aston-Tirrold, Oxfordshire.
Charney Manor Wantage, Oxfordshire. OX12 0EJ
Crowhurst Christian Healing Centre Battle, East Sussex. TN33 9AD
Douai Abbey Reading Berkshire. RG7 5TQ
The Friars Aylesford, Kent. ME20 7BX
House of Bethany Southsea, Hampshire. PO5 2AR
The Kairos Centre Roehampton, London. SW15 4JA
L’Abri Greatham, Hampshire. GU33 6HF
The London Centre for Spirituality London. EC3V 9EA
The Master’s Lodge Canterbury, Kent. CT1 2BE
Old Alresford Place Alresford, Hampshire. SO24 9DH
Park Place Pastoral Centre Fareham, Hampshire. PO17 5HA
Pelagos Spirituality & Retreat Centre Prestwood, Bucks. HP16 0HJ
Penhurst Retreat Centre Penhurst, East Sussex. TN33 9QP
Poor Clares of Arundel Arundel. BN18 9PJ
The Royal Foundation of St Katharine’s London. E14 8DS
Shalom House Tenterden, Kent. TN30 6ED
The Sisters of St Andrew Edenbridge, Kent. TN8 5NN
Stanton House Oxford. OX33 1HF
St Columba’s House Woking, Surrey. GU22 8AB
St Cuthman’s Retreat Centre Coolham, West Sussex. RH13 8QL
St Ethelwold’s House Abingdon, Oxfordshire. OX14 5EB
St Peter’s Bourne Whetstone, London. N20 9JN
Worth Abbey Crawley, West Sussex. RH10 4SB

Christian Retreat Centres in the South West

Lox Lane Farm

Lox-Lane-Farmhouse-4.c6a853c2362510c959dc312e69b7dee7 Christian Retreats in the UK – Top 10

Would you like to heal your heart while having your spiritual needs met? Then Lox Lane Farm in Dorset would love to hear from you.

They offer a range of in-house retreats which will help you foster a deeper relationship with God while also allowing the Holy Spirit to heal the wounds of the past. Covering topics such as forgiveness, judgement and other transformational ideas, this is the perfect place to return to your inner child and heal those emotional wounds.

Aside from the activities, they also include accommodation, meals and hot drinks in the price of their Christian retreats.

If you’d prefer to bring your small retreat group along, they also offer a stunning farmhouse with seven ensuite bathrooms, full kitchen facilities, a cosy lounge and even a wood burning stove.

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Trelowarren Retreat

Imagine waking whenever the mood takes you, eating fresh, locally-sourced food and enjoying a morning session of prayer and worship.

After a coffee, you can take part in a pre-organised activity or stroll along the spectacular coastline for your private prayer session, connect with God, or relax and unwind as you enjoy this great holiday.

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Late afternoons could see you united in prayer with the other retreat participants and enjoying a delicious evening meal. You will deepen your spiritual practice, breathe in the wonders of some of the UK’s most gorgeous coastline and take back your precious ‘me’ time.

Due to increased demand, they now offer weekend retreats, all-inclusive and day retreat options so everyone can benefit from the glorious location, nurturing and supportive environment and laid-back, friendly Christian appeal.

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More Christian Retreats in South West England:

Abbey House Glastonbury, Somerset. BA6 8DH
Alabaré Christian Community Salisbury, Wiltshire. SP1 2AJ
Ammerdown Centre Bath, Somerset. BA3 5SW
Buckfast Abbey Buckfastleigh, Devon. TQ11 0EE
Downside Abbey Bath, Somerset. BA3 4RH
Elsie Briggs House of Prayer Westbury-On-Trym. BS9 3EQ
Emmaus House Bristol. BS8 1BN
Epiphany House Truro, Cornwall. TR1 3DR
Glenfall House Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
Greenhouse Christian Centre Poole, Dorset. BH13 6DT
Hilfield Friary Hilfield, Dorset. DT2 7BE
Lee Abbey Lynton, Devon. EX35 6JJ
The Marist Centre Nympsfield, Gloucestershire. GL10 3TZ
Mill House Retreats Tiverton, Devon. EX16 7ES
Othona Community Bridport, Dorset. DT6 4RN
Poor Clares of Lynton Lynton, North Devon. EX35 6BX
Retreat Holidays Bristol. BS6 7NA
Sarum College Salisbury, Wiltshire. SP1 2EE
The Society of Mary & Martha Sheldon, Exeter, Devon. EX6 7LE
St Gildas Christian Centre Langport, Somerset. TA10 9QF

Christian Retreat in Devon

Lee Abbey

lee-abbey Christian Retreats in the UK – Top 10

If you’re looking for an escape into the wilderness, you want to make new friends, and you love an international flavour, make sure you book a place on a Lee Abbey Devon Christian retreat.

With dramatic woodlands, moorlands, streams, farmland and coastline at your fingertips, this is the perfect place to reconnect with God, disconnect from the chaos of everyday life and make brand new friends. There isn’t mobile signal or WIFI here either, so you’re almost guaranteed to feel refreshed, relaxed, and much closer to yourself and God.

Offering a range of activities throughout the year, with evening meals included, a variety of rooms (including singles) and options for singles, couples and families, Lee Abbey has to be one of the most well-rounded Christian retreats in the UK.

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Christian Retreats in Yorkshire

Wydale Hall

Take yourself away to relax in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside while worshipping whenever and wherever you choose at Wydale Hall. Its glorious location on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors allows you or your retreat group to spend time enjoying his creation while deepening your spiritual practice.

Boasting a range of chapels, conference rooms, a comfortable dining room which seats up to seventy guests, a calm library, an all-weather sports pitch, and much more besides you’ll find space here to enjoy your individual retreat or nourish community and connection within your group.

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More Christian Retreats in Yorkshire and Humberside:

Ampleforth Abbey York, North Yorkshire. YO62 4EN
The Briery Retreat Centre Ilkley, West Yorkshire. LS29 9BW
Holy Rood House Thirsk, North Yorkshire. YO7 1HX
Parcevall Hall Appletreewick. N Yorkshire. BD23
Scargill House Skipton, N. Yorkshire. BD23 5HU
St Oswald’s Pastoral Centre Sleights, North Yorkshire.
Whirlow Grange Sheffield. S11 9PZ
Wydale Hall Wydale, N Yorkshire. YO13 9DG

Christian Retreat Centres in Scotland

Whitchester Christian Centre

Whether you’re looking for a spiritual holiday destination where you’ll be treated to delicious, homecooked foods, and soak up the beautiful Scottish countryside, or you’re looking to deepen your practice, Whitchester Christian Centre offers it all.

Open to all faiths or none at all, and you can take advantage of the homely and relaxed atmosphere, delicious full-board catering, and a range of events and activities that will allow you to reignite your inner fire and deepen your connection with God.

Stunning gardens and woodland mean you can also get outside to spot a wide range of wildlife, including birds and deer if you’re fortunate.

house1-800x400-1 Christian Retreats in the UK – Top 10

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Bield Retreat and Conference Centre @ Blackruthven House

Move closer to God and reconnect with life by treating yourself to a holiday at the Bield Retreat and Conference Centre. Located in thirty acres of garden and woodlands, you’ll have plenty of time to relax, unwind, pray and heal your inner wounds at this Christian healing retreat.

Individuals, couples, families and groups are all welcome to their range of Christian retreats, including silence, wellbeing, spiritual practice, creativity and much more.

Facilities include single, twin and double ensuite rooms, delicious meals (with vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free catered for) 12-metre indoor heated swimming pool, traditional labyrinth, art room, library, lounge with woodburning stove and much more to help you relax and unwind on your holiday.

scotland-1761292_1280 Christian Retreats in the UK – Top 10

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Secret Spirits Depression Recovery Retreat

If you are looking to beat depression you might like to come to a new Christian retreat centre in the Scottish Highlands. By the end of the week everybody will understand why and how the Secret Spirits Spiritual Self Help programme works so that they can be supported in implementing the 40 minute daily spiritual exercise required by the course. The results are immediately uplifting and guarantee a permanent cure by
the end of a year, by the power of Prayer and the Fellowship of Man, just like Alcoholics Anonymous.
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More Christian Retreats in Scotland

The Bield Blackruthven, Perth. PH1 1PY
Cnoc a’ Chalmain Isle of Iona, Argyll. PA76 6SP
The Coach House Kilmuir, Inverness. IV1 3ZG
Craig Lodge Dalmally, Argyll. PA33 1AR
Emmaus House Edinburgh. EH3 9NQ
Ignatian Spirituality Centre Glasgow. G3 6PE
Island Retreats Cunbrae & Iona
MacLeod Centre – Iona Community Isle of Iona, Argyll. PA76 6SN
Pluscarden Abbey Elgin, Morayshire. IV30 8UA
St Mary’s MonasteryChristian Retreats in East of England Kinnoull, Perth. PH2 7BP

Christian Retreat Centres in Wales

Llangasty Retreat House

Set in the stunning Brecon Beacons and offering weekend and weekday retreats around a variety of themes, this must be one of the most tranquil Christian retreats in the UK. With a great community feel and wide-open spaces, you will enjoy the chance to connect with God and deepen your spiritual experience. Llangasty Retreat House is a place you can get away from it all.

We especially love the way the dining room looks out over the gorgeous countryside so you can ponder the more important things in life while enjoying delicious, freshly-cooked meals.

They also offer disabled access to most of the facilities which include comfortable bedrooms, a fully-equipped chapel, calm crypt chapel, library and a comfy lounge. Enjoy a home away from home and explore more profound aspects of yourself, others and the community.

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Ffald-y-Brenin

This remote Christian retreat centre in Wales has become well-known over recent years thanks to the number of close encounters with God experienced here. Now they are opening their doors to you too. Set in a beautiful house by the sea, you can experience a restorative holiday, a relaxing and enlightening break or even work through your most challenging blocks so you can open your heart and mind to the Lord.

They welcome groups and individuals to this exceptional place in which miracles do seem to happen and offer a range of Christian retreat options to suit the amount of time you have available, your needs, your interests, and your budget. One thing is indeed clear- life will never be the same after a stay here.

ffald-y-brenin Christian Retreats in the UK – Top 10

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More Christian Retreat Centres in Wales

Ffald-y-Brenin Retreat Centre Pontfaen, Pembrokeshire. SA65
Llangasty Retreat House Llangasty, Powys. LD3 7PX
Llannerchwen Llandefaelog Fach, Powys. LD3
Loreto Centre Llandudno. LL30 2EL
Nicholaston House Gower, Swansea. SA3 2HL
Noddfa Spirituality Centre Penmaenmawr, Gwynedd. LL34
St Beuno’s St Asaph, Denbighshire. LL17 0AS
St Clare’s Prayer & Retreat Centre Porthcawl, South Wales. CF36 5NR
St Non’s Retreat Centre St David’s, Pembrokeshire. SA62
Tŷ Croeso Centre Cwmbran, Torfaen. NP44 3YJ
Tymawr Convent/Community Lydart, Monmouth. NP25 4RN

Christian Retreats in Northern Ireland

The Cleenish Centre Enniskillen, Fermanagh. BT92 2BT
Dromantine Retreat Centre Newry, Co. Down. BT34 1RH
Drumalis Retreat Centre Larne, Co. Antrim. BT40 1DT
Our Lady of Bethlehem Abbey Ballymena, Co. Antrim. BT44 8BL
Thornhill Retreat Centre Derry. BT48 8JF
Tobar Mhuire Crossgar, Co. Down. BT30 9EA

Christian Retreats in North East

Alnmouth Friary Alnmouth, Northumberland.
Community of Aidan and Hilda Holy Island, Berwick Upon Tweed
Marygate House Holy Island, Northumberland.
Minsteracres Retreat Centre Minsteracres, Co Durham. DH8 9RT
Shepherds Dene Retreat House Shepherds Dene, Northumberland
St Antony’s Priory Durham, Co Durham. DH1 1QT

Christian Retreats in North West England

Whalley Abbey Clitheroe, Lancashire. BB7 9SS
Oblate Retreat Centre Wistaston, Cheshire. CW2 8JS
Rydal Hall Rydal, Cumbria. LA22 9LX
Sisters of Jesus Way West Kirby, Wirral. CH48 7EP
St Joseph’s Prayer Centre Formby, Liverpool. L37 1PH

Christian Retreats in East of England

All Hallows Convent Ditchingham, Suffolk. NR35 2DT
Bishop Woodford House Ely, Cambridgeshire. CB7 4DX
Clare Priory Clare, Suffolk. CO10 8NX
Letton Hall Shipdham, Norfolk. IP25 7SA
Mill Green House Horseheath, Cambridge. CB21 4QZ
Quiet Waters Bungay, Suffolk. NR35 1PD
The Retreat House Pleshy, Essex. CM3 1HA
Turvey Abbey Turvey, Bedfordshire. MK43 8DE

Christian Retreats in East Midlands

Community of the Holy Cross Costock, Loughborough. LE12 6XE
Launde Abbey East Norton, Leicestershire.
Metheringham Friary Metheringham, Lincolnshire. LN4
Sacrista Prebend Retreat House Southwell, Nottinghamshire.
Whaley Hall Whaley Bridge, High Peak. SK23

Christian Retreats in West Midlands

Belmont Abbey Hereford, Herefordshire. HR2 9RZ
Coventry Prayer House – Retreat Centre Coventry. CV1 5EX
Glasshampton Monastery Glasshampton, Worcester.
Hawkstone Hall Shrewsbury, Shropshire. SY4 5LG
Shallowford House Stone, Staffordshire. ST15 0NZ
Woodbrook Birmingham. B29 6LJ

Whatever your reasons for choosing a Christian retreat in the UK, you’re sure to find your perfect solution with one of the retreat centres we’ve highlighted here on this page. Click on the links to book, then take yourself away to enjoy into a rejuvenating, life-changing break away from it all.

Christian Fasting For Soul & Health: To Fast Or Not To Fast

Fasting Christian

Christians should (never fast) without consulting your Doctor if you have any underlying health condition whatsoever, and everybody should read the text below carefully before you consider starting to fast at all.

It is also strongly recommended that you talk to the head of your church first if you are thinking of fasting, whichever denomination it may be that you belong to.

Chances are you are among the massive majority of Christians who rarely or never fast.

It’s not because we haven’t read our Bibles or sat under faithful preaching or heard about the power of fasting, or even that we don’t genuinely want to do it.

We just never actually get around to putting down the fork.

Part of it may be that we live in a society in which food is so ubiquitous that we eat not only when we don’t need to, but sometimes even when we don’t want to.

We eat to share a meal with others, to build or grow relationships (good reasons), or just as a distraction from responsibility.

And of course, there are our own cravings and aches for comfort that keep us from the discomfort of fasting.

Not So Fast

Fasting is voluntarily going without food — or any other regularly enjoyed, good gift from God — for the sake of some spiritual purpose.

It is markedly counter-cultural in our consumerist society, like abstaining from sex until marriage.

If we are to learn the lost art of fasting and enjoy its fruit, it will not come with our ear to the ground of society, but with Bibles open.

Then, the concern will not be whether we fast, but when. Jesus assumes his followers will fast, and even promises it will happen.

He doesn’t say “if,” but “when you fast” (Matthew 6:16). And he doesn’t say his followers might fast, but “they will” (Matthew 9:15).

We fast in this life because we believe in the life to come. We don’t have to get it all here and now, because we have a promise that we will have it all in the coming age.

We fast from what we can see and taste, because we have tasted and seen the goodness of the invisible and infinite God — and are desperately hungry for more of him.

Radical, Temporary Measure

Fasting is for this world, for stretching our hearts to get fresh air beyond the pain and trouble around us. And it is for the battle against the sin and weakness inside us.

We express our discontent with our sinful selves and our longing for Christ.

When Jesus returns, fasting will be done.

It’s a temporary measure, for this life and age, to enrich our joy in Jesus and prepare our hearts for the next — for seeing him face to face.

When he returns, he will not call a fast, but throw a feast; then all holy abstinence will have served its glorious purpose and be seen by all for the stunning gift it was.

Until then, we will fast.

How to Start Fasting

Fasting is hard. It sounds much easier in concept than it proves to be in practice. It can be surprising how on-edge we feel when we miss a meal.

Many an idealistic new fast-er has decided to miss a meal and only found our belly drove us to make up for it long before the next mealtime came.

Fasting sounds so simple, and yet the world, our flesh, and the devil conspire to introduce all sorts of complications that keep it from happening.

In view of helping you start down the slow path to good fasting, here are six simple pieces of advice.

These suggestions might seem pedantic, but the hope is that such basic counsel can serve those who are new at fasting or have never seriously tried it.

1. Start small.

Don’t go from no fasting to attempting a weeklong. Start with one meal; maybe fast one meal a week for several weeks. Then try two meals, and work your way up to a daylong fast. Perhaps eventually try a two-day juice fast.

A juice fast means abstaining from all food and beverage, except for juice and water. Allowing yourself juice provides nutrients and sugar for the body to keep you operating, while also still feeling the effects from going without solid food.

It’s not recommended that you abstain from water during a fast of any length.

2. Plan what you’ll do instead of eating.

Fasting isn’t merely an act of self-deprivation, but a spiritual discipline for seeking more of God’s fullness. Which means we should have a plan for what positive pursuit to undertake in the time it normally takes to eat.

We spend a good portion of our day with food in front of us. One significant part of fasting is the time it creates for prayer and meditation on God’s word or some act of love for others.

Before diving headlong into a fast, craft a simple plan. Connect it to your purpose for the fast. Each fast should have a specific spiritual purpose.

Identify what that is and design a focus to replace the time you would have spent eating.

Without a purpose and plan, it’s not Christian fasting; it’s just going hungry.

3. Consider how it will affect others.

Fasting is no license to be unloving. It would be sad to lack concern and care for others around us because of this expression of heightened focus on God. Love for God and for neighbor go together.

Good fasting mingles horizontal concern with the vertical. If anything, others should even feel more loved and cared for when we’re fasting.

So as you plan your fast, consider how it will affect others. If you have regular lunches with colleagues or dinners with family or roommates, assess how your abstaining will affect them, and let them know ahead of time, instead of just being a no-show, or springing it on them in the moment that you will not be eating.

Also, consider this backdoor inspiration for fasting: If you make a daily or weekly practice of eating with a particular group of friends or family, and those plans are interrupted by someone’s travel or vacation or atypical circumstances, consider that as an opportunity to fast, rather than eating alone.

4. Try different kinds of fasting.

The typical form of fasting is personal, private, and partial, but we find a variety of forms in the Bible: personal and communal, private and public, congregational and national, regular and occasional, absolute and partial.

In particular, consider fasting together with your family, small group, or church. Do you share together in some special need for God’s wisdom and guidance?

Is there an unusual difficulty in the church, or society, for which you need God’s intervention?

Do you want to keep the second coming of Christ in view?

Plead with special earnestness for God’s help by linking arms with other believers to fast together.

5. Fast from something other than food.

Fasting from food is not necessarily for everyone. Some health conditions keep even the most devout from the traditional course. However, fasting is not limited to abstaining from food.

As Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “Fasting should really be made to include abstinence from anything which is legitimate in and of itself for the sake of some special spiritual purpose.”

If the better part of wisdom for you, in your health condition, is not to go without food, consider fasting from television, computer, social media, or some other regular enjoyment that would bend your heart toward greater enjoyment of Jesus.

Paul even talks about married couples fasting from sex “for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer” (1 Corinthians 7:5).

6. Don’t think of white elephants.

When your empty stomach starts to growl and begins sending your brain every “feed me” signal it can, don’t be content to let your mind dwell on the fact that you haven’t eaten.

If you make it through with an iron will that says no to your stomach, but doesn’t turn your mind’s eye elsewhere, it says more about your love for food than your love for God.

Christian fasting turns its attention to Jesus or some great cause of his in the world. Christian fasting seeks to take the pains of hunger and transpose them into the key of some eternal anthem, whether it’s fighting against some sin, or pleading for someone’s salvation, or for the cause of the unborn, or longing for a greater taste of Jesus.

Health Benefits 

Lifestyle changes are crucial in the management of type 2 diabetes which is the most common type of diabetes. Intermittent fasting could be a way to manage type 2 diabetes through diet.

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is currently one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends. Intermittent fasting is a term for an eating pattern that alternates between periods of fasting and eating.

Humans have been fasting throughout evolution and are able to function without food for extended periods of time.  Sometimes this was the result of food scarcity. It has also formed part of major religions like Christianity, Islam and Buddhism.

The most common type of fasting is known as the 16:8 method, which involves fasting for 16 hours and reducing the eating window to just 8 hours.

For example, a person can have dinner at approximately 7 p.m., skip breakfast the day after and eat lunch at around 11 a.m.

Other forms involve fasting for two days per week; 24-hour fasting once or twice each week; and fasting every other day.

Researchers used intermittent fasting as a method to reduce the symptoms of type 2 diabetes in a new observational study conducted in Canada and published in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

The study included three men, aged 40 to 67, who were taking both drugs and daily doses of insulin to manage the disease. They all had high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Scientists asked two of the men to fast for 24 hours every other day, while the third fasted for three days a week. During fasting days, the men could drink low-calorie beverages such as water, tea or coffee. In addition, they could eat a low-calorie meal in the evening.

The trial lasted ten months and the three men stuck to their schedule without encountering any difficulties. After the fasting period, the team measured their weight and blood glucose.

The results revealed significant improvements – all three lost weight, blood glucose was lower and they were able to stop using insulin after a month from the beginning of the trial. One person stopped after only five days.

Two of the men also discontinued all diabetic drugs, while the third participant stopped three out of four drugs.

The authors concluded that intermittent fasting may help people with diabetes, but the study was limited to only three participants.

More research is needed to confirm these findings, but they are encouraging.

Re-Building Intentional Christian Community South West

South West Christian Church

And all that believed were together, and had all things in common.
– Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2, verse 44, New Testament, King James Version

Thus is described the first intentional Christian community, which existed around 2,000 years ago.

It is perhaps the best known community quote for the many thousands who have lived in Christian communities over the centuries.

The Book of Acts is about the followers of Jesus of Nazareth, known to the Christians as the Lord Jesus Christ, and certain activities, or “acts,” that occurred in that first-generation Christian community.

Most of the people described above had been living together in Jerusalem for several weeks as a rather unintentional community.

Afew had been together as a community for three years or so.

In order to survive all that had happened to them as a result of the torture and execution of Jesus, their founder and leader, they were huddled together in Jerusalem, waiting.

They were wanted by the Roman civil authorities as well as by the Jewish religious authorities, both of whom had hoped that this recent new messianic religious movement was over.

But about 50 days after the execution and resurrection of Jesus, his followers were creating community.

Intentional Christian communities have been with us ever since.

Three years prior to these startling events, at the outset of Jesus’ journey to initiate his movement, Jesus had gathered his earliest community members.

At the River Jordan, just upstream from the Dead Sea, crowds had gathered to listen to the radical wilderness “social justice prophet” John the Baptist.

He was proclaiming that something new and revolutionary was about to happen.

Two of John the Baptist’s disciples saw Jesus coming through the crowd. John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God.” The two disciples took note and followed Jesus.

Jesus turned and asked them, “What are you looking for?” Their surprising reply was “Show us where you live.” Jesus simply said, “Come and see.” So they went with Jesus, and the community grew.

It’s interesting to note that those two were not searching for intellectual answers or even for good preaching and church services. Rather, they wanted to know about the community Jesus had.

Little did they know where that would take them or how that community would change the world.

In the ensuing 2,000 years, many thousands would “come and see” what Christian communities have to offer.

Christian communities have become numerous and diverse and can be found just about everywhere in one form or another. Many books and articles have appeared on the subject over the centuries.

Communities magazine has featured a number of Christian community articles over the years. My effort here at describing Christian community is not intended to be exhaustive, nor is it an endorsement or a critique. Rather, this is a brief and simple general explanation of a very old and diverse social and religious movement with roots stretching back a long, long way.

The video below shows what would happen if we reversed societies roles.

People of Diversity: Divisions and Growth

Christian communities are not all the same and certainly do not participate in a unified network. Churches have always been a rich source for intentional community to spawn.

It is not uncommon to find communities that have divided from more traditional or historic churches or even from other communities over differences about specific teachings or beliefs.

Likewise, churches have had their origins within communities, splitting off and going their own ways to practice their beliefs, just as they did in the first millennium.

It is not uncommon to find a Christian community founded on a particular interpretation of the Bible.

Many Christian communities have little contact with each other, even though from an outsider’s view they appear to be doing the same things.

Only a handful of networks of intentional Christian communities exist—and most of those share the same theological roots, practices, and, sometimes, leaders.

This competition of ideas, doctrines, lifestyles, leadership, and so on stimulates the growth of Christian communities.

This is more true for the non-Catholic communities. The Catholics have long made room for the “fanatics,” keeping them in the fold by permitting religious orders, such as monasteries, for the enthusiasts and deep seekers to join, whereas the Protestant/reformers have usually kicked the “fanatics” out, in which case they usually form their own efforts: a new community or church.

The focus on “right belief” and doctrine especially affects the contact between non-Christian and Christian communities. Some intentional Christian communities are opposed to being listed in this directory, and may even harbor suspicion toward any other communities.

Others are simply uninterested, seeing their own efforts and goals as different from secular communities. While these folks certainly live a community lifestyle, they identify far more strongly with the rightness of their beliefs and mission than with being an intentional community as such.

Christian communities are not only competitive with their ideas and teachings, but some compete for members as well. “Make disciples” is an instruction Jesus himself left with his followers, and it is often fervently obeyed.

The rapid proliferation of intentional Christian communities during the late 1960s and 1970s was fostered by intense recruitment activities across the country.

One community I became part of had started over 175 “houses,” or communal centers, in its first decade. The largest intentional Christian community network in the world today is in North America, with over 45,000 members, the Hutterites.

In the case of the Hutterites’ large numbers, it has mostly happened through procreation, generation after generation!

Much of Christian teaching and thinking is an effort at discovering what is “true” and who is “real” and living “right,” and intentional communities are often the proving grounds of those discoveries.

Consequently, it is not uncommon when visiting Christian communities to face some examination, to see if you are a Christian or even the right kind of Christian. Even Jesus was cross-examined by the “set-apart community of Bible believers” of his day, the Jewish Pharisees.

Truth and faith are at stake, and are taken very seriously, usually more seriously than being a community. If you are drawn to intentional Christian community, you probably should be prepared to take Jesus and the Bible seriously. That’s what most are looking for: serious followers of Jesus and the Bible.

People of the Bible: Community by the Book

So, what is a Christian community?

What’s the common denominator?

Essentially, a Christian community is one that draws some or all of its emphasis for existing from Jesus Christ in the New Testament of the Holy Bible, be it historic, recent, Protestant, Orthodox, Catholic, Mormon, or some other adjustment and interpretation.

The Bible is the seed of faith from which these many communities spring. Not many ancient sacred documents are as potent as the Bible at impregnating people with the concept of community.

It is the number one guide for a Christian community, regardless of how it’s interpreted. The seeking for and believing in something in the Bible is the fertilizer for the germination and growth of community.

That’s because the Bible is rich in the images and language of tribe and community. It is a history and description of tribes and communities, imagined and actual. Cover to cover, the Bible is about people pursuing a vision and the resulting rewards, conflicts, and disasters. And it is about the God of these people and that relationship and what the outcome of that is to be.

Some Christian communities believe that outcome is living in community.

Some believe strongly that in order to be a real Christian, one absolutely must live in an intentional Christian community, as they do, and usually in their community. For some, “having all things in common” (Acts 2) is the primary evidence of the outcome of true faith.

I have been to Christian communities that were amazed to learn there were other Christian communities besides their own. Sometimes they were apprehensive about those possibilities, if not outright suspicious!

In addition, there are those communities that do use Jesus and the Bible to some extent but that do not call themselves “Christian.” Perhaps that’s in order to separate themselves from some of the more historic, traditional, theological, or enthusiastic Christian communities.

If it’s so biblical, why aren’t all Christians living in an intentional community like those in Acts 2? One reason is that it is easier to believe in Jesus than it is to believe Jesus. And, over the centuries, options have diversified and expanded.

Not many Christians today see Acts 2 as a prescription for Christian living in the modern world, but rather read it as a description of something that occurred in early Christianity.

Therefore, community references in the Bible become “history” and not “orthodoxy.” And then there are the dualities: If you want to be really “holy” or “spiritual,” go live in a community or monastery, but since not everyone can do that—somebody has to procreate the species, defend our freedoms, and collect those taxes—the rest can go to church on Sunday or engage in some “lesser” expectation.

Finally, there are those Christians who see the Acts 2 community event as a mistake for which the early church later suffered.

Not all intentional Christian communities see the Acts 2 events as significant for their own existence as a community. There is diversity in how one gets direction out of the Bible.

The “Church Versus Community” Debate

The first-century Greek word for community used by the writers of the New Testament is “koinonia,” and is translated in English as “fellowship,” “sharing,” or “community.” It means something like “participation in common.”

Our English word “church” comes from “kirk,” the old middle English word that can mean something like a decision-making group or a “parliament” of sorts. “Church” is a very “community” word in spite of its present use to indicate a building for a religious service or the people who occasionally meet in such a building.

The “church versus community” debate is perpetual in Christianity and can stir consternation among the believers. Some intentional Christian communities face this debate and struggle as they grow.

There is more than one community that began in a church, yet, after a generation or two as an intentional community, returned to being just a church with little resemblance to its days as a community.

In spite of apparent longevity and history, some intentional Christian communities are very fluid, changing and reemerging in a variety of forms.

Faithfulness to the call of community and right belief may be much stronger than longevity to a particular configuration of people in a geographical location.

The debate among Christians might be more about what “church” is rather than what being in an “intentional community” means, and this debate is embodied in Christianity’s most fundamental words.

The world “church” is translated from the New Testament Greek word “e’kklhsi¢a,” loosely meaning “to be called out.”

Not a religious term, as such, to the first-century people, but rather a term signifying “called to a community decision-making meeting” or a “town hall meeting.” Jesus only used the word when he referred to decision-making activities of the members of the “believers’ community” (e.g., Matthew 18:17).

People of Spirit: Charisma and Leadership

Possession of “The Book” is not always enough to create community. In the first few chapters of the book of Acts, there is recorded a particular phenomenon resulting in individuals possessing special spiritual gifts or charisma to make things happen, inspire others, heal the sick, or receive crucial guidance.

Charisma is the New Testament Greek word for spiritual gifts given by God. The Book and this special spirit together make things happen.

People with these spiritual gifts or charisma call others to “be intentional,” and they usually lead the group. Sometimes this is self-evident—the individual just has it direct from God with no other human intervention or permission.

Sometimes it is bestowed by other humans equally gifted to recognize the calling to leadership. This all usually works when it is recognized, welcomed, and tolerated.

Some Christian communities are apprehensive about this leadership and charisma issue, and others are exuberant about it and about their leaders.

Some are constantly at issue with the subject and with the charismatic personalities involved. And the issue often troubles outsiders, too.

However, it is intrinsic to the history of Christianity because it is a major element in The Book: the question of who has legitimate authorized power and the right to control.

People of Vision: Being Mission-Oriented

“For lack of vision the people perish.” So says the sage in the Proverbs of the Old Testament. Leaders are often good at articulating the visions others believe and pursue. No charisma, no leaders. No leaders, no vision. No vision, no followers. No followers, no community.

And what do believers follow?

More often than not, they follow the teachings and deeds of Jesus Christ and other significant founders and leaders, either historic or contemporary.

Be it healing the sick, fighting oppression, converting lost souls, feeding the hungry, making disciples, being closer to Jesus, waiting for the second coming—the return of Jesus—or getting “church” or “community” down right, they are on a mission for God.

Thus, when you have the combination of:

Bible – Jesus – Spirit – Leaders – Vision – Followers – Mission

All in the same place with the same people responding, you have the makings for an intentional Christian community.

Hallelujah!

The Resurrection: Scientific Fact Or Fiction, True Or False, Life Or Death?

Jesus Christ Devon

I’m a professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, and I believe that Jesus was raised from the dead.

So do dozens of my colleagues.

How can this be?

Hypothesis one: We’re not talking about a literal resurrection.

Perhaps it is just an inspiring myth that served to justify the propagation of Jesus’ exalted ethical teachings.

A literal resurrection contradicts the known laws of nature.

Maybe scientists can celebrate the idea of Jesus’s spirit living on, while his body remained in the grave.

But the first disciples attested to a physical resurrection.

How could an untruth logically support high moral character?

How could it have sustained the apostles through the extremes of persecution they experienced founding Christianity? And is celebrating a myth consistent with scientific integrity?

Hypothesis two: We really believe in the bodily resurrection of the first century Jew known as Jesus of Nazareth.

My Christian colleagues at MIT – and millions of other scientists worldwide – somehow think that a literal miracle like the resurrection of Jesus is possible. And we are following a long tradition.

The founders of the scientific revolution and many of the greatest scientists of the intervening centuries were serious Christian believers.

For Robert Boyle (of the ideal gas law, co-founder in 1660 of the Royal Society) the resurrection was a fact.

For James Clerk Maxwell (whose Maxwell equations of 1862 govern electromagnetism) a deep philosophical analysis undergirded his belief in the resurrection. And for William Phillips (Nobel prize-winner in 1997 for methods to trap atoms with laser light) the resurrection is not discredited by science.

To explain how a scientist can be a Christian is actually quite simple.

Science cannot and does not disprove the resurrection.

Natural science describes the normal reproducible working of the world of nature.

Indeed, the key meaning of “nature”, as Boyle emphasized, is “the normal course of events.”

Miracles like the resurrection are inherently abnormal.

It does not take modern science to tell us that humans don’t rise from the dead.

People knew that perfectly well in the first century; just as they knew that the blind from birth don’t as adults regain their sight, or water doesn’t instantly turn into wine.

Maybe science has made the world seem more comprehensible – although in some respects it seems more wonderful and mysterious.

Maybe superstition was more widespread in the first century than it is today – although the dreams of today’s sports fans and the widespread interest in the astrology pages sometimes make me wonder.

Maybe people were more open then to the possibility of miracles than we are today.

Still, the fact that the resurrection was impossible in the normal course of events was as obvious in the first century as it is for us.

Indeed that is why it was seen as a great demonstration of God’s power.

To be sure, while science can’t logically rule miracles in or out of consideration, it can be a helpful tool for investigating contemporary miraculous claims.

It may be able to reveal self-deception, trickery, or misperception.

If someone has been seen levitating on a supposed flying carpet in their living room, then the discovery of powerful electromagnets in their basement might well render such claims implausible.

But if science fails to find defeating evidence then it is unable to say one way or the other whether some reported inexplicable event happened, or to prove that it is miraculous.

Science functions by reproducible experiments and observations.

Miracles are, by definition, abnormal and non-reproducible, so they cannot be proved by science methods.

Today’s widespread materialist view that events contrary to the laws of science just can’t happen is a metaphysical doctrine, not a scientific fact.

What’s more, the doctrine that the laws of nature are “inviolable” is not necessary for science to function.

Science offers natural explanations of natural events.

It has no power or need to assert that only natural events happen.

So if science is not able to adjudicate whether Jesus’ resurrection happened or not, are we completely unable to assess the plausibility of the claim?

No.

Contrary to increasingly popular opinion, science is not our only means for accessing truth.

In the case of Jesus’ resurrection, we must consider the historical evidence, and the historical evidence for the resurrection is as good as for almost any event of ancient history.

The extraordinary character of the event, and its significance, provide a unique context, and ancient history is necessarily hard to establish.

But a bare presumption that science has shown the resurrection to be impossible is an intellectual cop-out. Science shows no such thing.

Hypothesis 3: I was brainwashed as a child.

If you’ve read this far and you are still wondering how an MIT professor could seriously believe in the resurrection, you might guess I was brainwashed to believe it as a child.

But no, I did not grow up in a home where I was taught to believe in the resurrection.

I came to faith in Jesus when I was an undergraduate at Cambridge University and was baptized in the chapel of Kings College on my 20th birthday.

The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are as compelling to me now as then.

The Resurrection

The resurrection spoken of in the Bible is the uniting of man’s spirit, which is immortal and leaves his body at physical death, with a new spiritual body.

The spiritual body will become immortal and will have incredible powers, such as being able to move through physical objects like walls and doors and travel great distances instantaneously.

These will be the bodies that Christians will have forever.

There is confusion regarding the word “resurrection.” Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave, but this was a resuscitation, not a resurrection (see John 11:43-44).

Lazarus came back in his original body that was still subject to death.

Some years later Lazarus died again and stayed dead.

When Jesus Christ comes back again, He will resurrect those who have been born again.

They will then be joined with the spiritual bodies that have been prepared for their spirits.

The apostle Paul says that those who are alive will not be resurrected ahead of those who sleep (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

So those who are dead will rise first, followed by those who remain alive when Christ comes back.

Those who are still alive will be changed in a moment.

These mortal bodies will be transformed into bodies like the one Jesus had after His resurrection.

These bodies will be eternal and have the same qualities that Jesus Christ had, for the Bible declares, “We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

There also will be a second resurrection, which will come at the end of the thousand-year reign of Christ.

At that time there will be a great resurrection of all people.

Those who have done evil will be sent to hell. Forever.

But those who have lived in accordance with the righteous teachings of the Lord will live forever with God (see Revelation 20:11-15).

St James Priory Oldest Bristol Building

St James Priory is the oldest building in Bristol.

It is a monument of immense historical and architectural importance. 

Explore the fascinating history and heritage of St James Priory – the oldest building in Bristol still in use today.

An exterior view of St James Priory

Robert Fitzroy, Earl of Gloucester and illegitimate grandson of William the Conqueror, founded the Priory of St James in 1129.

It has been used as a place of worship for almost 900 years.

Robert developed the town of Bristol into a major provincial capital.

Between 1122 and 1147 he rebuilt the castle as an imposing stone monument and at the same time founded St James Priory.

During the Anarchy, a period of civil war in England between 1135 and 1153 following the death of Henry 1, Robert supported forces loyal to the Empress Matilda (Henry’s daughter) against those of Stephen (Henry’s nephew) who proclaimed himself king. 

Bristol was the centre of Earl Robert’s resistance against Stephen who was for a time imprisoned in Bristol castle.

In the medieval period, St James Priory, a daughter house of the Abbey of Tewkesbury, was home to Benedictine monks.

They lived here as a community of brothers, devoting their lives to worshipping God and caring for the poor and the sick.

In the Middle Ages the Priory was a major landowner with its properties and influence spreading widely from the north of the town to the eastern approaches and even to the commercial dealings of Bristol.

The spiritual needs of the locals were supplied by the priory and the Nave served as the parish church.

It was the parishioners who financed the building of the church tower in the 14th century.

The Priory was dissolved during the reign of Henry VIII, and many of its buildings were demolished.

Only the west end survived as a smaller parish church, and this is still used for worship today.

Please use these links for further historical information about St James Priory

ABOUT BRISTOL

BRITISH HISTORY ONLINE

BRISTOL AND AVON FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY

SHORT HISTORY OF ST JAMES PRIORY (PDF)

SHORT HISTORY OF CHURCH HOUSE (PDF)

TIMELINE OF KEY EVENTS (PDF)

Church of Saint Michael and All Angels Exeter Devon

CHURCH OF SAINT MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS, CHURCH STREET, EXETER DEVON

CHURCH OF SAINT MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS, CHURCH STREET, HEAVITREE, EXETER.

We have been sent a request to have this amazing church posted upon our site.

We are more than happy to oblige.

We have included their Parish link below and their Facebook link Here.

Saint Michael and All Angels

St Michael & All Angels, 5 Church Street, Heavitree,
Exeter, Devon. EX2 5EH

There has probably been a place of worship on the top of the hill by the Heavitree Yew for over a thousand years.

The certain record of priests serving there goes back into the 13th century.

But most of the present building dates back to the Victorian age when the church was extensively rebuilt.

It has a high ceiling, ornate stone carving and many fine examples of stained glass.

It suits both formal and informal worship.

Once upon a time, back in pre-Saxon times, the royal hunting ground of Wonford surrounded the settlement of Exeter.

Gradually, during Saxon times parcels of land were given to various priories and Wonford was fragmented and grew smaller.

St Michael’s Church is the heart of Wonford – it became Heavitree as it was the founding of a church near ‘Hefa’s’ or heafod treow (chief tree), which was corrupted into Heavitree.

Heavitree grew in importance because the main London Road (now Heavitree Road) ran through the village, and Wonford became smaller and its influence diminished.

The earliest record of a church at Heavitree dates from 1152 when it was granted to Exeter Cathedral.

It was altered in the 14th and rebuilt in the 15th century and then the church tower was rebuilt in 1541.

The same year, it is said that the Heafod treow was felled.

Most of St Michael’s Church is Victorian – the naive was rebuilt, at a cost of £3,000 which was raised by subscription, and a grant of £500 from the Church Building Society, between 1844 and 1846.

The architect, David Mackintosh used limestone, while retaining the Beer stone arcade and windows.

It was consecrated on 1 August 1846.

A font dating from the 15th/16th Century from the church was acquired by Richard Ford of Heavitree House and placed in his garden.

The limestone, Gothic tower was completed in 1887, in time for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee and cost £3,155.

There is not a trace of red Heavitree sandstone in the building.

Parish records go back to 1556.

Details

CHURCH STREET Heavitree (West side) Church of Saint Michael and All Angels (Formerly listed as: CHURCH STREET Heavitree Church of St Michael)

II* Late medieval piers. Rebuilt 1844-6 by David Mackintosh of Exeter. Tower 1888-90, chancel extended 1898, both by E H Harbottle, also of Exeter.

MATERIALS: Grey Devon limestone with Bath stone dressings. Slate roofs (fish-scale shaped on south porch).

PLAN: Nave, chancel, north and south aisles, south porch, west tower, south chapel, north organ chamber, north vestry (also a room beneath the east end of the chancel).

EXTERIOR: This is a large suburban church in the Perpendicular style. Externally it is entirely of C19 appearance, having been rebuilt in the 1840s and then extended at both ends at the end of the century.

The east end faces the road and is set high up due to the slope of the land so the east end of the chancel is placed above a room, now known as the Rifford Room.

The east window is relatively small, is placed high, and has five lights with typical Perpendicular panel tracery: in its base are two rows of blind quatrefoils. North of the chancel is a large organ chamber.

Its side windows, like those in the chancel, are single lights with a little tracery in the heads.

In the angle between the organ chamber and the chancel is an L-shaped vestry. A single-storey entrance/passage runs across the north face of the transept.

The six-bay aisles have quite large three-light windows with transoms. They are under their own gabled roofs and have embattled parapets whereas the east parts of the church have plain ones.

CHURCH OF SAINT MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS, CHURCH STREET, EXETER DEVON

At the west end is the most prominent component of the church – the west tower.

This is modelled on the majestic medieval towers of Somerset and has three tall storeys, angle buttresses, and a demi-octagonal stair turret in the centre of the north face which rises up to the parapet.

The buttresses are enriched at each level by small, blind, finialled single, ogee arches which, although small, add much to the sense of richness.

Exeter Weddings

The ground stage has a square-headed doorway with tracery in the spandrels: above is a large five-light window with a transom.

The second storey is quite plain and has a small two-light window on the west face. The top stage has two-light belfry windows with pierced quatrefoil slabs infilling them.

The parapet is embattled and has corner pinnacles and smaller intermediate ones. The south porch has an outer doorway with a continuously moulded outer order and an engaged shaft to the inner one.

INTERIOR: The walls are plastered and whitened.

The dominant feature internally is the six-bay arcading between the nave and aisles.

The medieval piers were retained at the C19 rebuilding and are lozenge-shaped with shafts at the corners and a large wave moulding between.

In the capitals there are large angel busts.

The arches to the arcades have fleurons in the hollow chamfering.

At the west end there is a tall tower arch and between the nave and chancel another that is as broad as the nave.

Over the nave is an arch-braced roof.

The aisles have pitched roofs with tie-beams.

Over the chancel there is wooden vaulting above the choir and a semi-circular roof over the sanctuary, divided into panels.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The most prominent item is the 1870s marble and alabaster reredos whose elaboration is explained by the fact it was moved here from the Exeter Cathedral in 1939.

It was designed by G G Scott and is tripartite with the centre, taller portion depicting the Ascension.

The side portions, under very ornate canopies, depict Pentecost and the Transfiguration.

Part of a medieval screen is used as the south parclose and has standard Perpendicular tracery.

The stone pulpit, now sadly shorn of its support, is a fine, ornate piece with carved figures of the Four Evangelists and St Michael.

The oak bench ends are square-headed and have borders of carved foliage running round them.

There are two fonts: that in use probably dates from the 1840s work and has a traceried octagonal bowl: the other font appears to be medieval and has a squatter bowl but also with tracery.

Wedding Exeter

A number of minor monuments have been preserved from the old church, dating from the late C17 to the early C19.

A number of windows have stained glass, mostly C19 and the products of various makers.

The east end of the nave and the chancel have been largely cleared of their fittings and there are, thus, no stalls.

HISTORY: The medieval church is represented by the survival of the piers, the rest of the church being a progressive redevelopment in the C19.

Rebuilding took place in 1844-6 under David Mackintosh (fl 1843-65) who was an Exeter architect.

His known work was mainly on churches and his activity seems to have been confined to Devon.

At the end of the 1880s an imposing west tower was built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.

Shortly after, in 1898, the chancel was extended east.

For both these latter schemes the architect was Edward Hall Harbottle (1844-1927), a successful local architect.

He had been articled to F R N Haswell, an architect in North Shields, Co. Durham, in 1859 for five years and remained as an assistant until 1866.

He began practice in Exeter in 1869 and later went into partnership with his two sons.

He was Ecclesiastical Surveyor to the diocese of Hereford, the archdeaconry of Exeter and was also county surveyor for Devon.

In 1924-5 the roof was restored and the galleries removed,

The church is thus a multi-phase building which still retains significant traces of the ancient, medieval one in the form of the piers.

SOURCES: Cherry, B, and Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Devon, (1989)393

The Church of Saint Michael and All Angels, Heavitree, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

It is of special interest as a large, multi-phase church which retains, in the piers, evidence of the medieval building * Most of the fabric is C19 and shows progressive development form the rebuilding in the 1840s to the extension of the chancel in the 1890s and includes a fine west tower.

For all this work local architects were the men in charge * It contains a splendid, ornate reredos by G G Scott, formerly in Exeter Cathedral.

Text below from the Exeter Local History Society

St Michael and All Angels

We visited this delightful Victorian church, seemingly far too big for the small village of Heavitree, as it then was.

Outside was the yew tree believed to be very many centuries old and dating from the days when the word ‘heavy’ also meant large.

Many believe that Saxon chiefs would sit under this tree and dispense justice to those who pleaded their cause to him.

From this we turned our attention to the church, first mentioned in records of 1156.

The first church was wooden and replaced with a stone building in medieval times.

It was then completely rebuilt and enlarged in Victorian times and the present set of eight bells was installed in 1846 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s jubilee.

The church could be seen from a great distance, towering above the little hamlet of Heavitree.

*
Inside the church our host pointed out the twin rows of pillars which divide the nave into three aisles.
The base section of these is thought to be pre-Victorian but above them stand later replacements.
At the top of the pillars are carvings of angels.
A hundred years ago a gallery ran around the three walls of the nave, but this has been removed.
The church can still seat a large number of people in impressive stalls in the three aisles.
*
*
There is a Victorian baptismal font, still in use today, but hidden In the opposite corner is a smaller font thought to be medieval.
This had been lost when the church was rebuilt but was more recently it was found buried in a nearby garden.
It has been cleaned and returned to the church.
It is hoped one day to move it to a more prominent position but permission for this has not so far been forthcoming.
Both fonts are beautifully carved.
*

When Gilbert Scott was employed to update Exeter Cathedral he discarded a number of carvings and these landed up here in St Michaels, These included “Jesus with his 11 disciples at the last supper” (Judas being excluded!).

Gilbert Scott also at that time produced a magnificent reredos for a chapel in the Cathedral.

But in later times the Cathedral turned its back on Victoriana and wanted to rid themselves of, amongst other treasurers, Gilbert Scott’s reredos.

That was their loss and St Michael’s gain.

*
The reredos is constructed of alabaster and marble and the centrepiece represents the ascension of Christ with (only) twelve apostles.
The left panel shows the Transfiguration and on the right is the descent of the Holy Spirit with the apostles and the three Marys.
There are angels and numerous precious and semi-precious stones.
This reredos could well have been destroyed during the bombing of Exeter Cathedral if it had remained in situ.
*
*
There is a second reredos behind the altar of the Lady Chapel.
This celebrates the end of WW2.
Beside it is a plaque commemorating a 1969 visit from King George V.
On its left is a woodwork screen.
The work of the carved top of the screen is intricate and marvellous to see and has some medieval bits which are not easy to identify!
After our talk we had time to walk around the church and see for ourselves how beautifully designed it is.
We felt we had been very lucky to have been taken around this church and shown all its treasures.

For feedback or further info on this beautiful church please leave your comments below.