CAPTION: Bishop Robert chatting with customers at the cafe inside St John's, Shiphay

Last stage of Bishops’ year long tour of county, learning how to pray, grow and serve with joy

Posted: 10th May, 2017

DEVON’s three bishops have finished the last stage of their year long in-depth tour of the county, ending with a stay in Torbay by Bishop Robert.

The three Bishops have been out and about listening to people’s concerns and hopes, and talking about the vision for the Church of England in Devon.

The diocese published its vision to grow in prayer, make new disciples, and serve the people of Devon with joy last year, before the Bishops began their visits to every part of the county.

Bishop Robert said: “I have had a great weekend in Torbay. From Brixham to Babbacombe, whether it’s 100 kids walking in aid of Christian Aid and Syria Relief to exploring prayer with 70 people in Babbacombe, it’s been encouraging to see the church so involved and engaged, sharing in the lives of local communities and making a difference.”

He spent time at Shiphay vintage market at St John the Baptist Church, Shiphay, which offers a cafe and space for prayer as well as shopping.

Shiphay market at St John’s Shiphay

“Following the government’s royal commission on loneliness, looking at how isolation in communities contributes to poor mental health, it’s great to see the church in Shiphay reaching out in creative ways to isolated and disadvantaged people in the community. Steve and Fred (not their real names) shared with me their stories and the journey they have been on.  One an ex-prisoner and one sleeping rough on the streets, both have found in the church a way of being fully alive as men and wanting to give something back to the community. It’s their vision that is at the heart of the church’s outreach here and they are living expressions of how the grace of God can transform our lives.”

Staff at Checkpoint Torquay

Bishop Robert also met with staff at Checkpoint Torbay, a project part-funded by The Children’s Society, where he heard about work with young people. Project Manager Richard Kirkup briefed Bishop Robert about the vital support offered to young people affected by issues including sexual exploitation, substance misuse, domestic abuse and mental health support.

Mr Kirkup added: “It helps to know the Church is behind us offering prayer and support.”