Company of St Boniface

The Company of St Boniface was introduced by the Bishop of Exeter to honour people who have made a substantial contribution to the life of their church, local community or Church of England school.

St Boniface award winners come from all areas of lay ministry including children and families, education, outreach, social action and more

Each year we invite you to nominate people of all ages who you think have gone above and beyond to serve the people of Devon with joy.

It could be someone involved in children and families outreach, social action, online services and social media, pastoral support, environmental work, editing the parish magazine, teaching, leading worship, youthwork, volunteering in the churchyard  – anything you think is making a difference where they are. There is no upper or lower age limit!

This year we would particularly like to receive nominations for people who have been working hard to make a difference during the pandemic.

The 2021 nominations process is now open and closes on Tuesday 6 April. Download an application form here.

Those chosen to become Companions of St Boniface will be invited to attend a service led by Bishop Robert at Exeter Cathedral on Sunday 19 June (subject to Covid restrictions). At the service they will be presented with a special Companion of St Boniface medal.

People can be nominated for:

  • Making a difference in their church community or field of ‘ministry’
  • Serving the wider community with joy
  • Offering exceptional support or care during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Long-term voluntary service within the church
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Changing things, with an emphasis on achievement
  • Improving life for people less able to help themselves
  • Displaying moral courage and vision in making and delivering tough choices

The awards are open to lay people who are worshipping members of an Anglican church in the Diocese of Exeter. They are also open to staff, volunteers and governors of Church of England schools in the Diocese

Bishop Robert will assess nominations and make awards with the help of an advisory panel.

You can read the stories of some of the previous winners of the award here.

St Boniface, Devon’s Patron Saint

St Boniface was born in Crediton in Devon in around 675 and is credited with bringing Christianity to Germany. For this, some historians call him the “First European” and he is still revered in Germany to this day.

He was given the Anglo-Saxon name Wynfrith, meaning “friend of peace” as a child, taking the name Boniface, meaning “good deeds” when he entered the monastery in Exeter.

The gifted scholar and poet was ordained as a priest and became a missionary to Frisia in northern Europe before being consecrated as a bishop in 722.

Ten years later, he was made Archbishop of Mainz and appointed various missionary bishops to encourage the evangelisation of central Europe.

The St Boniface medal, which is given to award winners

Boniface was killed by a mob in Frisia in 754 and his remains returned to Fulda, where he had built an abbey. He later became the patron saint of Germania and is known as the ‘Apostle of the Germans’.

Saint Boniface’s feast day is celebrated on 5 June and a statue stands in the grounds of Mainz Cathedral. The UK National Shrine to St Boniface is at the Catholic church in Crediton. There is also an aisle dedicated to him at Crediton Parish Church.

In 2019 St Boniface was designated Patron Saint of Devon by Devon County Council.

‘As God gives us strength, in season and out of season, let us preach to the powerful and powerless alike, to rich and poor alike, to all people of every rank and of whatever age, the saving purposes of God’

Boniface of Crediton