'Harnessing the spirituality' of Lundy Island

The stunning coastline of Lundy Island

The stunning coastline of Lundy Island - Credit: Diocese of Exeter

A new spiritual fellowship linked to Lundy Island, off the coast of North Devon, has been set up. 

The Fellowship of St Helen’s is named after the island’s church, which stands at one of its highest points. 

Anyone is able to join the group, which is described as ‘a way of searching for God in fellowship with others who share a love of Lundy and its church’. 

Lundy is in the Diocese of Exeter and is part of the Hartland Coast Mission Community. 

There are monthly services on the island, which is managed by the National Trust and known for its unique flora, wildlife and marine life. 

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The clergy travel to the island by boat in summer and helicopter in winter. The team rector, the rev’d Jane Skinner, said: “When people come to Lundy, they are captivated by its isolation. 

“It helps them step out of the daily routine, to open their eyes and ears and draw breath. 

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“The fellowship gives people something they can be part of when they are not on the island, which is a great gift. It will help people to flourish.” 

The Fellowship of St Helen’s was the idea of Lundy enthusiast Chris Kingshott, a licensed lay minister in the Diocese of Truro, and Nigel Price, a licensed lay minister and treasurer in the Hartland Mission Community. 

Members undertake to follow a ‘Rule of Life’, or guidelines for living. These include going to church regularly, praying daily, reading the Bible, making time for personal study, family and recreation and visiting Lundy when possible. 

There are plans for members of the fellowship to gather for an annual service of thanksgiving on the island, once Covid restrictions ease. 

The Bishop of Crediton, the right rev’d Jackie Searle, who has oversight of Lundy, said “For many people Lundy is a special place, a place of pilgrimage and a place where God seems very close. 

“St Helen’s church, built for the glory of God by the rev’d Hudson Heaven in 1896, is a place of prayer, peace and sanctuary. 

“Joining the St Helen’s fellowship is to set your heart on pilgrimage, to seek to live in relationship with God and one another. 

“Whether you are physically able to make that pilgrimage, or it is a journey of the heart and soul, finding a place in our lives to draw close to God, to creation and in love for one another, is an essential part of spiritual life.” 

Jane Skinner says she would like Lundy to become part of a new pilgrimage route, starting on the North Devon coast, something she thinks would fill a spiritual need in people, she explained: “I meet a lot of people who are sighing. I hope on the in breath they feel they are being filled with the breath of God. 

“You can’t hide much on Lundy, God knows where we are.” 

You can find out more about the Fellowship of St Helen’s here: https://exeter.anglican.org/ministry/spiritual-growth/fellowship-of-st-helens/

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