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On this page

Most of our churches are CLOSED because of the Lockdown

Awliscombe  opening times – click here for details

Buckerell closed until further notice

Cotleigh closed until further notice

Combe Raleigh closed until further notice

Gittisham closed until further notice

Honiton closed until further notice

Our normal point of contact is the Parish Office – 01404 44035   
However, the office will NOT be open to visitors during the crisis. Emails and voicemail will be checked as often as we can.

The JANUARY edition is out now!

If you are on our circulation list you will have received a copy by email or in the post.

Because of copyright restrictions, we have introduced a password to enable this document to be opened only by our congregations. 
If you need the password, please email us.

THIS WEEK: Worship

Sunday 17th January 2021

The Second Sunday of Epiphany

ZOOM:  Worship is available on the internet using ‘Zoom’, and on the telephone, using a conferencing facility. 
If you would like to know more about joining in with either, please contact either
Revd Sue  (01404 42925 or email Sue) or Julia Barrett (email Julia)

click here for an order of service for you to use.

Because of copyright restrictions, we have introduced a password to enable this document to be opened only by our congregations. 

If you would like a copy and need the password, please email us.

Also, physical services have restarted:

In addition to the ZOOM services on Sundays we are also celebrating
services at St Paul’s:

Said Eucharist – 11 am at St Paul’s

Places are limited and booking is essential – please contact the Parish Office if you are interested in finding out more or getting involved.

Suspended during LOCKDOWN

We produced a Prayer leaflet for your use during the Coronavirus emergency. This has been combined with the simple form of Worship for use at home that we introduced at the start of lock-down. 

I encourage you to stop each Sunday morning at the time of your usual church service, and use this service, worshipping at home, but as part of the Body of Christ, and its local expression in your community.  I will of course be praying it in solidarity with all of you. 
With my love and blessings,  Sue

Download your PDF copy here

Because of copyright restrictions, we have introduced a password to enable our downloadable documents to be opened only by our congregations. 

If you are need the password, please email us.

The Diocese of Exeter have created a series of REFLECTIONS on video:

Exeter Cathedral

You may also be interested in Music and Worship from the Cathedral. Link to their pages here.

Reflection for this week

The Gospel passage this morning is, at first glance a very simple passage, a lovely story about the calling of Philip and Nathanael – but it is full to the brim with teaching on the nature of discipleship

Out of this seemingly simple story, I want to draw four aspects this morning.

 The scene is all set for us as Jesus decides to head for Galilee, and that’s when the encounter with Philip begins. The first point we notice is actually very easy to miss…

 Right at the start of the story, John says: “Jesus found Philip”.

If you go to any book shop and look in the so-called spirituality section, you might just be lucky enough to find a bible, but more likely you will find autobiographies of people who have devoted themselves to the spiritual life through the years.  And very often, they write about how they spent many years seeking out a spiritual leader to follow. They may have tried out the ideas of gurus, or philosophers, they may have sat at the feet of great preachers and wise teachers trying to decide who to follow. But that is not the same for us as Christians: that is not even an option because, as John says, “Jesus found Philip”.

 Philip didn’t find Christ. Christ found Philip.

 The truth at the heart of the Christian story is not that you and I have found Christ, but Christ has found us.  We did not decide for God.  God decided for us.  And the narrative that runs throughout the Bible is of a God who constantly seeks out his people.

 That’s the case right from the beginning of Scripture. If you remember in Genesis 3, Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, realised they were naked and were embarrassed, so they hid. And, in verse 8, God is walking in the garden looking for Adam and Eve, and in verse 9: “But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’” Right from the beginning of time, God has been seeking us out and finding us.  The same is clear in our first reading today (1 Samuel 3:1-10) when the boy Samuel is sleeping in the Temple and hears a voice calling him.

So here, right at the outset of this Gospel passage is a reminder that we didn’t choose God: he has chosen us! As Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:4: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world…”

 And this is important because the knowledge that God has sought us out, rather than vice versa, is crucial in keeping us humble before God. Even our own faith is not our own decision!

 And once Jesus finds Philip, he issues a single command: “Follow me”.  Philip is compelled to follow Jesus – and leaves all else behind: his work, his family, his possessions, his ambitions. Following Christ overrides all of those things.

 I well remember an ‘Any Questions’ evening with the curate at a youth club I used to help run.  

“Can I be a Christian and still have a boyfriend?”.  “ No.”

“Can I be a Christian and still play football?”.  “No.”

“Can I still be a Christian and gel my hair?”  “No.”

“Can I be a Christian and still go clubbing?”  “No.”

As I listened I began to feel really uncomfortable … how was this going to end, and would we have anybody at the Youth Club next week, or would they all have given up on church as a bad thing?

“The answer is No”, the curate reiterated.  Not because there is anything inherently wrong with boyfriends or football or gelling your hair or clubbing: there isn’t anything wrong with these…but there is something inherently wrong with a question that’s phrased: “Can I be a Christian and still …. ?” A question that is phrased like that suggests that the enquirer wants to follow Jesus but still keep something back, some part of their life, for themselves – and that is the problem.  And of course, he as right!  (Curates often are!)

 Jesus, when he calls us to follow him, does not give us any Get-Out clauses. Our first hymn this morning at our Zoom service is ‘I the Lord of sea and sky.  That’s just it: Jesus is the Lord of sea and sky – of everything, and following him is a radical commitment that demands every aspect of our being. Of course we get it wrong from time to time and fall short of the ideal – but the intention of radical discipleship should always be before us.

Secondly, we notice what Philip did when he set out to follow Jesus:

Did he go on an Alpha Course? No.

Did he join a church? No.

Did he get baptised? No.

The first thing he did, according to John, was to find his brother Nathanael and tell him about Jesus.  Philip didn’t have any great learning and yet he was really effective in being an evangelist for Jesus. I’ve just said how God finds us, not the other way round, but look what Philip says to Nathanael: “We have found him about whom Moses in the law wrote…” Well, Philip’s theology isn’t very good: Jesus found him, he didn’t find Jesus! But, nevertheless, he is effective in bringing Nathanael to Jesus.

 So often, we think we can’t tell other people about Jesus because we don’t know enough or we don’t know the Bible well enough…but none of that matters. We don’t need to be theologians to be effective. We just need to be passionate for Jesus, and he will do the rest!  Think for a moment whose words about Jesus have caught your attention and drawn you to him– those of a friend, a relative, the words in a theological book?  One of the things I have always loved doing both as a priest and before I was ordained, is surprising people (especially youngsters and those who don’t call themselves Christians,) by talking about my faith in the most ordinary, down to earth way possible – so often it makes them ask more questions, and prompts them to think about whether it might not have some meaning for them too.  If I were to wave Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics at them, I’m pretty sure they’d never ask another question again!

 So firstly, to be a follower of Jesus means to be found by him. Secondly, to be a follower of Jesus means to tell others about him.

Thirdly, to be a follower of Jesus means keeping on going despite the knocks. Nathanael’s response to Philip is not particularly encouraging, is it? “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip had come running over to Nathanael, passionate about sharing this good news about Jesus, only to be met with a really cynical response.  Does that sound familiar to you?   When we tell people about Jesus and we are met with cynicism or rudeness or apathy,  it can be really discouraging and it can knock our self-confidence.  But when it happened to Philip, he didn’t get into some theological debate about the merits of Nazareth as a geographical region or its place within the salvation history of Israel, or anything like that…He just said to Nathanael, “Come and see!”

And, when it comes to evangelism, that’s all we need to keep saying: “Come and see!” We don’t need to get involved in heavy theological debates. “Don’t take my word for it. Come and see!” – and let God do the rest.

Of course, if we do invite people to “Come and see”,  we have to ask ourselves what will they find? Will they get a warm welcome? Will they get a sense of God changing lives? Will they have an experience of worship that enables them to  feel they have drawn close to God? Will they go away with a sense of excitement that something is happening in this church?


 Being a disciple means being found by God.

 Being a disciple means telling others about him.

 Being a disciple means not losing confidence when the message is not always welcomed.

  Fourthly and finally: Being a disciple means receiving peace and blessing from God.

 Jesus’ response to Nathanael is very interesting indeed. Let’s look at this part of the passage: “When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, “Where did you come to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’”  There are two things that it’s really worth noting here:

 The first is to do with the word ‘see’ – and the different Greek words in the Bible for this. Philip had said to Nathanael, “Come and see!” And the Greek word he used for ‘see’ had to do with use of the eyes: we look and we see something. But twice the word ‘see’ is used with regard to Jesus in this passage: “Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him…” and “I saw you under the fig tree…” And on both those occasions, there is a different Greek word for ‘to see’ used than the one Philip used. On both occasions, the word used has nothing to do with physical sight through the eyes but speaks of spiritual perception instead.  Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him; that is to say, he saw into Nathanael’s heart as he approached and recognised him for who he truly was. And secondly, we read Jesus’ words that, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you”, which suggests that Jesus knew of Nathanael before this encounter – not in a physical sense of having seen him before – but in a more spiritual sense of having had his hand on Nathanael’s life before that encounter from all eternity. Yes, Jesus Christ had found Nathanael, just as he had found Philip, even though both Philip and Nathanael thought they had found Jesus. And there is a real sense of peace that we can derive from the knowledge that God has had his hand on us even from before we became aware of him

So that’s the first thing. But secondly,  it’s really interesting that Jesus says: “I saw you under the fig tree”.   That phrase that is used three other times in the Bible: 1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10. For example from 1 Kings – “During Solomon’s lifetime Judah and Israel…lived in safety, each man under his own vine and fig-tree”. And each time that phrase is used, sitting under the fig-tree is a symbol of living in the peace and blessing, which an obedient relationship with God provides.

 And so, in this passage from John, Jesus is perceiving in Nathanael the obedience of a well lived Jewish life. He says, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” meaning that Nathanael has known the peace and blessing of God on his life. But, in a relationship with Jesus, there is even more for Nathanael to receive: far more than obedience to the Jewish law could ever give him. Jesus says to him: “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.”   It seems that  Jesus is commending him for having been an obedient Jew – but he is also calling Nathanael into a deeper place of peace and blessing through a relationship with him.

And so this apparently simple passage, a lovely story about the calling of Philip and Nathanael turns out to be full to the brim with deep teaching on the nature of discipleship.

 We did not choose God – he chose us from all eternity.

 We are called by him primarily to tell others about the good news of Jesus.

 We are not to be discouraged by the response we may get from others but trust that an encounter with God will be life-changing for them too.

 We are called into a life of peace and blessing with God: Jesus sees us, he knows everything about us and perceives our deepest needs. And if we follow him, as he says to Nathanael, “[we] will see heaven opened…”

We proclaim Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.  There is a lifetime’s work for us to live out in  these two simple instructions: “Follow me!” and “Come and see!”

Resources to use at home

Celebrate Together Team at St Paul’s Honiton
We continue to make videos every week and post them on YouTube and this website on Fridays.

We have now reached the end of our videos for the Christmas Season, It’s been a real joy to film the Christmas Season videos, even though we filmed them during November, we really got into the Christmas Spirit and even decorated our studio very early!!!

We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing anew and afresh the story of Jesus coming into this world as a tiny baby.  Then hearing how he grew from a child to a man and was baptised in the river Jordan at the start of his ministry. 

We wish you a happy new year and pray that in 2021 we shall be able to meet face to face again. 

Look out for our next series of videos starting next week.

Lots of love from the Celebrate Together Team.

Video series: "First Christmas"

This week’s video: Jesus is Baptised

(episode 4 of 4)

. . .  and here are the songs for you to sing along to:

Take part

Resources for children, families and young people

Exeter Diocese have developed a huge range of resources and activities for children of all ages.

Have a look at what they have to offer here

In love for a world undergoing crucifixion and awaiting resurrection

Baptisms & Weddings

As you will know, the Government has said that there can be no weddings or baptisms during the current situation.  We appreciate that this will cause much sadness and disappointment.  However, we really hope that you will get back in touch with us once we are out of this pandemic, and that you will want us to play our part in sharing in your celebrations. 

If you want to get in touch in the meantime to talk about your plans or hopes , you are so welcome to do so.


Funerals will continue to take place during the current situation.  However, only the immediate family will be able to be present, and the number of people involved must not exceed single figures.  There will be no organist.   Preparations for the service will be made by telephone and email contact.   

These restrictions will, inevitably be incredibly sad and difficult for everyone concerned, and we will do our best to support you in whatever way we can.  We will of course, be delighted to help you to arrange a service of Thanksgiving or a Memorial service once the restrictions are fully lifted.

On this page:
Worship  –  Events  –  Safeguarding

The Honiton Mission Community seeks to communicate God’s love and to reach out to others by encouraging people through pastoral care, participation and worship.

The Churches in our Mission Community

Our Mission Community website

If you are expecting to see the St Paul’s, Honiton website at this address, then let’s explain.

The domain name “” feels more appropriate to the whole of the church in the Honiton area. So we have decided to make this the page that will cover all the activities that involve and affect all the parishes and churches in the Honiton Mission Community (HMC).

Each church’s individual page(s) can be linked by:
 * clicking on the appropriate image,   or
 * by selection from the menu,   or
 * direct from your browser using the format{church} (eg.

We hope that you like the result and we look forward to receiving feedback and suggestions on how we can keep this important resource up-to-date and relevant.

Sue Roberts, Team Rector
Charles Pegman, Website Coordinator


Revd Sue Roberts

Team Rector

Julia Barrett
Licensed Lay Minister (Reader)

Mission Community Worship

Mission Community Events

  • Tue, 19 January 2021, 10:00 am: Coffee Morning


  • Sat, 23 January 2021, 10:00 am: Coffee Morning


  • Tue, 26 January 2021, 10:00 am: Coffee Morning


  • Sat, 30 January 2021, 10:00 am: Coffee Morning



Find out more about what the Church can offer for Christenings, Weddings and Funerals.

These are general presentations. When you are ready to make specific arrangements, please contact us via the Parish Office.

 + Christenings & Holy Baptism

 + Weddings

 + Funerals 


Safeguarding is the responsibility of each church in our Mission Community. Please see the appropriate parish page (from the menu above) for more detail.

SAFEGUARDING in the Honiton Mission Community – Promoting Safer Churches

The parishes of Awliscombe, Buckerell, Combe Raleigh, Cotleigh, Gittisham and Honiton (which make up the Honiton Mission Community) are committed to safeguarding children, young people and adults at risk to worship and grow in Christ safely.
Concerns about children, young people and adults at risk will be diligently and promptly responded to according to our procedures, recognising the sensitivity it may hold for those involved.
As a Mission Community (group of parish churches) we have adopted the House of Bishops ‘Promoting a Safer Church’ policy and the Parish Safeguarding Handbook, incorporating the House of Bishop’s Safeguarding Policy and Practice Guidance. 
All our PCCs (Church Councils) have formally adopted this and signed a Safeguarding Policy Statement Promoting a Safer Church and a copy of this can be found on each church’s page on this site. 
We have also displayed the Promoting a Safer Church poster prominently within each church.
All those working with children and adults at risk have undergone safer recruitment, received safeguarding training and support.
If you have a concern about the safety of someone or the actions of someone working with children or vulnerable adults, please speak to the appropriate contact for your church – see the list or visit the church’s page on this website:

You could also contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team at

If you are a young person and you feel unhappy about something happening to you, you can call Childline on 0800 11 11.

Honiton Mission Community Safeguarding

Parish Contacts



Combe Raleigh




Specific parish contacts are listed on their respective pages. For general enquiries and to book Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals, please contact:


The Parish Office
St Paul’s Church
High Street
Honiton  EX14 1PG

01404 44035

“Around the Parishes” is the monthly newsletter of the
Honiton Mission Community.

Download your copy here.

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