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Advent Sunday – 28th November 2021

Happy New Year!
Grace and peace to you on this first Sunday of Advent!
As we light the first candle on our Advent Wreath today, we focus on the theme of hope.

Today Christians around the world who follow the church calendar have made the transition from ordinary time to the special, set apart season of Advent. Along with Easter, Advent happens to be my favourite season. It always seems to greet me like an old friend. Advent is honest. Advent doesn’t require celebration and it’s not a fan of sugar-coating. Advent allows us to sit in the darkness of the shorter days and simply be still. The season calls us to pay witness to the brokenness of our world and ponder the hope that brings healing. Advent takes seriously our shortcomings yet equips us to prepare a different way – a world where justice and peace reign for all people – a way made possible through the love of God in Christ Jesus. I find it interesting that our reading for this first day of Advent comes right before the end of Jesus’ life in the Gospel of Luke. It seems strange to begin thinking about the coming of the Christ child while reading what were perhaps some of his final teachings. But if we put these teachings in the context of their original audience, 1st century Christians, their connection to Advent makes a little more sense.
The first hearers of this text could have quite literally believed that the world was coming to an end. In recent memory was the violent destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman Empire: the centre of life for many of these early followers was destroyed by a group dedicated to gaining power by spreading terror and fear. In a world filled with hatred and fear, these first followers of Christ sat in a perpetual advent, searching for the hope of Christ amidst the darkness.
Perhaps we can relate to that. Every generation, before and after Christ, has gone through periods of worry and fear – fear that the world might just be coming to an end. Throughout these generations, some have looked at these apocalyptic passages as proof of the world’s demise and used them to predict the end – none of which, I might just say, have come true. The gospel reading for today was never meant to be used to predict destruction and it was never meant to increase fear; Quite the opposite, this teaching was written to give hope to a people living in fearful times. These words of Christ were meant to speak light and life to a people who were preparing for the worst. Today, they encourage us to prepare a way for hope, in spite of the world’s darkness.
After all, the season of Advent teaches us to look for hope in the most unexpected of places – it calls us to be watchers for good. This call becomes difficult, however, when we are hard wired for fear. To illustrate this, think back to the gospel reading for today – to your gut reaction when you heard the text. Did the reading make you a little nervous?
In that story of the fig tree, did you notice that nestled in between the two passages that speak about fear and distress, there are five beautiful lines about new life? It’s very easy to be so worried about the first and final portions that we miss those five whole lines of hope!
As Jesus addresses his disciples and the author of Luke addresses followers whose lives were steeped in fear, we are given a parable about new life. “Look at the fig tree and all of the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near.” The image of the fig tree would have been one that spoke to these first hearers. The fig tree was an image of safety and security. It was used both for sustenance and shelter from storms. Hearing of it’s blossoming in the summer is an assurance that new life is possible, even in the midst of life’s trickiest, fear inducing storms. Hope exists even in the darkest of times. One truth of being fragile human beings living in this world is that both beauty and terror can exist simultaneously.
Our job, as people of faith, is to look for the beauty, to search for hope. When we see only the terror then it becomes pretty difficult to be hope seekers. When we live only in fear, we allow one emotion to dictate our own ac-tions. Fear all too easily takes away our power to do good in the world. When we are dominated by fear we become reactionary. But this assumption is false. We do have a choice. Every day we are given a choice in how we may respond to the brokenness of our lives and of our world. We can choose to live solely in fear, or we can choose to seek out hope in the midst of our fears. Perhaps, then, the escape that our gospel reading speaks of is not an escape from hurt, death, or destruction, but an escape from the power that these things can have over us. For as followers of Jesus, we proclaim that God’s love for the world through Christ is bigger than death, and stronger than fear.
We may be hearing a lot of fear in our world today, fear of new Covid-19 variants for example; fear tends to speak the loudest. But we cannot let these loud voices of overshadow what we know to be true: that hope is found in the most unexpected of places, that beauty exists amidst brokenness, and that light shines in the darkness. There are signs of hope all around us if we prepare ourselves to find them.
Now is the time for hope. Hear these words from the Talmud of our Jewish brothers and sisters: “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work but neither are you free to abandon it.” This is our calling.
In this season of Advent may we allow ourselves the time to search for the good. May we name hope when we see it. May we silence our own fears with the goodness of God whom we know will not let death and destruction have the final word in our lives or in our world. And not only this, may we stand up and raise our heads, willing to be the people of hope, the actual agents of change that our world needs.

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)

Zoom services at 18.30 have restarted

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.

Physical services have restarted:

Sung Eucharist – 11 am at St Paul’s

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

Also, see the pages for the village churches.

“Around the Parishes”

The November edition is here!

Download the PDF by clicking here

Future events:

This Saturday

Celebrate Together!


St Paul’s Church, Honiton

Saturday 13th November
3.00pm to 4.30pm

There will be another Celebrate Together! in the New Year.
Saturday 8th January 2022
download the poster here

An ACCESSIBLE SERVICE for all abilities with tea after!

There is level access from the drop-off point

For more information:
Cathy Maunder 01404 849299

Exeter Cathedral

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

Video material from the Diocese . . .

Because of copyright restrictions, our downloadable documents are password-protected to be opened only by our congregations. 

If you are need the password, please email us.

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

Resources to use at home

Celebrate Together Team at St Paul’s Honiton

Click here to go to Rev Ann’s pages where you will find links to all the videos.

Lots of love from the Celebrate Together Team.

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

also there are some craft ideas here

In love for a world undergoing crucifixion and awaiting resurrection

Baptisms & Weddings

Weddings and Baptisms are now permitted with no specific number restrictions, and people should contact the Parish Office in the first instance to get the appropriate application form.   Once completed the form should be returned to the office when a date will be offered for baptisms, and hopefully agreed for weddings.

As with Funerals,  we are still asking that hands are sanitised on entry and that where possible attendees wear masks and use the QR code to register attendance. 

With Baptisms, because of the back-log from the last 18 months or so, the next available dates will be in February/March 2022.


Funerals are now unrestricted in numbers attending, but we are still asking that hands are sanitised on entry and that where possible attendees wear masks and use the QR code to register attendance.  Some funeral directors are taking a list of who attends as a form of track and trace and/or for information for the family.

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 “HonitonCofE.org” 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 www.HonitonCofE.org/{church} (eg. www.HonitonCofE.org/Awliscombe)

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

[email protected]

Julia Barrett
Licensed Lay Minister (Reader)

[email protected]

Mission Community Worship

Mission Community Events


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 below) for more detail:

AwliscombeBuckerellCombe RaleighCotleighGittishamHoniton

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 https://exeter.anglican.org/resources/safeguarding/safeguarding-team/

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     [email protected]

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

Download your copy here.

Site developed on behalf of the Honiton Mission Community by Peglets © 2020