ST PETERS CHURCH
The present church building dates from the end of the thirteenth century. Monuments both inside and outside the church commemorate the Clevland family, who once lived at Tapeley Manor and the Christie family, to whom the house and estate passed by marriage. There are also monuments to the Berry Torrs, who lived in the littler village of Eastleigh. Some restoration work has been done, and more is envisaged in the near future when funds become available.
The present congregation is small and ‘elderly, though there is a much bigger body of people who come on special occasions and are willing to help in practical ways. The church and the pub are the two main focal points for this community.
St. Peters, Westleigh is part of the United Benefice comprising St. Peters, Westleigh, St. Johns, Instow and St. Peters Fremington.
At such times, it is good to remember that the Church is not primarily a building or an ordained minister, but rather the people of God. People have worshipped here for hundreds of years and they do so still. Please pray that others in this generation will come to put their trust in Jesus Christ as Saviour, and bear witness for him in this rural community.
A Life Well Lived
As I write these words for the Parish News I have been watching the news coverage of the final journey of our late Sovereign Queen Elizabeth 2nd from Balmoral to Edinburgh. In the space of a few days our lives here in this country and the lives of much of the world have been changed. We now have a new King Charles 3rd and that in itself is such a new thing to get used to. It will take some time to sing “God save the King” as our National Anthem. I have never known any other Monarch than Queen Elizabeth, and she has been a constant presence throughout my life. I have many times had to swear an oath to her, something all clergy have to do on ordination and also whenever we take up any office. “I swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen and her heirs and successors according to law”.
Like many of you I suppose, I never met the late Queen, but I did somehow feel that I knew her and that through her constant life of service she was always there for me. She has lived a life of duty and been an example to us all. When she was 21 she had promised to devote her life whether it be long or short to the service of the Commonwealth and she has been blessed to reign for 70 years, the longest serving Monarch in our history. We have been lucky to have her for so long and her passing leaves a huge sense of loss and grief. Hers was a life well lived.
We have lost a person of steadfast devotion and faith. She was Supreme Governor of the Church of England and Defender of the Faith and wrote the preface for only one book. To celebrate her 90th birthday “The Servant Queen and the King she serves” was published and in it we hear her own words about the place of Christian Faith in her long life. She drew inspiration and hope from the Gospels and the life of Jesus. In all the ups and downs of her life and reign her faith ran deep like a golden thread.
We know look to the reign of our new Sovereign King Charles 3rd. He must be the most prepared Monarch ever for he has had 75 years to prepare for this moment. He will bear a heavy burden and will now adjust from being a Prince of Wales who felt free to speak and have an opinion about most matters to a King who must never enter into controversy or debate. I believe His Majesty King Charles will be a fine King and he will deserve our loyalty and support in all he does.
As we look forward to his reign as King we will be forgiven if we feel that we are in uncertain times. Bereavement is always hard for every one of us when we lose our loved ones. We have to give ourselves time to grieve and come to a new relationship with those we have lost. We as a people and nation have been bereaved. In his 1939 Christmas broadcast King George 6th famously quoted these words by Minnie Louise Haskins.
“And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.”
May her late Majesty Rest in Peace. God save the King.
With every Blessing to you,
With the whole country Westleigh mourns the loss of our beloved late Queen.She was a shining example to all Christians of faithful lifelong service. The service on Sunday 18th September was devoted to remembering her with gratitude. Mark Ansell and his father,Nick,Deputy Lieutenants of Devon,attended the Proclamation of King Charles the Third at Exeter County Hall on 11th September. We are fortunate that our new King promises to follow his mother’s example.
These significant global events were acknowledged in Westleigh Church before our own most joyful celebration. This was a very special family wedding,the marriage of our church warden’s son,Simon Grigg,to Helen Bellew,which unites two local farming families.
The Church,superbly decorated by the bride’s mother,Gill Bellew and helpers,was full of the young couple’s families and friends,including many babies,there to enjoy a very lovely traditional service.Helen looked so beautiful that Simon was almost overwhelmed as they made their vows to each other. They were attended by five bridesmaids,Helen’s sisters,Sarah Berry,Claire Quick and Nicola Turner with Simon’s sisters,Kelly Robinson and Lucy Ronald and four young nephews as pageboys,Louis Robinson,George Berry,Finley Robinson and Harry Turner,with niece,Emily Quick as the Flower Girl. The Best Man was Jack Willes and Ushers Sam Cork and Alfie Grigg.The service was conducted by the Revd.Marisa Cockfield with Andy Temple playing the organ. During the signing of the Register Kim Hill,wife of Robert,both farmers,sang “Hallelujah”most movingly,her lovely voice clear even at the very back of the church.
The couple left in a special white tricycle,down the road lined with petal throwing friends wishing them well,to further celebrations at the Bellew home,Gammaton Barton.
This was the most wonderfully happy wedding to witness and our congratulations and very best wishes for the future go to Simon and Helen.
Advertising for a new vicar will soon begin . We hope the right person will be inspired to apply and pray that all involved in the selection process will equally be guided to find the new leader for our churches.