This milestone moment took place in May. Bishop of Crediton Rt Rev Nick McKinnel preached at a service on the Island of Lundy – as part of the celebrations of St Helena’s becoming a parish church.
Other speakers shared something of what Lundy means to them. They spoke of how the church project offers promise for the future on this tiny island that lies just ten miles north off the Devon coast.
A Rocha UK is represented on the project’s steering group by Chris Baillie, who led prayers at the service. After the event, Chris also led a group through Atlantic fog to see puffins and other seabirds.
The project is preparing a second major funding bid that would form the basis for further fund-raising. If successful, this will create a new era of ministry to the island, its people and visitors.
Interpretation of terrestrial ecology, facilities for talks, school groups and researchers will integrate with the worship function of the building and support the conservation, education and research activities on the island.
A Rocha UK is exploring new partnerships including one of England’s ancient farms – Stampwell Farm, Beaconsfield. Since September 2012, Latimer Minster, a church licensed by the Church of England, has been transforming the site which hasn’t been touched for more than 25 years.
Three of the 12 buildings are now renovated. The rest remain derelict and the 65 acres of surrounding land are still wild. Latimer Minster has committed to rebuild the farmstead using traditional methods, local volunteers and professional partners. A five-year strategy is underway for the restoration. Internship opportunities are available.
‘A Rocha UK are highly supportive of our partners taking on interns,’ said Conservation Director Andy Lester. ‘This provides cost-effective support for the projects tailored to specialist areas such as ecology, botany or ornithology. It also provides graduates with practical training and development to help them secure a future career in the environmental world.’