Reflections at the end of my placement
During my placement with the Exe Valley Mission Community I have learned so much, that it’s hard to know where to start.
It has been a privilege to be part of your Mission Community for a short while. You have given me a better understanding of what makes a community (whether church or village or the wider Mission Community) and more important, how to keep it going. I have seen great examples of mutual encouragement and genuine friendship, of patience with each other’s quirks, and of willingness to help and support each other in times of need.
Not only have I myself felt loved while being with you, I have watched you being welcoming to other strangers too. My main worry was whether I would be accepted, not being a Devon or indeed a UK native, and you have totally smashed that to pieces!
I have been amazed by your resilience. Having always been in town ministry myself, I now realise – thanks to you – how 'spoilt' churches in towns and cities can be, with every possible facility and resource at hand. You have demonstrated how true worship comes from the heart, with ingredients like sincerity, honesty and kindness outweighing beamers and coffee makers. (This is not to romanticise things: I pray that running water and toilet facilities can be installed in all your churches!)
What has also particularly struck me is your fortitude. I loved the Group Services I was able to attend, with people from all nine churches attending; only later did I realise that some of you would have had to travel some 15 to 20 miles over narrow
lanes. But you did and you do!
I have loved accompanying you on part of your faith journey, and continue to pray for you, your churches and the Mission Community as a whole.
With love and blessings and very best wishes to you all,
Gerda van Ommerman