SOUTH WEST ENGLAND
Our Region covers the South West peninsula reaching from Gloucester in the north to Land’s End in the South. The Severn Estuary and Atlantic Coast form the Western boundary; a line drawn from Swindon to Poole marks the Eastern one.
The Region has three Family Groups containing 30 Members, centred on Bristol, East Somerset, and Exeter. There are 110 Associate Members, and a number of Friends.
Members, Associate Members, and Friends are involved in initiatives to welcome, house, and support refugees and immigrants; practical and networking activities devoted to sustainable living and to stemming climate change; and community work to support those isolated by, or impoverished by, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is also clear from conversations with Associate Members in this largely rural area, that Family Groups and Associate Member Groups provide spiritual nourishment and support to many ordained and lay ministers serving in small rural congregations.
Post Codes in this Region:
BA, BH, BS, DT, EX, GL, GY, JE, PL, SN, SP, TA, TF, TQ, TR, WR
HOW WE WORK IN THIS REGION
Regional activities began 5-6 years ago in the form of annual Plenary Meetings held in Exeter. These gatherings have been publicised through denominational networks which has drawn in friends with whom we remain in contact. Through the Covid-19 pandemic, they have taken place on Zoom and we were delighted to welcome Ruth Harvey and Caitlin Wakefield to the last gathering.
A quarterly Newsletter, ‘The Dinghy, is prepared by the Regional Coordinating Team and emailed to people on our database.
We are presently engaged in establishing three Associate Member Groups on the fringes of the Region – the groups in Gloucester & Swindon are new, the group in Salisbury is a revival of one which had lapsed.
KEY PARTNERS AND NETWORKS IN THIS REGION
The Iona Community has had a presence at Glastonbury Festival in the past which has been supported by local members.
John Bell’s visits to Lee Abbey, Ammerdown, and elsewhere are an important source of encouragement to Iona supporters in the Region.
Bronwyn Thomas’ (Young Adults Group) presence in the Franciscan Community at Hillfield Priory in Dorset during 2022 is an important link and the Wessex Family Group hopes to meet there during the year.
David Osborne, Stephen & Rosemary Rymer