Reflections of a pioneer

05 October 2021

Helen Fry , outreach worker, reflects on her role as a pioneer in a community in Devon.

I started in my role at my family’s church, Tedburn St Mary Methodist, near Exeter, this January. I have been a member of the church since about 2000, having been involved in the junior church and also messy church over the years.

Over time I felt God was asking us to reach the community in different ways too. 

I’ve gone through seasons of discouragement at times thinking that nothing was happening in terms of people coming to know the Good News in our area. But from discouragement has turned to a feeling of something being ready to grow. I’ve learnt that there have been Christians praying for renewal in the village for years and I think we’re starting to see something happening. 

In a rural village, having all ages living, learning and worshipping together, and growing from the existing church is something that can work. But sometimes amongst all the pioneers I have met on the Methodist Pioneering Pathway it feels like what we are doing is not particularly ground breaking, and sometimes I even wonder if I am a pioneer at  all! But I do know that some radical change has occurred in my own thinking, and in some of the ways our church community operates, over recent years, and we believe God is moving here. 

The thing that gives me joy is is finding out that many people who don’t usually attend church are open to spirituality and they oftentimes already know God. It’s brilliant to be able to explore that further with people and to learn with them. 

Our vision is for our church boundaries (both physical and metaphorical) to become much wider, so that we can grow in faith within our whole community and become better disciples of Jesus, rooted in the place where we live, with a deeper understanding of all the ways we can meet with God in our everyday lives. 

Find out about our New Places for New People pathways and support here

Support for people working in rural areas is here.