THE Bishop of Exeter has said he will be proudly “flying the flag for Devon during the Coronation” as he represents the county in London.
The Rt. Rev Robert Atwell, who is a member of the House of Lords, is one of just two bishops who has been chosen to greet the King outside Parliament en route to Westminster Abbey.
Bishop Robert said: “This Saturday is going to be a tremendous day in the life of our county and nation as we share in the joy of the Coronation of King Charles and the Queen Consort.
“This is about all of us because it is a covenant, a commitment, to build our nation on strong Christian foundations.
“I shall be there on Saturday to greet the King en route to Westminster Abbey.
“Although I won’t have a Union Jack in my hand, I think I’ll have a green Devon flag and be flying the flag for Devon.”
Bishop Robert will be returning to Devon to lead special commemorative services on Sunday in Paignton and at Exeter Cathedral.
The Bishop of Crediton, the Rt Rev Jackie Searle, will be leading a service at Crediton Parish Church at 6pm on Sunday.
The Bishop of Plymouth will be attending coronation services and events across the city during the weekend.
Elsewhere, churches across Devon are going red, white and blue for the Coronation.
The Rev Paul Kingdom, vicar of St Mary’s Silverton, said there would be a Coronation vigil at the church on Friday evening (tonight), plus commemoration services, bellringing and community lunches in all the local villages.
St Bartholomew’s, Cadleigh, even has a replica of King Charles, on the roof of the belltower.
Rev Kingdom said: “The Coronation give us a once in a generation opportunity to recognise, give thanks and celebrate, as a nation, our Christian heritage and monarchy and the blessings God has given us through them.
“Having the ‘Servant King’ as our guide can be an inspiration to all as we seek to build a fairer, more tolerant and inclusive community in the rich diversity of modern Britain – whether king or people under God’s mercy and love.”
At All Hallows Church, Woolfardisworthy, there will be a King’s Coronation Outdoor Trail for young people to follow. People are also being invited to come and help decorate the church from 2pm on Friday.
St Michael’s Church, Chagford, is already festooned with a canopy of red, white and blue.
Lucy Shields from the church, said: “Flowers, pompoms, rosettes and much more have been made by people across the community – from those in their 70s and 80s who remember the last Coronation, to those who will remember this Coronation when they are in their 70s and 80s.”
St Mary’s Church in Holne is screening the King’s Coronation service live after a new screen and sound system was installed in the church last year. During the screening celebration drinks will be served, afterwards there will be a bring-and-share community lunch.
Churchwarden Gillian Parker said: “The Coronation itself is a significant Christian rite, which makes St Mary's the ideal venue for the community to watch the service and participate in the oath of allegiance to the King.
"As God's people we want to be visible in the community, but also to bring others inside the church. The message is that the Parish Church is a special and sacred place, but it belongs to everyone both as a community space and somewhere to encounter God."
St Gregory’s in Seaton is one of a number of churches hosting a flower festival.
The vicar, the Rev Justin Montague, said: “We wanted to create artistic arrangements that imaginatively connect the themes of the Kings coronation, bringing together faith, nature, community and service in floral displays.
“The coronation ceremony is rooted in longstanding tradition, not unlike our church which has stood at the centre of community life for centuries. The whole community is not only invited to enjoy the displays but have actively participated in their creation.”
On Bank Holiday Monday, St John’s Church in Totnes is inviting children to come and make crowns, as well as serving cream teas.
You can find out about all the Coronation church services happening across Devon here: https://www.achurchnearyou.com/ .