The sun shone on our day of spring-cleaning Belstone Church and the graveyard. We had a fabulous turnout of 18 people to help clean the windows, polish the brass and pews. With all the help clearing the outside, Michael Ash managed to cut up the disused boiler, Dick Norrish raised the crown of the holy tree and unearthed an unusual shaped gravestone and many hands manned a bonfire, cleared and bagged the rubbish found. (Apologies to everyone in the vicinity for the smoke!) Many thanks to all who gave up their time to help. There was a great atmosphere, and hopefully we will be able to do it more regularly to keep on top of this ancient place.

The afternoon Service on June 3rd brought many people, in their finery, to celebrate the christening of Eli Symes. The Church was full of children who were integrated into the Service by Stephen. Just before the actual baptism, Eli made an attempted escape by a dash to the door! He was reluctantly brought back, to lots of laughter. It was a lovely, joyous occasion.

This year in place of our normal Fathers’ and Other Animals service, Stephen Cook and Adrian Brook decided to stage a Folk Service in our church. This incorporated Dartmoor folk songs which were performed by local musicians, directed and coached by the vivacious and bubbly Rosa Rebecka who has the voice of an angel and the enthusiasm and energy of a springer spaniel puppy. After two rehearsals the scratch choir with the accompanying band produced a wonderful lead for the diverse congregation. Rosa even divided the church in two for the Gloria and got the whole congregation singing the first line of each verse in a round which amazingly worked and was most affective. The service began with a traditional hymn, but with a Rosa arrangement, O God of Earth and Altar. Thereafter we went down the folky route with, The Greatest Gift, Come all ye Vagabonds, The Greatest Invitation and the choir sang, Sing John Ball as an anthem. The theme was faith, hope and love and as we made our way into the Tors afterwards for refreshments, there was a real sense of uplifted joy.

The “Other Animals” service will take place at our Patronal Festival on Sunday 12th August when we plan to meet outside the Old School Tearoom at 3.30 pm and go for a walk on the moor, followed by tea at Marion’s. There will be a short service outside, weather permitting, afterwards. All are welcome and bring your pets.