THE Bishop of Exeter called for more compassion and less intolerance at Exeter Cathedral’s annual Maundy Thursday Chrism Service.

Clergy and lay ministers from across Devon gathered for the service on Thursday, April 6, where it is traditional for them to reaffirm their ordination vows.

  At the service they also collect vials of consecrated oil (known as chrism oil) to take back to their own churches to use for anointing and blessing people. 

Bishop Robert began the service by thanking the clergy and lay ministers for all they do throughout the year.

In his sermon he spoke about the Last Supper and said: “In his washing of the Disciples feet, Jesus replaced the politics of religious purity with the politics of compassion.”

The bishop drew a parallel with modern intolerance for those we disagree with, saying “Practically anything is permitted in Britain today but practically nothing is forgiven. Social media forgets nothing.”

He said: “We are busy… distancing ourselves from those we are different from and think differently to.” He said instead it was important to remember that “compassion softens the human heart and is the work of grace.”

The Chrism service marks the start of Easter weekend and elsewhere in Devon churches have been busy preparing.

At All Hallows Church, Woolsery, in North Devon, people are being invited to reflect on the Easter story in an hour, with children’s activities, hot cross buns and an Easter Egg hunt.

At St Andrew’s Church in Cullompton, a Walk Through the Easter Story exhibition has been set-up in the church. 

There are installations representing Palm Sunday, Christ washing the feet of the Disciples, The Last Supper, the garden of Gethsemane, The Cross where Jesus was crucified and the tomb where he was buried. 

The Rev Marilyn Sanders, who organised it, said: “It is for those who believe in the preciousness of this time of year and those who are not at all familiar with it at all. 

“Our prayer is that all those who walk through the events of Easter will be blessed in some way."

At St Michael’s Church, Ilsington, pupils from Blackpool Primary School were invited to experience the Easter story using all their senses.

Letty Jones, who leads the church’s Upbeat music outreach project, said: “Pupils took part in a Palm Sunday procession, ate the Last Supper, prayed and pretended to fall asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane and turned-into an angry mob at Jesus’ trial.

“Church volunteers led the session using a script. We used simple props and the existing fabric of the building – for example, the pulpit was used for the trial.”

At St Aubyn’s Church in Devonport, Plymouth, 41 children and 30 adults took part in an Easter Feast of Fun, which started with a meal followed by games and craft activities. Feast of Fun is a Transforming Plymouth Together initiative to tackle holiday hunger.

Father Gary Deighton, from Goodrington and Collaton St Mary Mission Community, said “During Lent we have been following the journey of transformation from caterpillar to butterfly – the symbol of new life. 

“On Easter Sunday our churches will be filled with over 4,000 butterflies all made by our congregations.”

You can find details of Easter Church services across Devon here: .