IT was a family affair, and one with several messages, when the Chairman of Mid Devon District Council held his Annual Civic Church Service at Crediton Parish Church on Sunday, October 8.

Councillor Frank Letch MBE welcomed Civic guests from across the county to the service which was conducted by the Rev Preb Matthew Tregenza and the Rt Rev Jackie Searle, Bishop of Crediton and Acting Bishop of Exeter.

Readings were by Cllr Letch’s granddaughter, Erin and by Cllr Letch and his grandson, Okan.

Jane Williams, Director of The Turning Tides Project, which aims to make equal access to music, the arts and life a reality for people with “learning disability” or “autism” labels, presented a powerful speech.

Jane appealed to those present, which included many councillors and dignitaries, for equal access to be a reality for all.

She spoke of the work that The Turning Tides Project does, and of its aims, and suggested ways in which people could contribute or help.

She asked those present to “Be the change you’d like to see in the world”.

The Turning Tides Project Band then performed “Turn on the Lights”, which was well received.

Rev Preb Tregenza described The Turning Tides Project as “a jewel in the crown of Crediton”.

Cllr Letch said he chose “We Plough the Fields and Scatter” as one of the hymns because 94 per cent of Mid Devon was rural agricultural land.

In her address, Bishop Jackie told the parable of the Good Samaritan and also spoke about the compassion the person received from the Good Samaritan.

There was reference to the current situation between Hamas and Israel.

She also led the Councillors affirmation of commitment to work for our communities.  All councillors present were asked to stand to confirm their commitment.

The Church Choir played for the service and the bells were rung before the service.

The collection was for The Turning Tides Project.

The Blessing was given by Bishop Jackie and the service concluded with the National Anthem.

Afternoon tea followed in the Boniface Centre afterwards.

Among those present was Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Devon Erik Salomonsen and Mrs Frances Salomonsen, Mayor’s from District, Borough’s and Authorities across the County along with The Mayor of Crediton, Cllr Mrs Liz Brookes-Hocking.

The Chairman of Devon County Council, Cllr Percy Prowse, and the Leader of Devon County Council, Cllr John Hart attended.

The Lord Mayor of Exeter and his consort were accompanied by visitors from The City of Laurens, South Carolina, Mayor Nathan Senn and his consort.

Cllr Letch made a presentation to Sarah Lees, Member Services Officer and PA to the Chairman of the Council, for her hard work in organising the church service.