Image description


A Mission Community in the Diocese of Exeter


The Shirwell Mission Community comprises eight Churches in seven rural parishes in North Devon:

Bratton Fleming;  Challacombe;  East Down & Arlington; Kentisbury;  Loxhore;  Shirwell and Stoke Rivers.  

The Mission Community

Services during April  2019

The Mission Community lies within the Shirwell Deanery and covers an area of just under 50 square miles with a population of approximately 2600.


The parishes extend north east of Barnstaple to the Exmoor National Park and the Somerset border.


The Rector is Revd Rosie Austin, who lookes after the seven parishes. She is assisted by a curate Revd Martyn Tyrrell, two retired clergymen, Rev Chris Tull from Challacombe and Rev Mike Miller from South Molton. 


Rosie lives in Bratton Fleming, the largest of the parishes and placed centrally within the Mission Community.


Martyn lives in Shirwell, the second largest parish.


All enquiries for weddings, funerals and baptisms should be made to Rev Rosie Austin:

Telephone 01598 711962


Image description
Image description

The Rector's Ramblings - April 2019


Why is Easter special? It’s a lovely time of year. Flowers in the hedgerows, young lambs playing together in the fields, the sun beginning to show itself after a long winter...

I love Easter – but ‘why is Easter special?’ is perhaps not the right question to ask. The one to really make me think is, ‘What difference does Easter make?’. Why is it, or why should it be, at the heart of our faith?

I write this piece on a day when we hear of shootings in Utrecht, while the memories of a terrorist shooting of Muslims at prayer in New Zealand are still raw. Hate leads to hate, each ‘side’ shouting ever louder, the media colluding to sell their papers and their narratives. Alongside this we worry about our climate and pollution, a dead whale found with tons of plastic in its stomach. We have chaos in our Parliament (will this be any different by the time this piece is published?) and our politics feels tribal, point-scoring, lacking compassion for the most vulnerable. The world feels a mess. We are divided, we are hurting. What difference does Easter make?

On Palm Sunday at Arlington we act out the Holy Week readings. Jesus walks with his disciples into Jerusalem, he gets cheered and then betrayed, arrested and tried and led away to be crucified. The traditional passion readings for Palm Sunday leave the two Mary’s at the tomb where Jesus’ body is placed. The world feels a mess. Hate leads to hate. The cross a horrendous cruelty. 

But at Arlington we want to tell the whole story, to include the resurrection, knowing that some who come here do not come to church on Easter Sunday, and they would otherwise miss the main event. We ask, what difference without Easter? 

The fact that Jesus rose again from the dead, that he lives, that he is with us for evermore – is what turns everything on its head, both for the earliest disciples and for us today. It tells the radical truth that death is not the end, that hate does not win - and that life and love is eternal. 

It’s a hard one to swallow, I know, and some days it feels like love is on the losing side. But without the resurrection we are left with Jesus the good man who was a great example to follow. Jesus came to showus life loved in its fullness, and to bringus life in its fullness. That is not about flowers in the hedgerow or lambs playing – we know that life brings so much more than that and there is often suffering along the way. But Easter brings an end to hate and tells us that forgiveness and reconciliation is possible. It tells us that God lives – and he loves us unconditionally and eternally. 

But this is yourquestion to answer. What difference does Easter make to you?





If you have a concern about the safety of someone or the actions of someone working with children or vulnerable adults, please speak to someone:

·         The names and contact details of the Parish Safeguarding Representatives can be found on the 

   Contacts page

·         The link to the Diocesan Safeguarding Team’s contact details -

If you are a young person and you feel unhappy about something happening to you, 

you can call Childline on 0800 11 11.