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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

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 six 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


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Click to open the April edition of the Church of England Devon magazine
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Aug 20.pdf
Click to open the August edition of the Church News magazine
Click to open the September edition of the Church News magazine

 Rector’s Ramblings - September 2020

Almighty God, you search us and know us: may we rely on you in strength and rest on you in weakness, now and in all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Our collect for the first Sunday of September recalls the words of Psalm 139. “Almighty God, you search us and know us...” To be known, fully, and yet to be loved, fully, is the rock which holds us firm in uncertain times. It’s a Psalm which is well worth returning to time and again, to remind us of God’s hand which both guides our paths and holds us fast. 

This Psalm has so much meaning for me as part of my own journey. It was the Psalm I most clearly remember reading at my mother’s bedside as she died, nearly fifteen years ago. Somehow with her tucked into bed, those words about God hemming us in behind and before were particularly moving. 

At her memorial service, I spoke a few words about that Psalm, to then find myself prompted by a vicar friend to consider my role in the church. God’s hand, as the Psalm itself said, continued to guide me even as I settled on the far side of the Taw during my curacy! God’s hand guides each of us daily to be open to where he might be leading us. 

The collect goes on to remind us to rely on God in strength, and to rest on Him in weakness. How many times when we feel all is going well, and we feel confident to face the day ahead, do we forget to commit the day to God and think that instead we can rely on our own strength? And how many times on those more difficult days, in our weakness, do we forget to rest in Him? There are some days when God is urging us ahead in His strength – and some days when all he asks of us is to be with him. As we awake to know he is nearby.

Some people might be feeling strong and full of confidence as time has moved on through this pandemic. That we have got over the peak, tourists are returning home, and that soon we’ll be back to normal. Some people are still very anxious, despairing that we’ll ever return to anything that looks normal. For some of us, these feelings change day by day, minute by minute! In both strength and weakness, in faith and in doubt... let’s put our hand in God’s.






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 are:

Bratton Fleming with Stoke Rivers:   Terry Squire Tel: 01598 710526  
Challacombe:   Carole Huxtable Tel: 01598 751310
East Down with Arlington:   Linda Watt Tel: 01271 882376
Kentisbury: Rev Rosie Austin    Tel: 01598 711962   
Loxhore:   Mike Matthews Tel: 01271 850550 
Shirwell:   Averil Richardson Tel: 01271 850537



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


The following organisations offer helplines: 
 NSPCC: 0808 800 5000 • Childline: 0800 1111 • Stop It Now: 0808 1000 900 • NAPAC: 0808 801 0331 • Samaritans: 116 123 • Family Lives: 0808 800 2222 • National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247 • Action On Elder Abuse: 080 8808 8141