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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 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



April 5

April 12

April 19

April 26

Click to open the April edition of the Church News magazine
Click to open the April edition of the Church of England Devon magazine

This month's leter has been written by Rev Samantha Stayte from the Lyn Valley Mission Community, who has kindly given permission for it to be use.

From the Rectory  

I left writing this month’s letter as late as possible. Even so, I know I am writing at least a fortnight before you read these words, perhaps more, and at the moment it is hard to anticipate fully what we will be experiencing as we celebrate the wonderful mystery of the Easter feast in the middle of April. 

This Lent has certainly brought its own challenges, beyond traditional abstinence. The Covid 19 virus has required people across the world to change their habits, causing distress, disruption and anxiety about the future. The first sign of this in our church life was a decision not to share the common cup at communion, and to stop shaking hands when we shared God’s peace. At first this was a difficult decision - it seemed like taking away physical expressions of the unity we celebrate with God and each other as we come together in worship. In this new situation though, the absence of physical expression can communicate an even deeper sense of love and concern for one another – this “not doing something” is an expression of self-giving love, the love that desires health and wholeness for all those around us. In our worship we express this in symbolic ways: across the world this is being expressed by those who self-isolate to protect their neighbours, medics giving up holidays to be available, and volunteers who give their time to support those unable to come out.

Self-giving love takes us right into the heart of the Easter mystery. Christians believe that Jesus’ death was his ultimate act of self-giving love, absorbing on our behalf all that denies life and love. His disciples experienced his death as the end of his physical presence with them, the apparent end of God’s presence amongst them in human form. By the third day they had hidden away in fear of the hostility of those around them in the city, locking themselves in an upper room. 

Into the midst of the confusion, isolation, distress and fear the risen Jesus comes to them, telling them not to be afraid, and offering them his peace and inspiring them to bring his love to the world, just as he has revealed God’s love. In the coming days he will teach them that he will always be with them in a way deeper than his immediate physical presence. Forty days later he will ascend to heaven, promising to be with them always and they will discover a new resilience, and new confidence, a new joy beyond imagining, as they receive his Spirit, his Spirit of Love.

Whatever we may be experiencing this Easter-tide in the world around, I pray that the words of Jesus in the upper room: “Do not be afraid, it is I”; “My peace I give you”, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you”; may reassure us of the eternal victory of the love Easter offers us through all things and inspire in us a love we want to share in every way we can in the days to come. 

May the blessing of peace be yours this Easter,                                                 






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:   Terry Squire Tel: 01598 710526  
Challacombe:   Carole Huxtable Tel: 01598 763217 
East Down with Arlington:   Linda Watt Tel: 01271 882376   
Kentisbury:   Margaret Purchase Tel: 01598 763207  
Loxhore:   Mike Matthews Tel: 01271 850550 
Shirwell:   Averil Richardson Tel: 01271 850537
Stoke Rivers:  Rev Rosie Austin  Tel: 01598 711962



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