Barnstaple welcomes new vicar

Bishop installs new town centre community priest at licensing service last night

BARNSTAPLE has officially welcomed a new vicar to the Parish Church of St Peter and St Mary Magdalene.

The Reverend Father David Fletcher was installed as the community priest for the church last night by the Right Reverend John Ford, Bishop of Plymouth. He was also licensed to serve as town centre chaplain for the Mission Community.

Mr Fletcher, 55, and wife Joy, have moved to Barnstaple from Tiverton, where he was vicar of St Andrew’s Church.

The new vicar, whose hobbies include walking on Exmoor, DIY, skiing and travel, was inspired to take up priesthood by his late father, who was a clergyman serving in Scotland, Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire.

Before Mr Fletcher’s ordination at Wells Cathedral in 1987, he spent a short time serving in the Forces before working for a number of years as an hydraulic engineer. He trained for the ministry at Chichester Theological College and has since served in Taunton, Chard and for the last 16 years, in Tiverton.

The couple have two children. Marc, 29, is finishing a PhD in African studies at Edinburgh University, while Jennifer, 19 has just completed her first year at Southampton University studying sociology.

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Wife Joy is a keen musician and has sung with the Somerset Chamber Choir since its formation. She has spent a number of years working in the financial sector, and until the move, worked for the local authority in Tiverton.

In the church’s August newsletter, Mr Fletcher described a memorable, yet exhausting few weeks completing the move to North Devon.

He added: “We have had a very strong sense of calling to Barnstaple and with your help and the grace of God, together we will serve this community with love and faith.”

Mr Fletcher succeeds the Reverend John Gilbert, who left St Peter’s in November to join the Roman Catholic church.

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