THE Rev Claire Rose-Casemore has been licensed as the new Priest in Charge at St Mary’s Parish Church in Bideford.

She will be working as a Community Priest in the five parish Mission Community of Bideford, Landcross, Littleham, Monkleigh and Weare Giffard alongside the Rev Penny Dobbin.

Claire grew up in Surrey and trained for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at Exeter University after a degree in RE/English at St Mary’s College, Cheltenham.

After teaching RE and English for six years in two secondary schools in Derbyshire, she was a mission partner with the Church Missionary Society and taught for two years in Uganda, followed by two years at St George’s Crypt, working with the homeless in Leeds.

She then went on to work as a support and recruitment officer for an ecumenical missionary organisation in Berkshire, before training for Ordination at Ridley Theological College in Cambridge, being ordained in 1997.

Claire served as a curate in Northampton and for the past nine years has worked as a Team Vicar in a rural and town situation in Northamptonshire, working in a team of seven parishes and in Daventry town.

She said: “I felt drawn to Bideford because, from what I can see, St Mary’s is a lively and inclusive church and there is a lot going on - with music makers, the Friday diner, its work in schools, with the homeless and varied worship. The people I have met are all very friendly and welcoming and are committed to prayer and action. I’m looking forward to being part of the church and working with the church family to encourage and support that which is working well and seeing what God is calling us to do together. My aim is that we as a church and community will come to know God and His love for us all in a clearer and deeper way.

“I don’t know North Devon so well, although we had family holidays in Ilfracombe and Woolacombe. I think Bideford is a beautiful place with plenty of variety - a great town, a great mix of people and I can’t quite get used to the sea being only 10 minutes up the road! I know, too, there are plenty of challenges that folk face in Bideford and for some life is not easy. I hope that the church will always be relevant, inclusive and prayerfully helpful.”