Our Ministry Team

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Circuit Superintendent

Rob Blackhall

Rob became Superintendent for the Bude and Holsworthy Methodist Circuit in 2018. He also serves as a superintendent for the Torridge circuit and is involved in all aspects of ministry work.

 

Having earned a degree in physics from Exeter University I took up study and training for the ministry. I first served in the U.S. as associate minister with Kessler Park United Methodist Church and as School Chaplain at Queens College in Taunton and as Circuit Minister for Exeter.

 

I believe that worship and fellowship should be matched with social conscience when serving God in the world. The Methodist Church has a unique role in bringing people together and our values and work have never ceased to be relevant in the history of Methodism.

 

I am fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the world and be able to enjoy taking my two dogs for walks in the countryside and on the coast. I have an obsessive interest in my football team, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and enjoy most sports, especially cricket.

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Deacon of Bude Methodist Church

Debbie Marsh

Debbie (known as Deacon Deb) was ordained in 2013 in Southwark Cathedral after two years as probationer Deacon in the Barnsley Circuit. She trained at the Urban Theology Union in Sheffield and the Queens Foundation Birmingham. Debbie serves as Area Secretary for the Plymouth and Exeter and Cornwall districts' Diaconal Order. She also serves as Chaplain to the British Legion in Bude and Stratton. 

 

I am passionate about serving people on the margins of society and making the Church a place where all are welcome.

 

In my previous appointment in Barnsley I served five churches in a rural district of ex-mining villages which have suffered due to pit closures. In my career I have gained first hand experience working in communities with high levels of deprivation and a breakdown of social order.

 

In every aspect of my role I aspire to reach out to those who are struggling in their lives and help them to become aware of God's love for them. I believe in the narrative gospel that teaches us to find God in the ordinary and in other people’s stories.

 

I feel a love and desire to preach the good news to all; not only from the pulpit but from the pavement as well. I strive to share the news not only through words but, more importantly, through action. As John Wesley stated “There is no holiness but social holiness”

 

My hobbies are sewing and any craftwork. I'm a DIY fanatic and love anything to do with a drill or hammer (I have pink tools!). I also enjoy being by the ocean and walking our two Jack Russells.

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Presbyter

Neal Street

Neal entered his 14th year as presbyter in the Bude and Holsworthy circuit in September 2019. He undertakes pastoral duties for 18 churches in the local towns and villages, working closely with the ministry’s lay team.

 

I hope to lead worship that is authentic, honest and earthed. I love to tell stories and draw inspiration from The Jesus Gospel which is full of simple illustrations and parables that points to the amazing and profound truth that we have a God who loves us, who cares for us and stands alongside us. In Jesus, God reveals what it’s like to be a human being striving for holiness in a troubled world. He makes an amazing success of it and invites us to emulate him by committing to being his disciples. I currently serve in a pastoral capacity for all 18 churches in our circuit. This may sound like a lot! However, we have a gifted and focused lay team who work alongside the churches to chair business meetings and provide pastoral support in various ways. Together we strive to work ecumenically wherever we can.

 

Working well as a team is crucial to performing effectively as a ministry. So let us pray for all Methodist ministers who work together to bring about God’s Kingdom.

 

The United Methodist Church is currently questioning its role in society and asking if it's necessary to maintain a physical presence within in every community. Similarly, in our circuit we continually assess the best ways to carry out our mission. Should certain work by carried out from the actual church building? Or could we have more impact in other ways? The answer is not obvious and depends on the situation and goal.

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Pastoral Lay Worker

Michelle Hogarth

Michelle joined the ministry in 2018 and works in a supportive capacity with all churches in the circuit.

 

Having been a homemaker and raised three children with my husband full-time, I was delighted to be offered the role and I have embraced the new challenges and opportunities that comes with serving as Pastoral Lay Worker. Previously I was Community Care Supervisor in Bude.

 

I have served in local church ministries over the years as a Sunday School teacher, leading bible study groups, church stewarding and organising local events and conferences. Being part of the Church inspires me to come alongside people wherever they are in their lives and to listen and support them. For me, being a Christian is about how I conduct my relationships and live out my faith in practical ways.

 

I enjoy my role and getting to know lots of new people. It is lovely to be welcomed in as part of the church family and have the opportunity to start some new ventures alongside them, including prayer meetings, a friendship group, Messy Church and bible studies.

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Circuit Administrator

Tim Stokes

Tim Stokes joined the ministry in January 2010 and undertakes administrative duties for the circuit. His role has increasingly encompassed pioneer work, reaching out to those most in need and marginalised in the community. 

A large part of my role is facilitating community engagement and partnering with various groups to help improve people's lives. This has been a key focus in my work and life for the past six years. It still feels like early days. But everyday is a new opportunity to follow Jesus with passion, which always excites the socks off me.

I love Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting change”. This sums up my outlook on life which is to find solutions to problems and do more of the things that actually work. 

 

In 2017 I was part of the Arthur Rank Germinate programme: Entrepreneurial Leadership in the Rural Context. This project was about trying to better understand the history and new challenges in the countryside.

 

As our circuit comes to terms with the realities of a changing church environment it helped me in recognising and understanding the bigger picture and the challenges we are all going to face in the future.


I enjoy wearing shorts and the warmth of the sun, watching rugby and the occasional real ale. You can usually find me around Holsworthy at the Youth Centre or the Men’s Shed. Please feel free to get in touch.

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Rural Support Worker

Andy Jerrard

Andy serves as Rural Support Worker within the farming community. He is also Market Chaplaincy Coordinator and attends Holsworthy Market every Wednesday where he carries out pastoral duties.

 

I was born in Bristol and raised in Devon. I also lived abroad for five years (in Cornwall!) and currently live with my wife near Crediton. Having lived in the circuit area for many years I have a good knowledge of local farming issues and communities from Black Torrington, to Bideford and Bude.

 

I am an experienced agricultural worker and have previously worked for the Environment Agency. I began carrying out rural lay work during the BSE epidemic when many small, family run dairy farms were seriously affected. My role was created by a need to help those families who were plunged into hardship and isolation. I have since sought to widen the chaplaincy role and extend support to the cattle markets and farm sales.

 

I see the core purpose of my role as delivering the Church’s message of love and compassion that Jesus had for all. Admittedly my role as Rural Support Worker can be difficult to define: at times I'm called upon to support forestry and conservation workers, at other times in the farming community.

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Pastoral Lay Worker and Administrator

Mary Street

Mary has worked as a pastoral visitor, and a circuit administrator, since her arrival in the circuit in 2006. The emphasis of her work is now in visiting the elderly, the housebound, and the sick.

 

I am primarily a listener. I seek to get alongside people in their own homes, and in their own circumstances. I feel I provide a quiet and confidential place for people to express themselves. I regularly visit at all the local nursing homes, and in the hospitals.

 

In my capacity as an administrator, I create and deal with the quarterly Preaching Plan, and offer support to my husband Neal.

 

I am also a church organist, a keen walker (preferably by myself and with my camera), and I'm an avid reader.

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