Hi there!. My name is Rev Robert Hurley I am the Superintendent Minister of the Ilfracombe and Barnstaple Methodist Circuit and have been the minister here at Emmanuel, Ilfracombe since September 2015.

I arrived in the Circuit back in 2012 having spent the previous 5 years as a minister in the Saltash Circuit in Cornwall. There I had 5 churches to look after – one town church and 4 small rural Chapels. It was nice to continue with my love of rural ministry when I was stationed to this Circuit with 5 churches to look after. Because of various changes that has now grown to 7 – along with Emmanuel Ilfracombe, I have responsibility for Bishops Tawton, Newport, Fremington, Ebberly Lodge, High Bickington and Goodleigh (Methodist/Anglican LEP). Working with my two colleagues, Rev Robert Manning at Braunton and Rev Don Macalister in Barnstaple, we have altogether 15 churches of various shapes and sizes. We are quite a mixed bunch in this part of North Devon!!

Before joining the Methodist ministry, I worked as a consultant gas engineer for some 23 years. I started off working for West Midlands Gas Board when it was still a publicly owned utility and went through various changes due to privatisation until ending my gas career working for an independent consultant group in Birmingham managing the design, construction and maintenance of major gas projects, pipelines and installations across the UK.

Having been born and brought up in the Methodist Church (my earliest memory is sitting on the Sunday School platform at the age of about three!!), I spent my early life attending Sunday School, Youth Groups and finally training to become a Local Preacher and was accredited in 1983. Growing up in the heart of the Black Country was good grounding for a Methodist as the church there was strong and very varied. I was a ‘primitive’ Methodist coming as I did, from a Primitive Methodist Church in the Blackheath Circuit. Little was I to know that those early years were to stand me in good stead later on in my ministry.

The call to the ministry was never far away and after completing my training at The Queens Foundation in Birmingham in 2007, was sent as a Probationer presbyter to Saltash. My wife, Amanda, is a great support to my ministry and she is often seen around the churches helping out and just being there for folk herself. Together with our two dogs, Labrador retriever Jess and Goldie Wesley, we live in Barnstaple but with lots of travel getting around the churches of the Circuit.

It’s a great joy for me to be the minister at Emmanuel, Ilfracombe as I can see great potential for mission and outreach amongst the many groups in the area – the local community and those who we welcome into the town on holiday. It’s always a joy to meet people from all around the country who come to share with us whilst on holiday and we hope to send them away with the impression of a welcoming, vibrant and growing church.

We are mainly a church with an older congregation in age but far younger in outlook. You will always find a warm welcome and plenty of opportunities to share over a tea or coffee at our fortnightly Thursday morning coffee mornings. Our Wednesday evening summer concert programme provides a welcome opportunity for residents and visitors alike to listen to some local, national and international choirs and bands.

Our mission is to provide a church that opens its doors for all to come in and help them to find a truly warm welcome in the love of God.

So, if you’re in the area – a resident or just visiting - then why not drop in and see us. We would love to meet you.

Every blessing,

Robert.

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