Vicar heads west to new parish

AFTER serving the community on the Felixstowe peninsula for more than a decade, one of the area's best-known clergymen is moving to pastures new.Vicar of Walton and leader of the Orwell Team Ministry, Rev Rod Corke is leaving to take up the post of minister at the largest parish church in Somerset.

AFTER serving the community on the Felixstowe peninsula for more than a decade, one of the area's best-known clergymen is moving to pastures new.

Vicar of Walton and leader of the Orwell Team Ministry, Rev Rod Corke is leaving to take up the post of minister at the largest parish church in Somerset.

He will leave in July next year to become vicar of Taunton's 14th century St Mary Magdalene Church, described as having the finest tower in England.

It is the area's main civic church, and has a coffee shop and bookshop, adult choir and junior choristers, and is a lively centre of outreach into the community.

Mr Corke, who has been at St Mary's, Walton, for the past nine years and was curate at Trimley before that, said he felt it was time to move on and explore new challenges.

During his ministry at Walton, the size of the congregation has doubled and he helped formed and has led the newly-formed team ministry – the churches of Walton, Trimley and Cavendish Community Church working together – establishing its work.

Most Read

"I have really enjoyed my time in the Felixstowe area and it was a very hard decision to move and I spent a lot of time in prayer over it," he said.

"We will leave behind lots of wonderful friends and many good memories, but also a church in good shape and ready to move forward again under a new minister and I believe the church here will continue to be strong and grow.

"The move to Taunton is a wonderful opportunity and an exciting challenge. I think everyone needs to move on at some point and this is the right time for us as a family to do so."

Mr Corke and his wife Rita have twin daughters, Hilary and Laura, 20, who are studying nursing and teaching at university, while their son Simon, 11, has not yet embarked on examination courses.

The family has decided not to move until next summer in order to support the church's curate as he becomes a priest.

During his time in the area Mr Corke has taken part in many fundraising events, including hiring himself out as a servant, swimming in the sea at New Year, sleeping rough, and holding a 24-hour carol marathon.

He also sparked the idea of a memorial to the victims of the tragic 1953 floods, and conducted the memorial service for murdered teenager Vicky Hall and the funeral of little Benjamin Davey, who was killed by a falling tree.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter