Meet the team
Totnes Team Rector
Canon Deborah Parsons
Team Vicar and Canon Chancellor, Exeter Cathedral
Totnes Team Rector
The Reverend James Barlow has been appointed Team Rector in the Totnes Mission Community in the Diocese of Exeter.
As an undergraduate, Jim read theology at Exeter University; he stayed at Exeter for postgraduate research in Christian mysticism before moving to the University of Oxford to take up a junior research fellowship in the same subject. He then went to work for the Oxford Unemployed Workers and Claimants Union, supporting development and outreach initiatives among socially and economically disadvantaged communities in Oxford, writing a number of successful bids for community development funding. Later he worked as a freelance consultant in community education and development and then as a project manager for Oxfordshire County Council, overseeing an innovative community education project across areas of multiple deprivation in Oxford. He prepared for ordination at Ripon College, Cuddesdon and served his curacy in West Slough before moving to Bracknell in 2015.
Jim has close family ties to the South Hams and has known and loved Totnes and its surrounding parishes as a visitor for many years. He is married to Harriet, a senior clinical psychologist working in the NHS.
Rev. Preb. Deborah Parsons
Team Vicar, Rural Dean and Diocesan Interfaith Adviser
Deborah was a pioneer at Rossall School, founded to educate sons of clergymen, Deborah was one of eleven girls admitted at the age of eleven.
After reading English at university, Deborah taught English at Epsom College for twenty years and pioneered co-education there at 13+, later becoming Senior Housemistress.
Following a calling to ordained ministry, she trained at Salisbury, serving her curacy in Goodrington before being appointed as Team Vicar of Totnes.
Deborah is a people person and loves enabling others to have a formative encounter with God, particularly through creative and alternative worship.
Martin has been a Christian all his life and like a lot of other people he freely admits that it has its moments. He says that at this time he is thoroughly enjoying his life of serving God and the church as churchwarden here in Totnes.
Martin’s duties include being Vice-Chairman of the PCC, Chairman of the Fabric Committee and together with the Rector and other churchwardens, looking after the Church itself as a building.
Julian is a former member of St Mary’s Church choir and is now a Churchwarden. He also edits the Parish Magazine, looks after the Church boiler, organises the Church locking up rota, serves on the Fabric committee and is Treasurer of the Friends of St Mary’s.
Associate Priest in the Totnes Team Ministry.
Liz has been a Reader since around the start of the millennium, having trained in Chelmsford Diocese.
Liz's work in the Totnes Team includes taking Services of the Word and Communion by Extension to all our churches and handling the wedding and funeral fees for the Totnes Team Ministry. She also coordinates Totnes Street Pastors and is the team link with Totnes Connection Hub and Food Bank.
Although born in Birmingham, Tony regards himself as a “local”, having moved to South Devon with his parents when he was 10 years old. He attended the old Totnes Grammar School for boys in the Fifties and began his career as a Primary School teacher in Worle, just outside Weston-super-Mare. Returning to Devon as soon as possible he taught in schools in Brixham and Kingsteignton and was appointed head teacher of Chudleigh Primary School in 1976. In 1984 the circle was completed when he became Head of The Grove Primary School in Totnes, retiring in 2000.
As head of the local school, Tony had the very good fortune to get to know the children and parents of the local community very well and become involved in many local activities. He has been both a governor at Bidwell Brook school and a Foundation Governor at Dartington Primary school and continues to have very close associations with many primary schools in the area.
Tony is passionate about music, choral music in particular, and has sung with many local societies. However, his taste in music is wide ranging and has “trodden the boards” in many musicals, including some in Totnes. At present he sings with the South Devon Choir and is a member of the church choir at St. Mary’s Totnes.
In 2013 he received his licence as a Lay Reader in Exeter Cathedral and it is his great joy and privilege to serve the people in the Totnes Mission Community.