First female rector to take charge in Fakenham

Revd Tracy Jessop will take up the post at Fakenham parish church in a few months

The Rev Tracy Jessop will take up the post at Fakenham parish church in a few months. - Credit: Keith Osborn

A former Norfolk council officer is making history as she becomes the first female rector at a market town's church.

The Rev Tracy Jessop will take up the post at Fakenham parish church in a few months, taking over from rector Francis Mason who left the role last July. She will also take up the position at Christ Church, Fulmodeston.

The Rev Jessop said: “I am humbled and thrilled to be given the opportunity to serve as rector of Fakenham and priest in charge of Fulmodeston.

Fakenham Parish Church, or the Church of St Peter and St Paul PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

Fakenham Parish Church, or the Church of St Peter and St Paul PICTURE: Matthew Farmer - Credit: Matthew Farmer

“This is an exciting opportunity to serve in a popular market town that supports a thriving community as well as enjoy a rural church that is the heart and hub of the village.

"I look forward to working together with the church leaders and congregations in mission and ministry in these parishes.”

Born in London, the Rev Jessop had a career of almost 30 years in local government, first in London and Essex, and then in Norfolk from 2002.

She trained part-time for ministry with The Eastern Region Ministry Course whilst continuing to work in a senior leadership role for Norfolk County Council - as the assistant director for communities and environmental services from 2011 to 2018.

One of the spires on St Peter and St Paul Fakenham Parish Church has blown off during Storm Ciara. P

One of the spires on St Peter and St Paul Fakenham Parish Church. - Credit: Archant

She was ordained in 2019 and served in curacy posts across Wroxham, Hoveton, Tunstead and Belaugh before joining the Aylsham and District Team in September 2020.

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Since last summer, she has cared for the Bure Valley churches of Buxton, Lammas, Marsham, Brampton, Burgh and Oxnead.

A statement from the churchwardens at Fakenham parish church, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Rev Tracy Jessop to be our new incumbent, ministering to the parishes of Fakenham and Fulmodeston.

“She makes history by being our first female rector. She will find our churches in good heart, with hardworking and supportive members.

"We are confident she will take us from strength to strength as we seek to do God’s work in the town and our parishes.”

The Rev Jessop will be instituted and installed at Fakenham Parish Church by The Rt Rev Dr Jane Steen, Bishop of Lynn later in the summer, on a date to be arranged.