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Transforming the communities of Essex & East London through Christ’s presence

Sandra Eldridge

Sandra Eldridge

Archdeaconry: West Ham
Parish: West Ham, St Matthew

I grew up in north London, and now live in east London. After a Mathematics Degree, my concern for global justice led me to spend a year teaching in Nigeria with Voluntary Service Overseas, leaving me with a lifelong love of Africa which I share with my husband, Dave, who I married in 1981.

After doing an MSc and several teaching and academic jobs, I spent 4 years at home with my three children when they were small. I then joined Queen Mary University of London in 1994 on a very part-time basis. I am now Professor of Biostatistics at Queen Mary and have held a number of leadership roles within and outside my institution.

I  have attended St Matthew’s, West Ham, since 1985 and have had various leadership roles including in lay-leadership teams, home groups, prayer ministry, and children’s work. I came to faith at 17 and this was, and has remained, integrally connected with a passion to see a fairer world.  Ordained ministry has been at the back of my mind for over 30 years, but it finally fell into place in 2013, when St Matthew’s found itself, somewhat unexpectedly, in yet another interregnum.


Cathy Hasler

Cathy Hasler

Archdeaconry: Southend
Parish: Grays Thurrock Team Ministry

I was born in the East End of London and grew up in Poplar until my Dad moved to work in Tilbury Docks. Mum, Dad my sister and brother moved to Tilbury and I travelled to London every day to finish my ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels and attended the London School of Music as a Saturday Scholar.

After school I went to Teacher training college then started teaching in Thurrock. I loved working with children with learning difficulties and after my initial qualifying year moved to the Peripatetic Support Service, teaching children and supporting teachers.

I met and married Clive in 1984 and have two children Matthew and Megan.  I taught for 40 years, all in Thurrock Schools.

I trained as a Reader because I knew that was what God wanted! However, He is gracious and waited for me to listen properly and I have trained at St Mellitus for a second time. I was a County Officer with St John Ambulance, working with the youngest members, the Badgers. When I have any spare time, I enjoy Cross-stich, reading and doing puzzles.


Anne Keeble

Anne Keeble

Archdeaconry: Harlow
Parish: St Stephen's. Tye Green, Harlow

I was born in Perth, Western Australia, the eldest of four siblings.

I became a Christian at the age of 14.   

I call the city of Kalgoorlie home. It is a gold mining city on the edge of the desert approximately 650 kilometres east of Perth.  I worked here in both nursing and teaching. 

Royal Perth Hospital and Edith Cowen University were my nursing and teacher training institutions.

In 1994 I came to the U.K to train as a Registered Nurse at St Georges Hospital and Kingston University.  I later trained as a District Nurse through Southbank University. 

I am married to Ken; together we have fostered adolescents with complex needs. We have two granddaughters, one of whom lives with us permanently.

I worship at St Stephens Harlow, where I have been involved with PCC, Youth and Schools work and Cafe Church. 

Reading, people watching, craftwork, visiting historical places of interest, photography are among my many interests, but I am fascinated by Biblical and Egyptian archaeology and enjoy the challenge of studying more about these things.


Obi Chike

Obi Chike

Archdeaconry: West Ham
Parish: St. Paul’s, East Ham

I was born in Bristol- the fourth of six children.  I have three brothers and two sisters.  My family moved back to Nigeria when I was young so I grew up in Lagos. 

Church has been a huge part of my life and I went to church schools in Nigeria. In my teens, I moved to Texas where I lived with my relatives and finished my O Levels. I returned to the UK in 1991 and over the years, I have obtained degrees in Biomedical Science, Nursing and Theology.

I was called to ministry at the same time that I met my husband (who was then a Church Army student) in 1999, we got married later that year, and we now have four children.

I live in Forest Gate with my husband Revd Dr Chigor Chike who is the Vicar of Emmanuel Church, Forest Gate. I worship at St. Matthew’s Church, Stratford. My Church roles include serving on the PCC, leading services, preaching, and an evangelist. I am also a prayer Minister and I visit the sick and participate in interfaith activities.

I worked for Bupa as a nurse, and did my theological training at St. Mellitus College. I am looking forward to my curacy in St. Paul’s Church, East Ham.

I enjoy listening to music, especially Christian music, going out for a walk, pioneering ideas, and going for yearly retreat.


Amy Stott

Amy Stott

Archdeaconry: West Ham
Parish: Victoria Docks, St Luke

I was born in Glasgow but brought up in Dundee. My dad is a Church of Scotland minister and church has always been part of my life.

After school I studied history and English Literature at Edinburgh University before moving to East London for a gap year and I’ve never left! For the past 7 years I have been the youth worker at St Luke’s Church in Canning Town alongside working for Newham Youth for Christ for the last 5 years.

Although my parents claim to have known for a long time that I’d end up in church leadership, God’s call of this proud Scot to the Church of England was a surprising development! I love youth work and seeing people come to know Jesus and grow in their relationship with him.

I’m a keen musician, love sport and enjoy spending time with friends and family. 


Thom Jee

Thom Jee

Archdeaconry: West Ham
Parish: All Saints Woodford Wells

After surviving growing up in a vicarage, I spent my gap year working as an evangelist for a church plant in Australia, before reading history at Oxford, where I spent most of my time playing sport and leading the CU. I  then taught in a secondary school in the midlands through the Teach First programme, and led the student ministry at St Paul’s Leamington.

I married Sarah in 2014, and we have just spent three happy years in Cambridge, while I completed the Theology Tripos and an MPhil. We now live in Woodford Green, where Sarah teaches reception in a local prep school.

On a day off, I can be found exploring Epping Forest, playing squash or tennis, or struggling to hit a golf ball in a straight line.


Abi Todd

Abi Todd

Archdeaconry: West Ham
Parish: All Saints Woodford Wells

I grew up in London, Leeds and Lancashire, and have been back in London all my adult life, following a gap year in Senegal. I grew up in a Christian home as the youngest of four siblings. I studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London then served as an intern at my church for a year after I graduated, leading the youth ministry, leading worship and getting involved with community outreach activities.

Prior to ordination I worked for a secular care, support and housing organisation managing a variety of services including for those with Learning Disabilities or Mental Health needs, but primarily services for young people (16-25) and young parents needing support and/or housing. It was during this time that I felt God calling me to ordained ministry and giving me more and more a love for his church. I have been on placement in the parish of All Saints' Woodford Wells and St Andrew for the past three years, and during that time I have been involved with Alpha, ministry to young adults, and co-ordinating small groups.

I am married to Simon and we enjoy walking and adventuring, together or with friends. 


Robert Otule

Robert Otule

Archdeaconry: West Ham
Parish: Stratford St John

I was born in Lewisham, South London, in 1966.  My mother and I soon returned to Uganda where I spent all of my upbringing. She immediately introduced me to the Church of Uganda and I later made a personal commitment to follow Christ at secondary school in Kampala.

In 1987 I returned to the UK and after working in various jobs from cleaning to a Special Constable in the City of London Police, I eventually got a job teaching English to foreign language speakers.

In 2006 I joined St John’s church in Stratford where I later trained to be a Reader and soon heard the call to go for ordination training in 2015.

My current role at St John’s is working with the young leaders group and various other Reader ministry duties such as preaching and teaching.

I am married to Florence and we have a three year old daughter.


Anne MacKenna

Anne MacKenna

Archdeaconry: West Ham
Parish: Leytonstone St Andrew

I grew up In Wanstead where I, my two sisters and brother attended Wanstead Church School.  Although my family was not religious, primary school was closely linked to Christ Church, and this link helped shape my Christian journey.  Over the years I have come and gone from the area, but for over two decades I have lived again in Wanstead and attend Christ Church.

By the time I went to university, my early faith was at a low ebb.  Nursing, midwifery and counselling work followed university, and then further study.  By my late twenties, my commitment to live a life dedicated to following Jesus had resurfaced and I was confirmed.  Two years in Zambia exposed me to the work of fundamentalist missionaries in the region, forcing me to examine more closely the tenets of my faith.  

Back in England I trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and did a doctorate.  I became a mother to Ellie, who is now at university.  And I got married to Chris, a retired Anglican priest.  A call to ordained ministry as a permanent deacon could not be quenched.  My love of classical ballet, Chopin and flowers is the tapestry for my daily walk with Jesus.


Gary Wilson

Gary Wilson

Archdeaconry: West Ham
Parish: All Saints Woodford Wells

I am a Community & Mission Pastor at St Cedd's (stc), Barkingside and in partnership with my wife, Alison, co-lead church family in this part of North-East London. stc is part of the All Saints Woodford Wells MMU and is distinctly New Wine in vision and values.

Growing up in Hornchurch, I attended St Edwards CofE School in Romford, whilst worshipping within Hornchurch Methodist Church. This is where I met Alison. We have two sons, Matthew and Andrew and we recently welcomed our first grandson, Oliver, to the family.

Following a 24 year career in NatWest bank, I left senior management to partner with a colleague to establish a firm of Christian Independent Financial Advisers providing biblically based financial management. It was during this time, I felt a calling to explore the route towards ordination which resulted in the initial call to lay leadership at stc and my continuing faith journey.


Shirley Pearce

Shirley Pearce

Archdeaconry: Southend
Parish: St Andrews and Holy Cross, Basildon

I was born in Africa, and at the age of ten I answered an alter call after watching a Billy Graham film; I have been blessed to have a long journey with God. As I have moved many times over the years, I have attended a variety of churches, but until 20 years ago, they were mostly Methodist. That it is to the Church of England where God called me to ordained ministry was really surprising! That I should have had that calling during a long and rewarding career as a nurse was also a surprise. I am so grateful to my lovely family who have encouraged and supported me throughout this journey to ordination and also grateful to St Mellitus College for enabling this opportunity for me to serve God. I am delighted that I will be serving my curacy at St Andrews and Holy Cross in Basildon.


John King

John King

Archdeaconry: West Ham
Parish: East Ham

I was born in Lambeth Hospital during a thunderstorm the second of three children to Ethel and John King from whom I inherited my faith. My early years were spent between our home in Waterloo and my Nan’s bungalow on Canvey Island. When we moved east of the Elephant and Castle I started my education at Joseph Lancaster Primary School followed by Paragon Secondary School. It was at Paragon I develop my love for mathematics and photography. In later years I gained a BSc with the Open University.

I started work at the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society and then joined the Post Office.

Claudette is my longsuffering wife of 37 years and we have three sons and three grandchildren.

St Jude’s Southwark was my first Church followed by St Matthew’s Elephant and Castle. For the last 34 years I have attended St Mary Magdalene, East Ham where I have held serval post including that of churchwarden and Authorised Local Preacher.

Even from a very young age I had faith. My call to ordained ministry has been a challenging journey and I sometimes wonder if driving a camel through the eye of a needle would have been easier.


Susannah Lacon

Susannah Lacon

Archdeaconry: Stansted
Parish: Thaxted, The Sampfords, Radwinter and Hempstead

I was born in Kent and spent my childhood between the Ashdown Forest in Sussex and the Island of Harris in the Outer Hebrides, where my father later became an Episcopalian priest.

I once worked for a Diocesan Board of Finance, later as an Airline Security Supervisor and currently for the University of Cambridge. When my three children were young my family ran a small rare-breeds farm near Thaxted.  I'm addicted to gardening and my faith in God, particularly as revealed in his wonderful creation, has driven my concern for the environment and compassion in farming.  

I have worshipped in Thaxted Church for almost thirty years and I'm excited to be serving there together with the Sampfords, Radwinter and Hempstead as a locally deployed curate.  My call to ordained ministry came slowly.  As a Lay Benedictine, finding stability and listening to God from a still centre within, eventually led me to say ‘yes!’ to this awesome journey.


Beverley Vincent

Beverley Vincent

Archdeaconry: Stansted
Parish: Halstead Team Ministry

Beverley lives in rural North Essex with her husband Barry and golden retriever Tess. Essex has become their home county after moving from Bishops Stortford ten years ago. Beverley met Barry whilst she was working as a nursing sister at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, he as a Police Inspector at Paddington Green Police Station. They have three adult children, and it was through baptism preparation that they both accepted Christ into their lives. Beverley was a trainer for many years with Acorn Christian Healing Foundation and has always been an active member of church, currently at St Andrew’s, Shalford.

Beverley had a thirty six year nursing career; on early retirement in 2012 she became the Diocesan Pastoral Assistant Training Co-ordinator, which has been enormously fulfilling and also transformational, leading her to hear the unexpected call to ordination.

In July, Beverley became the newest member of the Order of St Cedd for her work in training. She set up the Pastoral Assistants’ Foundation Course and over 400 people have attended this course to date.

Beverley looks forward to serving her curacy in the Halstead Team Ministry.


Helen Flack

Helen Flack

Archdeaconry: Stansted
Parish: Stansted Mountfitchet with Birchanger and Farnham

I was born and brought up in Sittingbourne, Kent and came to faith as a teenager through singing in a school choir performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion. I have always loved music, especially singing and playing the oboe and I went to Goldsmith’s College, London University, to study for my degree in music after leaving school.

I subsequently taught music in London comprehensive schools for 7 years. An unusual change of career followed this- I took up flying as a hobby, but went on to make it my profession. I’ve flown for various airlines over the last 26 years, most recently as a captain with EasyJet.

I initially explored a call to ministry before I began flying, but realised it wasn’t the right time to pursue it. It’s taken a while to re-surface, but it never really went away.

I now live in Gt Dunmow, where I’ve been a church musician, served on the PCC and Deanery Synod as well as leading baptism preparation sessions.

I’m single, have a cat and four rabbits and enjoy swimming and golf.


Viv Mendham

Viv Mendham

Archdeaconry: Colchester
Parish: St Leonard’s, Lexden

I was born and grew up in Ilford, with a younger brother. Educated at Wanstead County High School, I trained as a nurse, then as a midwife, and specialised in neonatal intensive care.

I met Tim at Abberton Reservoir, through our shared interest in birdwatching and wildlife. Within a year we were married, I moved to Colchester, and travelled each day to my nursing job in London. After nine years of commuting I was able to take early retirement from the NHS, finding work locally as a veterinary receptionist, another job I loved.

I was a churchwarden at St Leonard’s, Lexden, but God had further plans for me, and eventually I realised he was calling me to ordained ministry. Training with St Mellitus College in Chelmsford has been a joy and a blessing, and I look forward to serving as LDSSM at St Leonard’s.


Kirsty Emerson

Kirsty Emerson

Archdeaconry: Colchester
Parish: Great Oakley, Wix, Wrabness, Tendring and Beaumont-cum-Moze

I am the youngest of three children and had a very happy upbringing.  I am married to Jonathan and we have two primary school aged daughters.  Jonathan and I both grew up in Colchester but moved to Lawford in 2007 – after we were married and shortly before having our eldest daughter.  It was at St Mary’s church Lawford that I became a Christian and my journey towards ordination began. 

I have been undertaking my theological training with St Mellitus College.  My training has been part time and whilst training I have also been working part time for a local school as part of their administration team.  Since leaving college at the age of 18, I have always worked in administrative roles, mostly for local government. 

As a family we enjoy spending time outside – working and playing in the garden and making the most of the beautiful local countryside and coastline.  Personally I also like pursuing many different craft activities and always enjoy learning a new skill.


Simon Pearce

Simon Pearce

Archdeaconry: Chelmsford
Parish: All Saints Springfield

I was born in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire in 1981, the youngest of three children. When I was four we moved to Chelmsford, where I was schooled locally before studying Physiotherapy at University of East London in 2004. Since graduating I have worked in the NHS, with various sport teams, including Tottenham Hotspur, and I have been the proprietor of two private clinics, before starting to work for Ramsay Healthcare at Springfield Hospital in 2012.

In 2004 I attended Meadgate Church with my then girlfriend, now my wife, Kirsty, who was already a worshipper there, and have continued to worship at Meadgate Church with our four children, Jessica, Joshua, Bethany and Benjamin. During our time there I have assisted with youth work, led the Men’s Group and was a licenced lay preacher, as well as being a member of the PCC and Chairperson of the Evangelism Committee.

My journey to Ordination started in 2014 when I felt a calling from God and now I find myself excited to start my ministry as Assistant Curate at All Saints Church in Springfield, Chelmsford.


Andy Brown

Andy Brown

Archdeaconry: Chelmsford
Parish: Widford St Mary

I grew up in Chelmsford and have spent most of my life residing here, only briefly moving to Northampton and Bristol for study. After university I worked for a local firm in a variety of roles before training for ordained ministry.

I am the eldest of three siblings. We attended Meadgate church in Chelmsford as a family, but it wasn’t until my teenage years that I found faith for myself. Having first felt called to ministry in my early twenties, I put off any thought of ordination for several years, but it was a thought that would not go away. I eventually investigated my calling and all the right doors opened, leading me to this point.

I spend my free time in a variety of ways: I play sports, am a keen cook, a musician and a movie fanatic. I have a girlfriend, Rachel, who is being ordained in the Diocese of London in June.    


Samuel Peters

Samuel Peters

Archdeaconry: Harlow
Parish: Loughton, St John

I was born in Sunderland, and grew up in Harrogate, in Yorkshire. There, I attended St. Aidan’s Church of England School and Sixth form, with my younger brother, Joe. Having grown to love both religious studies and philosophy at sixth form, I studied Philosophy and Theology at the University of Oxford. Whilst I was there, I grew to better know the Church of England, singing with my college choir as a Choral Scholar.

Once I left Oxford, it became clear to me that God was calling me to explore ordained ministry. During a moving day on retreat at the Cathedral of Bath and Wells, I decided to explore this vocation. My exploration led me to Chelmsford Diocese, where I worked as a placement student, first with St. Mary’s Becontree, and later with St. Edward’s, Romford. I made Romford my home for the next two years, as I explored my vocation, and then began ministerial training at Westcott House, Cambridge, in 2016.

I have a lively interest in film and theatre, and an enduring love for countryside and woodland walks.


Alan Moss

Alan Moss

Archdeaconry: Barking
Parish: Collier Row St James & Havering-atte-Bower St John

I was born in Harold Hill, Romford in 1981. I grew up in Collier Row, Romford, where I attended Clock House Junior school and then Bower Park secondary school. I never finished secular school properly so achieved only 3 low GCSE’s but bloomed academically later in life in my early to mid-30’s when I completed my BA honours degree in Theology and Youth Ministry and then most recently my Masters degree in Christian Leadership.

I have 2 older siblings and I was mainly raised by my Grandmother. My mum currently lives in Spain and my dad passed away in December 2017.

My family were, and are, atheists or agnostics so there was no talk of church or God throughout my childhood and wouldn’t be until my own journey began which led to my commitment to Christ in my mid-twenties.

I have worked as a landscape gardener, sheet metal worker i.e. welder, and most significantly as a youth worker for the last 19 years in both secular and faith-based organisations in full and part time capacities.

I have been married to my wife Sarah for 10 years and we have been together for 16 years. We don’t have any children but feel called to be spiritual parents to the lost. We currently live in Tower Hamlets, East London, and will be moving to St James and St Johns in Collier Row for my curacy.

I love going to the gym 3-4 times a week and weight lifting, listening to music and enjoying some me time. I like to hang out with my wife, my friends and just watch movies and read. But most importantly I love to laugh and make other people laugh too.


Michael Walker

Michael Walker

Archdeaconry: Southend
Parish: St Michael and All Angels, Westcliff-on-Sea

Raised the son of a preacher, in a wonderfully prayerful and supportive home, I am receiving the baton in my mid-thirties having studied engineering, taught secondary maths for nine years, married Rebecca and had three kids to boot! 

The depths of God’s redeeming love in Jesus struck me most powerfully under the ministry of faithful women and men at All Souls, Langham place in the early naughties and from that grounding I knew I would one day devote myself as a servant and herald of the Lord Jesus in an ordained capacity.  That day has finally come after a few detours! 

My wife Rebecca, is training to be a GP alongside me and our three children Daniel, Matthew and Chloe are all at school together for the first time this September. 

I’ll be training under Revd Tom Loh in Westcliff-on-Sea and planning with the church family for an exciting new ministry planned for Southend two or three years hence.  I can’t wait to get started! 


Wendy Mott

Wendy Mott

Archdeaconry: Southend
Parish: Benefice of Corringham and Fobbing

Being locally deployed in the Benefice of Corringham and Fobbing, a community I have been part of for the past fifty years, will bring many blessings and challenges.

Originally born in Romford, my first few years were spent worshipping at St John’s South Hornchurch, where I was baptised. Moving to Stanford, my family became part of the Parish of Corringham, worshipping mainly at St John’s, where I was confirmed six months after starting at Palmers School in Grays.

Fulfilling my dream to become a teacher I went to train at Christ Church Canterbury. Returning to Corringham, most of my teaching career was spent at Corringham Primary School. I have been married to David for 25 years; together we share an interest in walking, and history.

Having been licensed as a Lay Minister five years ago, I have been encouraged by all around me to follow the path to ordination. 


Jackie Turner

Jackie Turner

Archdeaconry: Southend
Parish: Hadleigh St James the less & Hadleigh St Barnabas

I grew up in Ilford, experiencing a very happy childhood, which I shared with my sister, Geraldine. It was so good that we didn’t leave our parental home until we were both in our mid-twenties. By that time, I had met and become engaged to Dave, who is now my Husband. We moved to Romford and was married in St Andrew’s Church by the Brewery. Charlie, our son, was born eighteen months later in 1997 and we went back to St Andrews for him to be baptised. This was when I started to ask questions about the Bible and God. Later that year, I was confirmed. In 2005, I completed the Christian Studies course and collected my certificate on my daughter’s due date, but Madeleine had other ideas and arrived 10 days later. Life became very busy, as a year later we moved to Rayleigh and it wasn’t until a few years later, Holy Trinity Church held a two weekend taster for pastoral care training. This encouraged me to do a year’s training and become one of the pastoral assistants in 2010. Within six weeks, on a Cursillo weekend, I had a massive calling that I needed to step out of my comfort zone and explore ordination. After a long journey of discernment, I was accepted to study at St Mellitus College. This was three years ago and it’s been the best life changing experience ever.


John Noddings

John Noddings

Archdeaconry: Southend
Parish: The United Benefice of Corringham & Fobbing

I was born in Accrington, Lancashire, the son of a Pentecostal minister. As my father’s ministry developed, we gradually began to move down south, as he entered the Baptist church, before being ordained in the Church of England by the time I was aged eleven. Christianity, has then, formed the bedrock of my early years. In my mid-twenties, I moved into the Roman Catholic Church and was ordained deacon in 2002, but after much reflection, I sought laicisation, returned to the Church of England and trained to be a Religious Studies teacher. This led me to teach in Bournemouth, Reading, Croydon, and Ilford, before finally settling in Chelmsford in 2011. It was here, in the Chelmsford diocese, that the flame of vocation to serve God and His people was relit and has led me to where I am today. I have just completed two years residential training at Westcott House, Cambridge, and am looking forward to serving as a deacon in The United Benefice of Corringham & Fobbing. My parents are now both retired and live in Salisbury and I have one sister who is a nurse. In my free time, I enjoy, amongst other things, walking, cooking and cryptic crosswords.


David Perry

David Perry

Archdeaconry: Barking
Parish: Hornchurch St Nicholas (Elm Park)

Born in Walthamstow, aged three I moved with my parents and older brother to Lower Sheering, Essex. I attended the village primary then moved to a large Comprehensive in Harlow. This was quite a change and an ‘eye-opener!’ I studied anthropology at university and, after a few false starts, trained as a teacher.

I now live with my wife Stephanie and two adult sons in Hornchurch.  

University made me a confirmed atheist but life experience, against academic theories, made me reconsider.

We began attending Church and I became a Christian at an Alpha Course. Soon I was reading lessons, preaching and running services. Finishing the Course in Christian Studies I was asked if I’d considered ordination? No I hadn’t! I resisted for quite a while but knew in my heart it was what God wanted and have been based at St Laurence Upminster during training.


Tom Warmington

Tom Warmington

Archdeaconry: Harlow
Parish: Epping, St John

Growing up in Chelmsford, some of my earliest memories are of attending the local church playgroup.

After school I joined the BBC, working as a reporter for local radio and then as a TV producer. I was unexpectedly invited on an Alpha course in my early 20s that just ‘happened’ to be hosted by the church where I had attended playgroup twenty years previously.

I was quite surprised to meet some of the volunteers from that playgroup, who were still members of the church, and had been praying for me ever since! I became a Christian and my journey to ordination started soon afterwards; although it took over ten years for me to realise!

I have been married since 2009 and we have two young boys.


Suzanne Fryer

Suzanne Fryer

Archdeaconry: Southend
Parish: Grays Thurrock Team Ministry. 

I was brought up in Hullbridge, attended school locally, and studied Music at Sheffield University. My most recent job was with the Archbishops’ Council, on a team looking at mission and ministry through weddings, christenings and funerals. 


I am married to Jon, and for over a decade we were both part of the leadership team of Legacy, a Fresh Expression of church for young people in a skatepark, linked to St Georges Church Benfleet where we live. This, alongside my work for the Archbishops’ Council, formed my call to ordained ministry; I am passionate about bringing the good news of Jesus to those outside the church, and a work colleague suggested I should consider ordination, which came as a shock at the time! But after a few years of resistance I started training, and am now looking forward to starting a new chapter as curate at Grays Thurrock team ministry. 
 


Thomas Britt

Thomas Britt

Archdeaconry: West Ham
Parish: Wanstead

I grew up in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, as the oldest of three boys. I went to All Saints’ Leighton Buzzard with my family, where I found community and began asking questions about what it means to follow Jesus.

At Leeds University I studied history and during this time my most formative Christian community was the university chaplaincy. I greatly valued being part of its cafe church, where I forged friendships and went on weekends away. I also volunteered at a local homeless shelter and taught English to asylum seekers, both of which helped me discover my calling to ordained ministry.

After university I was a pastoral assistant at St Albans’ Abbey and worked in schools supporting young people with learning difficulties. I have studied for ministry at Cuddesdon where I had a very formative three years. I also valued spending a term studying at an Episcopalian college called CDSP in Berkeley, California. The Chelmsford diocese has been supporting me during the majority of my vocations process and I am delighted to serve my curacy in Wanstead.


David Harrigan

David Harrigan

Archdeaconry: Barking
Parish: Church of the Good Shepherd, Collier Row

I was born in the Rush Green but have grown up in Romford all my life. I went to school in Romford and even got my first job as a teenager working on Romford market. I hadn’t grown up in a Christian household. School wasn’t really my thing, I found it difficult at times but had fun along the way!

Following that I wasn’t really sure what life had to offer me. I explored all that the world had to offer, finding spiritual moments along the way but still felt as though something was beyond my reach.

At 20 I had a son and felt that maybe I should start to take things a bit more seriously. I joined the army but broke my leg just days before my basic training was about to begin and somewhere along the journey God found me. I later came to faith at the Church of the Good Shepherd and married Hayley, the mother of my son, in 2008. We have seen our son grow up into teenager and have a daughter of 8 years old. I have studied with the Church Mission Society in the unique training mode of pioneer ordination.

I have been looking at how we can listen to the world and respond to it in creative ways to engage people on the edges to develop what church looks like for them. I do very much look forward to the new adventure that awaits me.


Christopher Smith

Christopher Smith

Archdeaconry: Colchester
Parish: St Luke's Highwoods

I was born in Chelmsford and grew up in a loving family, fond of adventures and spontaneous fun. School was not my favourite place, but I found enjoyment in technology, maths and economics.

In contrast to my lacklustre approach to school, my evenings and weekends were driven by a passion for leadership and aviation, as I immersed myself in the Air Cadets. These passions continue to drive me; both in pursuit of being an effective leader and as a private pilot. As well as flying regularly, I am a keen cook and it is therefore beneficial that cycling and swimming are two of my other hobbies.

Though I’d attended church with my family as a child and teen, it wasn’t until my mid 20s that I discovered a personal faith. I somehow found myself in a situation where my vicar was praying for me and, following this, I was unable to stop thinking about Jesus and the mess that my life was without him. I soon responded to the prodding of the Holy Spirit and gave my life to Jesus – I haven’t looked back since.

While worshipping at Meadgate Church in Great Baddow, I met Emma and we have been married for ten years. We love being discipled and serving in God’s family; pioneering locally to reach the community and leading short-term mission trips at home and abroad.

As I discerned and trained for ministry, our life became beautifully complicated by the addition of Charlotte (3) and Adam (1). As a family, we are excited to move to Colchester and join with what God is doing in Highwoods.