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

Janetta Brathwaite

Janetta Brathwaite

Archdeaconry: West Ham
Parish: Forest Gate St Saviour & St James

I was born and raised on the beautiful Caribbean island of Nevis.

My parents were both Headteachers, of the Church of England Boys and Girls schools respectively and also ministered in Church. My Secondary, and Grammar school education in the island State of St. Kitts/ Nevis with Tertiary education in neighbouring Barbados.

At age seven my Mum died. Later my Dad emigrated to England.

I grew up observing the Anglican Faith. Infant baptism was followed by Confirmation at age thirteen.

I qualified as a Teacher and engaged in the Teaching profession for a few years.  

I received a CIDA Scholarship and studied Business Administration and Hotel Management. I still cherish fond memories, of serving others in the field of Hospitality. While serving in the position of Hotel Manager in Nevis I felt a call to ministry, which was the start of my path to ministry and vocation.

My hobbies include gardening, travelling and hairdressing.

I am married with a beautiful daughter and four wonderful grandchildren. Before studying at St. Mellitus, I qualified as a Professional Hairdresser, and later owned and managed my Hairdressing Enterprise while serving as an Avon Area Sales Manager,

Two professions affording numerous opportunities to witness for God, as I worked and travelled locally and around the globe.

My ardent love of God, and zeal to evangelize, became increasingly apparent in Church-life, where I held many roles, including Parish Evangelist; Local Authorised Preacher; Sunday School Teacher; Bible Study Leader, PCC Secretary; Pastoral Chair and PCC Vice Chair.

For my development I was encouraged to take the Course in Christian Studies- and later by clergy and family, to study Theology. I have completed the 1-Year Pathway at St. Mellitus College I look forward to being Ordained, and serving my Curacy, as a Self-Supporting Minister at St. Saviours Church, leading others to Christ!


Catherine Towner

Catherine Towner

Archdeaconry: Stansted
Parish: Bocking, St Mary and Panfield St Mary & St Christopher

Hello! I was born in Beckenham while my father was still a curate; the fifth of six children. I have three young-adult children; two are in the Armed Forces and the youngest works for a charitable foundation.

I grew up in Portsmouth before taking a degree in English after which I stayed on in London for a while. I took a teaching qualification and for many years taught English in a Sixth Form Centre in Sussex before moving into project management creating pathways into paid employment for young adults with Autism or Learning Difficulties. For several years, I also worked as a Supported Lodgings Provider for young people transitioning from Care into independent living.

I’ve been a Christian all my life and felt increasingly called to explore ministry as my children became more independent. It was after a trip to Uganda, having witnessed the full-time, full-life commitment of two CMS mission partners running a Church Army development centre, that I realised God was asking me to commit my whole life to mission and ministry.

I have been warmly welcomed by the people of St Mary’s in both Bocking and Panfield and I am looking forward to settling into my new diocese and getting to know the wider community.


Hannah Robinson

Hannah Robinson

Archdeaconry: Southend
Parish: South Shoebury St Andrew w St Peter

Hi, I’m Hannah, I was born in London but grew up by the sea in Dorset. When I left school, I studied Hairdressing and Media Make-up but really, I wanted to be on the stage! Although I got into a drama school, I did not get the (then) required grant, so I retrained as a Youth Worker. Eventually I returned to London where I worked for a church in Southwark for 5 years, before joining London diocese and working as a Children’s and Youth Missioner. I then joined Chelmsford Diocese as the Barking Episcopal Youth Adviser. It was while working in Barking that I felt God call me to Ordained Ministry.

I am married to Peter and we’re human slaves to our cat Amelia. We feel very blessed to be able to serve our curacy by the sea in South Shoebury and I’m looking forward to getting to know the area…and hopefully try paddle boarding for the first time!

In our spare time we can be found going out for walks - Peter with a camera round his neck, and me occasionally looking impatient as he tries to get the perfect shot. But also, you may find me at a sewing machine dress making, running, or in a dance studio, leaving Peter to do what he calls “fun computer stuff”. Amelia, in her spare time from cat napping, will normally be found demanding treats from her human minions.


Julia Lacey

Julia Lacey

Archdeaconry: Chelmsford
Parish: Chelmsford The Ascension w All Saints

Hi, my name is Julia Lacey and I have come to Chelmsford from Bonn in Germany via Geneva. I am married to Colin and we have a wonderful daughter called Sally, one dog, nine rabbits and two guinea-pigs.

I have been wishing to work in and for the Church since I was about nine. But having been brought up a Roman Catholic options were somewhat limited – to my greatest sorrow, celebrating First Holy Communion did not allow me to ring the church bells…

I still studied Catholic Theology (on the off-chance) and Spanish and History at Bonn and Freiburg University to become at least a teacher. But then God made me go to Geneva where I worked for a Human Rights Organisation run by the Franciscans. That is where I came to join the local Anglican chaplaincy Holy Trinity Geneva (actually mostly because of the choir because I am an avid singer).  Slowly I became more and more involved in chaplaincy life and that call that I had buried for so long, became overwhelmingly loud. Our chaplain put me in touch with the DDO and …. here I am, after having trained at the Eastern Region Ministry Course.

I am very much looking forward to serving the community in and around Ascension with All Saints as Assistant Curate – even if it all feels quite daunting at the moment.


Trudy Arnold

Trudy Arnold

Archdeaconry: Southend
Parish: Southchurch, Holy Trinity

Hi, I’m Trudy. I was born on Canvey Island and lived there until 2004, when I moved to South Benfleet.  I am married to Richard and have 2 stepsons and 4 beautiful grandchildren.

I love gardening, baking, theatre and acting.  I co-founded a drama group on Canvey in 1999 which, Covid-19 aside, is still going strong.

As a teenager I began worshipping at St Nicholas’ Church, Canvey Island.  In my twenties I found myself angry with many in church and even God himself.  I stopped going to church.  However, there is no running away from God and at every turn He was there.  I returned to St Nicholas - a far healthier, happier and more vibrant church family than I had left.

I tried to remain anonymous at the back of church, but God began whispering a calling.  So I served in many roles and on almost every rota.  God’s whispering grew louder!  So I stopped running and served him as a Licensed Lay Minister within the Canvey Team Ministry of St Nicholas, St Anne’s & St Katherine’s.  Still God called louder!  Now I find myself about to be Ordained and looking excitedly at serving at Holy Trinity, Southchurch.  I feel called particularly to funeral ministry and am passionate about Mission.  I cannot wait to share the Good News of Jesus with the whole community.


Steve Finch

Steve Finch

Archdeaconry: Southend
Parish: Hawkwell St Mary & Emmanuel

I was born and grew up in Great Baddow, Essex in a family that loves Jesus. My parents are both really involved in my local church, and lead on Christian summer holidays, and so God was always the most important part of my life. From a very young age I knew that Jesus was my best friend and my saviour.

I went to university at 18 to do a theology degree and got really involved in the Christian Union. It was then that I began to wonder if God was calling me to ordained ministry. I loved talking to other students about Jesus and realised that’s what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing – after several years of discernment it appears God agreed!

I then spent a few years working in secondary schools running Christian Unions, mentoring students who were struggling and teaching the occasional RE lesson, before working for 2 years in car breakdown insurance. During this time, I also met my wonderful wife, Beth. I’m really excited to serve my curacy with the people of Hawkwell, seeing how God is at work in that place.


David Baker

David Baker

Archdeaconry: West Ham
Parish: All Saints with Saint Andrew’s, Woodford Wells

Hi I’m David. I grew up in Hampshire but have spent all my adult life living in London or nearby in Essex. My journey to ordination began almost eight years ago when I unexpectedly lost my job and felt a calling to study theology and do more with my church. Over that time I’ve juggled a range of roles including holding the fort as a stay-at-home dad, volunteering with the chaplaincy team at HMP Chelmsford and working at St Marys, Loughton. In the last two years I’ve trained for ordination at St Mellitus in London. My previous life included working in homelessness and social care for Tower Hamlets Council and social reform organisation The Shaftesbury Partnership. In a distant past I also worked in politics.

I’m married to Maggie and we have two children, Lucy (11) and Jamie (8). I like drinking coffee, eating desserts, East London, running in Epping Forest and supporting Arsenal. I have a heart for sharing my faith, outsiders as well as insiders and church in diverse communities.


Marianne Hayward

Marianne Hayward

Archdeaconry: Barking
Parish: St Nicholas, Elm Park

I’m Marianne Hayward, and I’ll be ordained as a Minister in Secular Employment (MSE) – someone whose main focus of ministry is their paid work, not the parish church they’re attached to.

Christian faith was important in the family where I grew up, so my decision to study medicine was rooted in prayer. Later, I lived with a community of Anglican nuns - the real life Call the Midwife sisters - then specialised in psychiatry. Later still, at a time when I was already reviewing my working role with a career management agency, my parents’ vicar suggested I should consider ordination. Gradually, the secular and Church based discernment processes converged on the idea I was called to both psychiatry and ordination. Ministry in Secular Employment was therefore an exciting idea that made perfect sense to me; luckily, my husband and two daughters thought so too!

So after my two year career break training for ordination at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, we’re now back in London, where I’ll be returning to work as an NHS psychiatrist while getting to know the people of St Nicholas, Elm Park.


Jaimée Summers

Jaimée Summers

Archdeaconry: Harlow
Parish: Epping Team Ministry

I'm Jaimée. I'm 25 and I grew up in Grays, in Thurrock. I'm 4 foot 10, hearing impaired, tattooed, neuroatypical and non-binary. I have scars galore and I don't look a bit like your stereotypical vicar, but God thought otherwise and here I am!

When I was 14 I first felt called to ministry and whilst it has been a rocky road here, I feel like it's where God always meant for me to end up. 

I studied theology at Cambridge before working in several churches in East London. I trained at Cuddesdon - the same college as Adam Smallbone from Rev (BBC). 

I'm here because I felt called but also because wonderful Christians and the church itself has supported me and encouraged me. This gives me hope for all those "unlikely vicars" out there who don't think God could possibly call them. Because God does call us. Trust me: I'm (nearly) a vicar!


Elsie Bouffler

Elsie Bouffler

Archdeaconry: Stansted
Parish: Great Dunmow & Barnston

Hello I’m Elsie Bouffler, I was born in Glasgow, and having spent much of my life in the Church of Scotland, I am as surprised as anyone to find myself here.

I met and married Jonathan in 1994 and have two lovely daughters. We left Scotland in 2007 to move to Georgia USA, before moving to Essex. I have taught Business Studies and Economics in Secondary Schools both in Scotland and England for many years and loved being in the classroom. In my free time I love to paint.

Parish church has always been a big part of my life and I enjoyed the opportunity to become an Authorised Local Preacher. The call to Ordination has cropped up in many, different ways throughout my life but I had always chosen to ignore it, believing it was for others but not me. However, God won’t let us go and so I found myself saying ‘yes and seeing where it led…the rest is history.

I am looking forward to serving my curacy in my sending church, the Benefice of St Mary’s, Great Dunmow and St Andrew’s, Barnston and being involved in working with the community both inside and outside of church.


Carol Cockcroft

Carol Cockcroft

Archdeaconry: Southend
Parish: Grays Thurrock Team Ministry

I am proud to be a Brummie by birth. I grew up in a family that didn’t have church connections. When I was a teenager I went along with my friends to the youth group at our local church. At a Christian camp I was listening to a talk about the resurrection and I asked myself, ‘Do I think this happened? Yes. In which case Jesus is who he says he is, and I owe Him my life.’ I stood up to make a commitment to Christ.

I studied Chemistry at Oxford and worked in HR in the oil industry and the British Council. Although that was really enjoyable, the jobs became huge and I felt God saying that I needed to change careers, to work locally and have time for family. I retrained and have been a children’s physiotherapist for 13 years. I have been married to my husband John, who is a GP, for more than 30 years and we have two lovely grown up children, Jack and Julia.

Whilst I have always been involved in my local church,  I never expected to be called to ordination and was very surprised to be asked about it, by my vicar in 2014. I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I needed to explore further. I really appreciated the people who kept on asking me the questions and the support of the discernment process.

I am looking forward to serving my curacy at the Grays Thurrock Team Ministry, where I have been placed during my studies at St Mellitus.  We are buying a very small flat in the town centre and are praying that we can be really hospitable and embedded in the community.


Sally Croft

Sally Croft

Archdeaconry: Chelmsford
Parish: Ingatestone St Edmund & St Mary

Hi, I am Sally Croft, a Hockey playing, Hairdressing, East End Girl…Yes God calls all sorts!

I was born in the East End of London and grew up in Theydon Bois, Essex, attending the Baptist Church, as it had the best youth group (read, boy I liked!)

I met my husband Frazer at a hockey tournament in Clacton, we married and moved out to Toppesfield to bring up our 2 amazing children. I took the children to the local parish church as I wanted them to know God's love in their lives. However, they were the only children there, so I set up a children's group for them and their friends called The Friday Club and continued to be part of a loving BCP based local parish Church. I was encouraged to take more leadership and pastoral roles in the Benefice, but always ignored the Ordination comments from friends and incumbents. What were they thinking?

Eventually I gave in to them and listened to God and started to explore the ordination pathway about 5 years ago. I have studied at Eastern Region Ministry Course, Cambridge for the last 3 years and met loads of amazing, diverse people that God calls to ministry.

I am so excited about this new adventure, sharing God's love with a new community both inside and outside of the Church Family, with the support of my family, friends and new colleagues in Ingatestone and Fryerning.


Elisabeth Ring

Elisabeth Ring

Archdeaconry: Colchester
Parish: Wivenhoe, St Mary the Virgin

I’m originally from Munich and my first contact with the Anglican Church was at 16 when I went to boarding school here. I studied Economics at St Andrews and enjoyed exploring the different styles of worship of the Christian churches there. In hindsight, can see that I was unconsciously searching. Back in Germany, after starting a family and doing a PhD in Economics at the University of Stuttgart, I didn’t expect to come back here. These were difficult years and a faith desert time. But eight years ago, I felt I had to come back not knowing what this would lead to. After doing the Course in Christian Studies and the Pastoral Assistant course, the call to ordination became too loud to be ignored. While training for ministry, I continued to work for an exam board as a subject advisor. Studying with the Eastern Region Ministry Course, the parish context of the Two Rivers Benefice and working with hospital chaplaincy team at Addenbrookes were a great experience especially because of the wonderful people I‘ve met. I’m married to Christian and our three children are 21, 20 and 17.  We have two dogs and love taking them for walks in the countryside.


Matthew Austen

Matthew Austen

Archdeaconry: Chelmsford
Parish: Brentwood St Thomas of Canterbury

Before training for Ordination, I served for twelve years in The British Army as a musician, serving with The Royal Artillery and The Parachute Regiment Bands. I was lucky enough to serve all over the world, in many different capacities and roles, including operational deployment in Helmand Province and Kabul, Afghanistan – where I witnessed the true breadth of human society. Although I had felt a vocation to the Priesthood since my childhood days as a chorister at Wells Cathedral, I’m the first to admit that I ran from it again and again. When I finally “gave in and said yes to God”, things all fell into place, leading to eventual formation for Ordination at St Stephen’s House, Oxford. My family and I are now settled in Brentwood and I have begun to serve at the Church of St Thomas of Canterbury. 


Urbain Yombe

Urbain Yombe

Archdeaconry: Barking
Parish: Woodford Wells (Barking Riverside church plant)

My name is Urbain Yombe. I am originally from the Republic of Congo and grew up in a Christian family. I started school in Congo and went to Portugal to complete my studies.  I lived in Portugal for almost 14 years and moved to the UK to work for a Portuguese Christian charity (in 2008).   

When I was a teenager, I had a 15 year old friend who was very passionate about God. Inspired by my friend’s zeal and courage, I made a promise to God to serve him in my adult life. In Portugal, God brought back to my mind the promise I made when I was a teenager. I felt compelled to study Theology and serve in church.

In the UK, I started to attend the Church of England in London (St Paul’s Church, Stratford) where the Vicar saw God’s calling on my life and challenged me to go for ordination. After almost two years of discernment process, I was recommended for training. I trained at St Mellitus College in London.

I am looking forward to doing church planting in Barking Riverside.   


Sharon Quilter

Sharon Quilter

Archdeaconry: Stansted
Parish: Halstead Area Team Ministry

I was born in the East End of London to Jamaican parents, spending my early years in Bow, Hackney and Stoke Newington. At the age of eleven, along with my dad and three brothers we emigrated to Jamaica, leaving my mum behind. It was two years before I saw her again. Secondary education at High School in Kingston was interspersed with holidays in the country with my respective grandmothers and summer Bible Camp. I guess I was a cradle Christian as there was always church in my life. But it was the time leading up to Bible Camp in 1977 that I first became aware of God answering prayer and during camp I made the conscious decision to follow Jesus. After High School I returned to the UK to be with my mum, continued my education and was confirmed at St Michael’s and All Angels Stoke Newington, the church I attended before emigrating.

I have been married to Chris for 32 years and I have two adult stepchildren and four grandchildren. I am a qualified Internal Auditor and Compliance professional having worked in financial services for over 30 years. We moved from London to North Essex in 1997 where I joined the congregation of St Andrew’s Earls Colne. In about 2007 the Vicar asked me if I had thought about what God was calling me to do. Never in my wildest dreams did I think ordination was my path. I finally explored answering the call in 2015…five years later I am to serve my curacy in the Three Colnes parishes of St Andrew’s Earls Colne, White Colne and Colne Engaine part of the Halstead Area Team and I can’t wait!


Tim Broadbent

Tim Broadbent

Archdeaconry: Barking
Parish: St Mary, Becontree

Hi, I’m Tim, I was born in London, grew up in Croydon and I left school at 16. I had a few random jobs till my early 20’s where I started working in a telesales department. It was here that my volunteering at my local Pentecostal church intensified, this consisted of mainly doing youth and children’s work. At the same time, I had lots of questions about God and the church so I took a job at the Oasis Trust and studied for a degree in theology part-time. I worked for eight years at Oasis and it was here that I joined the Church of England. My most recent employment was Childrens and Youth Minister at St Mary, Islington.

I like reading, running and catching up with friends. I'm a keen follower of Crystal Palace F.C. I’m married to Hannah and we have two young kids, Toby and Asa.  I’ve just completed a Masters at St Augustine’s College and I’m really looking forward to serving in the Parish of St Mary, Becontree and being part of Chelmsford diocese


Andrew Bellis

Andrew Bellis

Archdeaconry: Barking
Parish: Harold Wood, St Peter

I was born and brought up in Newcastle (though you won't detect much of a Geordie accent!). I'm grateful to have grown up going to church and hearing about Jesus, but it wasn't until university that I really started to understand that the heart of being a Christian wasn't about being good or trying harder, but receiving God's free forgiveness in Jesus. That changed everything!

 

Since then, I've loved my time working for parish churches in Cambridgeshire and London. I'm married to Emily and we have two lively young children who take up most of our time!

 

I'm excited to be serving my curacy at St Peter's in Harold Wood, next door to the parish we were sent from. Like everyone else, we have arrived in circumstances we weren't expecting, and so much has changed in the world around us, but it's so comforting to know that God hasn't and that his faithfulness and promises stand firm. At a time of anxiety and hardship, when death feels much more real to so many of us, I'm looking forward to being able to point others to the certain hope of life that the risen Jesus offers to all who come to him.


Olive Thursby

Olive Thursby

Archdeaconry: West Ham
Parish: St. Mary with Christ Church, Wanstead

I was born in the beautiful County of Cumbria and I lived on a small farm. I feel very privileged to have had such an upbringing.

I studied at St. Katharine’s Church of England Training College in Liverpool, now Hope University. I went on to study for a BA and MA with the Open University.

I am very proud on my three adult children, Oliver, Sarah and Jonathan.

I have been involved with worship since I was fifteen years old when I became a church organist. I have continued in this role of leading worship in various settings since then. After many years of teaching, I felt called to be a Reader/LLM.

I was called to be an ordained minister in 2018 and followed the One-Year Pathway at St. Mellitus. I will be changing roles at the parish of St. Mary with Christ Church, Wanstead from LLM to Deacon. I am very much looking forward to the role of Priesthood in Wanstead.


Louise Oliver

Louise Oliver

Archdeaconry: Colchester
Parish: Clacton St James

I am married with two teenage children and an extended family in Newcastle!  I previously taught in Special Needs, then childminded and loved both vocations, especially working in a team. I feel grateful for the generosity of my church leaders at All Saints’ New Haw, who provided support and numerous opportunities that enabled me to find a deeper spirituality and serve God in lay leadership.

 

We are delighted to be relocating to the Sunshine Coast and start a pioneering post.  The creativity and exploration involved, discovering and joining with the mission God has planned for this Parish is exciting! I love being outdoors - walking and gardening, so living near the sea will be fun!

 

I gained a greater sense of conviction in my calling at Sarum College and describe my ministry as ‘maternal’. I love to teach and see people grow spiritually; I cook and gather people around the table and an openness fires my passion to celebrate diversity and share the Gospel with all people. There is a reverence to faith, but I enjoy good humour, smile frequently and practise gratitude daily.  I find joy in music, singing and working with children.

 

My faith has been life and purpose giving, liberating and transforming.  It is a response to the love, healing and security that God has freely gifted me, in grace, which compels me to share this truth so others can discover it for themselves.


Penny Brooks

Penny Brooks

Archdeaconry: Barking
Parish: All Saints, Cranham.

Hi, I’m Penny.

I was born in Elm Park and grew up in Upminster, Essex. I am a single mum with two amazing grown-up children.

My younger years were sporty, participating in archery, swimming and football. At the age of thirteen, I took three wickets in one Over in a memorable game of cricket against my brothers’ friends and became an overnight sensation at the local park, despite being “just a girl”.

I love theatre, film and music. And custard tarts!

Having been in church since I was six years old as a chorister, I heard Gods call to Ordination about 8 years ago. Surprised, I mentioned it to my sister who exclaimed in frustration that “God’s been trying to get your attention for years! What took you so long?”

Having worked for many years in a Magistrates’ Court in Stratford, I now work in the local Tesco, ministering to ordinary folk in ordinary places. You’d be amazed at how God manages to get into my conversations at the tills.

I have a particular passion for Chaplaincy and I’m excited to see how God will work through me in my new context. 


Dave Edmondson

Dave Edmondson

Archdeaconry: West Ham
Parish: Walthamstow St Mary the Virgin, St Gabriel and St Luke

Hi, I’m Dave. I grew up in South London/Surrey, growing up in a Christian family and decided to follow Jesus when I was fourteen years old. I’m married to Caitlin and we have a baby daughter, Lydia.

After finishing school, I spent a year working for youth work charity XLP and, after this, I studied youth ministry at St Mellitus in London whilst continuing to work with XLP and a church in South-East London. It was here at St Mellitus that I first began to encounter the breadth and depth of the Church of England.

After finishing my degree, I took at post as Youth and Children’s Leader at St Mary’s Becontree in Dagenham. Here I began to hear God calling me towards ordination and in 2017 I began to study at Trinity College, Bristol. Although Caitlin and I have loved our time in Bristol, we are excited to be moving back to East London and getting to know Walthamstow. In this time of uncertainty, I feel called to serve and to be pointing people towards our loving God. I am looking forward to serving in the parish of Walthamstow St Mary the Virgin, St Gabriel and St Luke.


Jessica Bostock

Jessica Bostock

Archdeaconry: Harlow
Parish: Epping Team Ministry

My name is Jessica Bostock and I am going to be joining the Epping Team as an SSM whilst continuing in my role as Secretary to the Diocesan Director of Ordinands for Chelmsford. I have been married to Simon for 30 years, and we have one daughter, Becky, who is getting married in Bath in October.

I have been based in St John’s in Loughton for the last 25 years having fallen out with the church I attended as a teenager because of the attitude and comments towards a young couple who came weekly to communion in (gasp) jeans!! I could not reconcile the God the priest was talking about and the attitude of those in the pews. Re-entering the church twenty years later was like coming home; but to a much healthier home than I had left.

I love the Church of England as, whilst, like us all, she is fallen and flawed, she is still rooted firmly in the gospel message with a generous diversity of worship traditions and breadth of missional vision. I approach ordination with joy, excitement and some trepidation, and look forward to my curacy as a challenge and a privilege.


Geoff Clarke

Geoff Clarke

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

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Chris Willis

Chris Willis

Archdeaconry: Colchester
Parish: Stanway, St Albright

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