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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.


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 Dock, Ascension

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.


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.


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.