I have lived most of my life in West Yorkshire, although originally coming from Leicester. I attended local schools in Bradford, obtained a science degree from Durham University and then entered the Probation Service. I worked in a hostel for two years before obtaining a professional qualification and M.A. in Social Work from Leicester University. I returned to Bradford to work as a Probation Officer based at the City Courts, but covering the large Holmewood estate. I later specialized in conciliation work for the Divorce Courts.
I became a Christian when I was 15 years old, I was active in my local Church before being called into the ordained ministry. I was first a Curate and then Vicar in four Churches in Shipley, Keighley, Bramhope and now Chapel Allerton. I am married to Susan and we have two grown up children.
My interests include architecture, the history of sailing and the art, history and food of Northern Italy.
I have been a Lay Reader at St Matthew’s since 2013. I did my Reader training through York St John University. I enjoyed studying different modules such as Old and New Testament, Ethics, Church History, and Mission and Ministry. It was interesting to discuss various contemporary ideas with other students.
I have been a Learning Support Assistant since 1988. Last summer I was made redundant from a job where I had worked for 24 years. I was delighted to find a job in another High School in Leeds where I now work with pupils for whom English is an additional language. I find this work very rewarding, and I have learned much about the cultures of these young people.
I have always valued music, and really enjoy being a member of the choir at St Matthew’s Church. I also play the clarinet in a local concert band. We play film music, jazz and music by contemporary composers. Richard and I also play our instruments at YAMSEN choir, which is a choir of adults with learning difficulties, led by Mavis West.
I am excited about the future of St Matthew’s. I am very encouraged by the Gather Together Services, as I feel that this style of worship reaches out to families who are on the edge of church. Another advantage is that families can join in the activities together. I am encouraged by the Night Shelter which we have run for the last two years. This is such a positive way in which the church can show God’s love in a very practical way. I would also like to see developments at St Matthew’s for people with Dementia, such as a Memory Café and Dementia Friendly Services.
St Matthew’s Church is a warm, friendly community of which I am very proud to be a member.
Following 17 years of service, Sheelagh has now retired as reader and becomes Reader Emeritus. Although in her eighties she is still actively involved in the church in many ways. Leading intersessions and bible readings.
After serving in the parish for four years as assistant curate, I was licensed as associate priest on 7th September 2014.
It is a great privilege to serve the people of Chapel Allerton. I have a passion, along with others colleagues, for making the church more visible in the community. To this end I meet with others in the community through CARA. I have volunteered at Chapel Allerton Arts Festival as both steward and litter picker and was a Tour Maker. I believe that as church unless we serve the community in which we live and work we do not live up to the promises we make as Christians. As before I will combine this role with my diocesan role as Personal Assistant to the Director of Mission Resourcing, a part time paid role. I pray constantly that the Holy Spirit will endow me with the skills and energy to give of my best to both roles. May God bless you in your Christian witness to the God who came not to be served but to serve. God grant us humility and wisdom to do likewise.
I have been worshipping at St. Matthew's for over 20 years, ever since I moved into the area when I got married - well, that's not strictly true; I was actually baptised at St. Matthew's as a baby and so my connections stretch back further than I care to remember! I grew up in Alwoodley, attended St. Barnabas Church and came back to St. Matthew's via a time studying in Sheffield.
Over the years my involvement in the worshipping community of St. Matthew's has grown. I have been encouraged and enabled by the support of others. Alongside this my faith and trust in God has deepened despite or perhaps even because of times of sadness and questioning. I feel both excited and privileged to be able to serve Christ in this community.
Born in 1955, I was licensed as a Reader in October 2009. Coming to this point of commitment was a journey of discovery for me – of the joy of learning and receiving (I am now beginning an MA in Theology and Religious Studies) as well as the joy of ministering and giving (in a busy parish such as St. Matthew’s). Although in my fifties, I feel very ‘young-at-heart’!
As a boy I grew up in the Roman Catholic Church, then as a young adult I worshiped in the Baptist Church for 18 years before joining the Church of England in 2000. During this life journey I have been greatly influenced by the spiritualities of Northumbria, Iona, Taize and L’Arche, and I see myself as a deeply ecumenical Christian who rejoices in the diversity of our denominations, here in Chapel Allerton and Meanwood - as together we seek God’s face.
I have been very happily married to Rosie (whom I met at College) since 1982. We have so much in common – apart from our shared Christian faith we are both keen musicians. Both of us work in education with people with learning difficulties, and both are members of the diocesan retreats group for adults with a learning disability. We are also both involved with young people’s groups at St. Matthew’s: Rosie co-leads the junior confirmation group, and I co-lead a youth cell for 12-13 year old's.
One of the joys of St. Matthew’s for me is to see the flowering of the life of God as lived among our wonderfully diverse congregation. I rejoice in the creativity of our young people as seen in the SMASH group, the Family Services and the Youth Eucharist services. I also rejoice when I am part of a family of people worshiping in the Parish Eucharist whilst also having fun together in the annual Barn Dance. Long may it continue.