Barry Lotz – Put me in the garden, with chocolate and some coffee, and Celeste (my spouse) nearby and I’m as happy as Larry. Well, Barry. Our family lived in Devon when we arrived here from South Africa in 1995 and we still think we are (slightly) Devonian. After two years at Wesley House, Cambridge, I was stationed to Yorkshire West Methodist District (Leeds District at the time), so we’re a bit Yorkshire too, we like to think. We came to Milton Keynes as an expression of my commitment to ecumenism and to be closer to our two sons and their spouses who live here. One of them has three sons of his own, of whom we are ever so proud. The other is expecting their first, whom we are looking forward to meet mid-January and are very excited about it. Have I shown you their latest picture, yet? Barry is Lead Minister in the Watling Valley Ecumenical Partnership and has pastoral oversight at All Saints’, Loughton and St Giles’, Tattenhoe.
Carolyn Sanderson is an authorised preacher in Walton LEP, a former Diocesan Officer, and a published hymnwriter. She has also worked as a counsellor, trainer, adult educator and teacher of English Literature. She has a PhD in Sixteenth Century French Literature.
Gill Barrow-Jones is Rector of the Benefice of Wolverton. She loves being a parish priest and the variety of people, situations and experiences of God that this brings.
John Robertson is the Director of Ecumenical Mission for the Milton Keynes Mission Partnership. Following six years in industry, John trained for the ministry at Cambridge where he graduated with a 1st in Theology and received the prize for Biblical Studies. He has taught in a wide range of settings from parish groups to university programmes. For coMPass he has delivered courses on Understanding Faith, Sharing Faith and with his wife, Sue, Beginning to Pray.
Katharine Crowsley is the pioneer leader of Cook@Chapel Fresh Expression of Church in Hanslope. She is course leader of the Thames Valley Mission Shaped Ministry Course and has completed a degree in Pioneer Ministry at Church Mission Society, Oxford.
Keith Straughan – Fr Keith (Revd Prof Keith Straughan to give him his full title) has always been a confused soul. When he was at school, he couldn’t decide whether to read, physics, medicine or theology at university. So, he ended up doing all three! Keith’s first degree in pure physics opened his eyes wide to the wonders and intricacies of creation and the power of mathematics as a language to describe it. The passion for medicine never quite left him, so there followed a Doctorate in radiological imaging when Keith was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to be on the team which commissioned the first clinical MRI scanner in the world. Eventually, theology caught up with him, and that was followed by ordination as an Anglican priest. Before moving to MK, Keith held senior academic and priestly posts at Cambridge University. He previously held faculty posts at Imperial College and several London medical schools, and was the founder of five high-tech start-up companies. He first came to MK to head-up the project to develop the new University for Milton Keynes. Having taken early retirement, Keith now works as Associate Priest in the Walton Churches Partnership. He maintains his scholarly interests in theology and technology and is active as a consultant in higher education and technology. He is the author of 113 papers and 6 patents.
Peter Ballantine – Retired from 42 years of ordained ministry, Peter still carries on his teaching and educational ministry.
Sharon Grenham-Thompson originally qualified as a solicitor, and then went on to be ordained in the Anglican Church in 1998. She is a minister within the Watling Valley Ecumenical Partnership, in the West of Milton Keynes, as well as Assistant Area Dean for the Anglican Deanery of Milton Keynes. Sharon spent a number of years as a full-time prison chaplain, with postings at Oakhill STC and HMP Woodhill in MK, before becoming the Senior Chaplain at HMP Bedford, where she led a large multi-faith team caring for male prisoners. Over the past two decades she has also been a regular contributor to BBC Radio Religion and Ethics, including Radio 2’s ‘Pause For Thought’ and Radio 4’s ‘Daily Service’, ‘Sunday Worship’ and ‘Prayer for the Day.’ In 2010 Sharon won a Jerusalem Award for a radio broadcast about mental health. Her book, ‘Jail Bird’, is available to order from most book outlets, and was featured in national media, as well as at the Cheltenham Literature festival, in 2016. Sharon still writes for ‘Inside Times’, the national newspaper for prisoners.
Tim Norwood is currently the Anglican Area Dean, but has been in and out of Milton Keynes since he was six. He spends a lot of time dealing with organisational issues, but has a passion for building up churches so they can change the world. He has a particular interest in communication and coordinated our Christmas advertising campaigns.
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Back in October we told you about gentlespaces, the network of bereavement support groups we are setting up across Milton Keynes. We are delighted to say that we have now revised our offer to make it available via zoom until such time as we are able to meet physically with more consistency.
This Spring we will be running three coMPass courses: ‘What shall we tell the kids?’, ‘Worship: a Spring Clean’ and ‘Being a resilient church’.
We hope you enjoyed our Advent Reflections 2020: ‘Hidden in Christ’. We’re pleased to introduce a new series of reflections for the Season of Epiphany written by Rev. Matt Trendall – Epiphany Reflections 2021: ‘Looking for Light’.