The Revd Jane Kenchington, Team Rector
Jane has been Rector of Solihull since September 2015, having served in a variety of ministries – Incumbent, Area Dean, Bishop’s Staff, lecturer in theological education. Before ordination, she taught Chemistry in Ghana and in comprehensive schools in the UK. She seems to have spent much of her life pioneering: being the first female curate; being among the first women to be priested in 1994; being the first woman Rector here.
Jane is passionate about people coming to know Jesus and growing in their Christian faith. She delights in variety and believes that one of the great things about this parish is that we can offer a wide variety of worship styles and activities for all ages. She also recognises the need to reach out to people who are not yet Christians and discover new ways of doing this.
She is married to Richard who is a civil engineer and they have two adult daughters. In her spare time, she loves travelling, hill walking, reading and listening to music.
The Revd Simon Marshall, Team Vicar of St Michael’s
Simon Marshall has been part of the team in the Solihull Parish since 2005 and is the Team Vicar of St Michael’s Church and the Priest for the Junction. He is married to Sarah and they have three children.
Simon has a particular interest in the use of poetry and art in prayer and worship, and in the music of the Taizé Community. He is also keen to explore the links between ‘simple living’, minimalism and Christian discipleship.
Simon is a musician and song-writer and his main instruments are guitar and bass. He enjoys playing in a worship setting (when duties allow!) and also in the folk-rock band ‘Eve & the Garden’.
Simon is a writer whose poems have been published in several journals. He is a co-leader of a ‘Forest Church’ group and, in that role, he has contributed to several books on the subject of Christianity and Pagan Spirituality and Nature Spirituality.
The Revd Helen Greenham, Team Vicar of St Helen’s
Linda Hicks, Director of Children’s and Families Ministry
Having initially worked as a Children’s ministry volunteer, Linda had a change of direction following the birth of her children and, instead of returning to a career as a Solicitor, joined the Solihull Parish as a part time Children’s worker and now works full time as the Director of Children’s and Families ministry. The role is hugely varied and exciting and includes overseeing weekly sessions of Praise and Play for parents and under 5s, monthly Messy church (it’s church but it’s messy!) and weekly Oasis sessions where parents meet for friendship and support.
Linda oversees the various forms of Sunday church for children and families around the Parish, regularly leads assemblies in schools and organises seasonal activities like Journey to the Stable and the Easter Journey. Linda also runs the annual First Communion course and the Junior Growth groups that follow on afterwards and regards it as a joy and privilege to be able to share the love of Jesus with the children of Solihull. Linda became a Reader in 2018. In any spare time, Linda enjoys spending time with her family, reading and discussing books with her book group and enjoying the outdoors.
The Revd Dr Samuel Gibson, Assistant Curate
Solihull is Sam’s first post and he was ordained deacon in 2017, and priest in 2018. Sam studied for the priesthood at St Stephen’s House, Oxford. As Curate, he serves across all three churches and is involved in a range of activities.
Before ordination, he trained as an academic in the field of New Testament studies, studying for a PhD on the Byzantine Lectionary at the University of Birmingham. He has published his work and maintains an active interest in theological research. His passion is teaching the Christian faith and studying the Scriptures in as many different contexts as possible, from nurture courses and family services, prayer and fellowship groups, all the way through to university level. He is a Franciscan tertiary, and is also fascinated by the art, prayer and culture of the Eastern Orthodox world.
Sam is married to Charlotte, who is an ordinand, and they have two children who keep them busy. In his spare time he is (variously) an avid reader of novels, a walker, a sci-fi fan, and a lover of rock, folk and choral music.
Joe Cooper, Director of Music
Joe Cooper was a chorister at St Peter’s Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton where he was Head Chorister and Organ Scholar. Joe attended the Birmingham Conservatoire under tutors Henry Fairs and Paul Spicer. Before his appointment at St Alphege he ran the music department at St Bartholomew’s in Penn for five years where he built up a successful choir culminating in tours and the production of CDs.
Now at St Alphege he is determined to give the choirs national acclaim and make the church the centre of music in the town. Emphasis is placed on links with schools and music societies, but of course the most important part of the job is the day-to-day running of the choirs resulting in the exploration of great repertoire and high standards for all choristers involved. Joe has been at St Alphege since October 2012 and welcomes any interest in the choirs and the music department.
Joe Minall, Parish Youth Worker
Joe is the Parish Youth Worker, meaning he works with the young people from year 6 to those in college. Outside of this he enjoys climbing, spending time on mountains, camping and running. He really enjoys working with the youth, and most of the sessions involve ridiculous games, lots of laughter and a chance to deepen their relationship and knowledge in faith.
Alexander Woodrow, Organist
Born in York in 1986, Alexander Woodrow pursues a freelance career as a recitalist, accompanist, choral director and teacher. He moved to Solihull in 2016 and spent two years as Head of Choral Music at Solihull School. This followed nine years of working in cathedral music, first holding organ scholarships at Guildford and St Albans Cathedrals, then working at Hexham Abbey as Assistant Organist, before moving to Bradford, where he was Organist and Director of Music at Bradford Cathedral for almost five years, while simultaneously responsible for the choral ensembles at Bradford Grammar School.
He now combines roles as Organist to the Solihull Parish, based at St Alphege Church, with those of Organist and Accompanist to Warwick School, Visiting Music Teacher at Solihull School, Musical Director of the Shifnal Chorale and Repetiteur to Lichfield Cathedral Chorus, as well as continuing to perform organ recitals across the country.
Alexander read music as Organ Scholar at Magdalene College, Cambridge, studying with Anne Page. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists at the age of 19, winning first prizes in all categories, including the Limpus Prize. He is also a Fellow of Trinity College London and a recipient of the Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. Solo organ recitals have taken Alexander to many of the major churches and Cathedrals of the UK, including York Minster, King’s College and St John’s College, Cambridge and Westminster Abbey.
Neil Eaton, Parish Warden
Neil has been a parish warden since November 2017, but has worshipped in the parish for over 25 years.
He is a keen cyclist and having grown up in Wolverhampton, he is a lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers football fan.
He is married to Catherine and they have two grown up children. Catherine and Neil are part of the parish’s marriage preparation team, leading sessions for those getting married in the parish.
Deirdre Moll, Parish Warden
Deirdre has been a parish warden since April 2016 and has been part of the congregation of St Alphege since moving to Solihull in 1994.
She is the Diocesan President of Mothers’ Union Birmingham and is on Diocesan Synod and a member of Bishop’s Council. She is part of the Town Centre Chaplaincy Team
Deirdre is married to Richard and they have two grown up children.
Beryl Moppett MBE, Reader
Beryl was admitted as a Reader in the Birmingham diocese in January 1995 and has for the most part exercised this ministry at St Helen’s apart for three years when she helped at St Peter and St Paul Kingsbury.
She has a Mathematics degree and began her working life by carrying out industrial research for British Gas in the course of which she re- located from London to Solihull. In the mid 80’s Beryl changed career and taught mathematics for eighteen years at Handsworth Wood Girl’s School then staying on to work as a part-time librarian until 2011.
For many years Beryl has led the Town Centre Chaplaincy team which now visits the majority of the shops in the town centre on a regular basis. She also represents the Anglican church on the Solihull Faiths Forum.
Beryl has great concern over the future of our planet and coordinate the Birmingham Anglican Climate Action group which was very proactive in helping the Birmingham diocese gain the Eco diocese bronze award in November 2018. She is a member of Birmingham Diocesan Synod, and has two sons and three granddaughters.
In June 2017 Beryl was awarded an MBE for work in the community.
Paul Smith, Verger
Paul is part-time verger at St Alphege Church. His role includes preparing the church for services and also a pastoral element in welcoming and encouraging those that use the church.
Paul has many years of experience working in caring environments which is useful in the nurturing aspect of his current role. It is imperative in the role to present a friendly face to visitors and worshippers to encourage their faith to grow. Paul works as part of the team to encourage people to grow in faith, and also works closely with our many volunteers, without whom the church could not operate.
Viv Dobson, Parish Safeguarding Coordinator
Viv has been working on safeguarding in the Parish since 2016.
She has been worshipping in the Parish for over 30 years and has worked closely with the choir, Sunday schools and the Junction and youth during this time.
She can be contacted directly on all safeguarding matters at email@example.com or on 07960 783636.
More biographies to follow:
The Revd Sue Chandler, Children’s Worker
Lynn Smart, Youth Asisstant
Chris Carrington, Reader
Stephen Linstead, Reader
Paul Smith, Reader
The Revd John Bradford, Assisting Priest
The Revd Canon Andrew Hutchinson, Assisting Priest