OUR STAFF TEAM
The staff team are a dedicated bunch of multi-talented people. Here’s a bit about the people you'll find on a weekly basis in the church office.
Rev. Canon Chris Russell, Vicar
Chris is the Vicar at St Laurence and has been here since 2001 working to the mandate of building a multi-generational community, with a particular mission amongst young people. Chris trained for the Ordained Ministry at Ridley Hall during which he also did an M Phil in Dogmatic Theology at Cambridge University. He was ordained in 1996 and later made a Canon of Christchurch Cathedral Oxford in 2013. Alongside his role as Vicar of St Laurence, he also works part-time as the Archbishop’s Advisor for Evangelism & Witness at Lambeth Palace on Wednesdays & Thursdays. He is married to the beautiful Belinda and has three lovely girls: Hope, Jessie & Dora.
Rev. Chris Jones, Associate Vicar
Chris is our Associate Vicar and joined Saint Laurence in September 2017 to work with the team in shaping and growing the church through its mission. Before joining Saint Laurence Chris completed his curacy at St Luke’s Watford, having trained for ordination at Trinity College Bristol. He previously worked for J.John’s ministry, Philo Trust, as the Graphics and Resources Manager for 12 years. Chris is married to Becky, who was part of the team that left Soul Survivor Watford to join the Russells in 2001; they have three children, Ollie, Jasmine and Levison, and a bouncy cockapoo called Banksy.
Amy Sykes, Pastoral & Safeguarding Lead
Amy ensures our young people are cared for well as we find & express our woven & collective shape, joyfully fulfilling our calling to be an inclusive & kind family. She serves the church by facilitating safe structures, transparent culture & goodpractice to enable the community to freely & creatively dream dreams, leading to hope-filled expressions of new forms of church with young people.
Amy studied English with Theology BA, & gained a distinction in her Social Work MA. She’s worked in churches, schools & charities for young people. She’s fostered, been a youth worker for RBC Young Carers, & practised as a professional advocate for Looked After children & teens. She’s trained & supervised volunteer mentors of Looked After Children & young people. She’s worked in prison with all categories & ages of offenders, including young offenders.
Amy has worked in prison with all categories and ages of offenders, including young offenders. She has practised as a child protection Social Worker in South Oxfordshire, Reading and Wokingham (including the MASH Team).
She is married to John, ‘proud wearer of un-ironed shirts’ Sykes; and is mum to Jai, Herbie, Hettie and Sammy. Seeing her belting out ‘Heart 80s’ classics over the washing up provides the truest window into her soul.
Amy is available to practice as an advocate for young people in a range of external contexts, including statutory processes; and she remains a registered Social Worker, so she can continue to bring reflections from best practice to our ministry with young people at St Laurence.
Marion Shepherd, Finance Administrator
Marion is a self-employed Finance Administrator and has responsibility for the day-to-day management of the church finances and the reconciliation of all income and expenditure. Marion is a member of LifeSpring Church where she is employed as their Finance Administrator and she also supports Reading Family Church in this as well. Marion is married with 2 grown up children and has recently become a Nanna to William.
Zanelle Brackin, Youth Counsellor
Zanelle is a qualified counsellor who offers specialist support to our young people as well as other clients elsewhere on a contract basis. She’s been part of the team since 2015 and is a committed member of the worshipping community at The Globe, Reading where she’s been for 2 years. She is married to Vaundel.