OUR STAFF TEAM
The staff team are a dedicated bunch of multi-talented(ish) 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's role is to work with the team, to ensure our young people are cared for well as we joyfully fulfil our calling to be an inclusive & kind family. She serves the church by facilitating safe structures, transparent culture & good practice, as the community welcome young people.
Amy has an English BA and Social Work MA. She’s worked with young people, for churches, schools, charities, in prison; as an advocate, a foster carer, a youth worker, and as a teacher. She has recruited, trained and supervised adult volunteers working with young people. Amy has practised as a child protection social worker in South Oxfordshire, Reading and Wokingham (including the MASH Team).
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.
Megan Sawyer, Girls Worker
Megan is our Girls Worker and joined St Laurence in July 2018. She grew up by the seaside in Southampton and before moving up to Reading, studied English Language and Linguistics at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.
Megan then spent a year as the Youth Intern at St Barnabas Church, and has since worked as a coach for Resurgo Spear, an employability and personal development programme for disadvantaged young people in London.
Megan’s favourite things in life are tea, all things hygge, and good grammar!
Office availability: Mon, Tue, Wed & Thu
SHERLON BARTENBACH, YOUTH TEAM MEMBER
From Sherlon in his own words…
Hey hey, s’up, how are you? That’s great. Yes, I’m good thank you. I’m Sherlon, nice to meet you. I’m 19 and I live with my lovely mum, my brother and my sister (they’re also lovely, but not as great as mummy haha!). I’ve been part of St Laurence since I was 13, so for quite some time now. It’s been great here.
Fun fact - I only eat carrots when they’re cooked. Anyway, if you see me, come and say “hey hey” or “s’up”, I’m happy to have a chat.
Office availability: Mon, Tue & ad hoc.
eloise ward, children’s worker
Eloise has been part of the St Laurence Church family she she herself was one of its children! She’s gone away to uni, done well, graduated and now returned to help shape our community by investing in the lives of our children and families.
More from Eloise in her own words, soon … !