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.


Vicar Rev. Canon Chris Russell

Vicar
Rev. Canon Chris Russell


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.


Associate Vicar Rev. Chris Jones

Associate Vicar
Rev. Chris Jones


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 two children, Ollie and Jasmine, and a bouncy cockapoo called Banksy.


Vicar’s PA & Office Manager Claire Brown

Vicar’s PA & Office Manager
Claire Brown

Claire is the Office Manager & Chris’ PA at St Laurence and has been on staff since 2013. She provides administrative & advisory support to Chris and enables the smooth running of the office with specific responsibilities for Service Administration, Events & HR. She also oversees the Financial Administration. Previously she worked in various administrative and fundraising management roles within other churches and the charity sector. Claire qualified as an Occupational Therapist at Brunel University in 2012 but decided to take on her role at St Laurence instead of pursuing this as a career. Claire is married to Ben, the church Treasurer and together they have been part of the church community since 2009. They have 2 children, Noveah and Gibson.


Admin & Finance Support
March - October 2017

Lorraine Briffitt

Lorraine's role is as our temporary Admin & Finance Support, supporting Claire with HR, Events and Admin. She took on the role in July. Previously, she's had various roles in the charitable sector (from support worker to CEO) and continues her passion for local social action and strategic partnership by wearing a few other hats (like Chair of Reading City of Sanctuary, Reading Police's Independent Advisory Board and ad hoc consultancy). 

Lorraine's been at St Laurence's since September 2003 (a LONG time!), is married to the very patient Tim, and is Elisa's mummy. She's a big fan of good music and is rather opinionated on what 'good' is.  She'll eat almost anything with dark chocolate, ginger or sorbet in it, and (so say others) has a *rather* mischievous sense of humour. 


Youth Work Director Chris West

Youth Work Director
Chris West



Westy, as he is better known, completed a Youth & Community Work and Applied Theology Degree from the Centre for Youth Ministry Oxford in 2007 and took on the role as YWD that same year. Westy has oversight of all the youth work we undertake as a community. He is married to the lovely Gem - one of the ‘original’ team who moved to Reading with the Russells in 2001 - and they have a charmingly cheeky daughter, Phoebe. When Westy isn’t working, he can be found in his workshop making amazing things with wooden pallets.


Lead Children’s Worker Connor Heath

Lead Children’s Worker
Connor Heath




Connor is the newest member of the team, having joined in April 2017 although has been part of the community since 2008. He has ‘grown up’ in the church, joining us on our 2009 Uganda Mission. He brings huge amounts of energy and enthusiasm to our children’s work and is also a Lead Youth Worker for a church in Twyford.


Youth Counsellor Zanelle Brackin

Youth Counsellor
Zanelle Brackin



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.