Revd Catherine Bowstead
We're coming to Wokingham after 11 very happy years in Colchester where I've had pastoral charge of 3 busy churches – one in the town centre and two congregations to the north of the town; one a young church plant and the other a more established congregation. Colchester has changed a lot in those 11 years as the rapid housing development has made it the fastest growing town in the UK. Before that we had 7 years in Southend-on-Sea and my first appointment was in Epsom. Before entering the Methodist Ministry I was a primary school teacher.
I'm married to Mike who works as a Tax Inspector – he'll be working at HMRC in Reading. He is a Local Preacher and enjoys singing. We have two young adult children; James has just graduated from university and will be spending the next year as Resident Organist at Pangbourne College whilst on Sundays he'll be Organ Scholar at All Saints Church in Fulham. Hannah is reading for a degree in Classics at Cambridge and is about to start her second year. She enjoys singing and a variety of crafts.
My particular joys in ministry are preaching and leading worship. I love being with people and enabling them to find and use their gifts, and I enjoy working with children and families. In my spare time I enjoy walking, reading and music.
I'm very much looking forward to getting to know you over the coming months, and keenly anticipating working alongside you for God's Kingdom. I hope and pray that I shall be able to use my gifts and insights to further God's work in this place. Please be patient as I try to learn your names, learn my way around the place and discover about our church family here in Wokingham.
Revd Sharon Gardner
I’m thrilled that my first post as a Methodist Minister is with Bagshot, Crowthorne and Sandhurst & Yateley churches. Prior to coming to live in Crowthorne, Mike and I were in Fleet for 29 years. Our three children grew up there and have since started families of their own. As I write this we are the proud grandparents of two small grandchildren with two more expected before the month is up!
During those years I worked with junior school children as a Special Needs Assistant and then in both primary and secondary schools as a Christian Schools Worker (an outreach funded by Churches Together). Latterly I have worked for Hampshire Libraries, during which time I was finally able to respond to God’s call to ordained ministry, training part-time at Queen’s College in Birmingham.
Mike works as a Sales & Marketing Director for a UK packaging company based in Wrexham. He’s an active football referee and also a Watford FC season ticketholder. As you can perhaps tell from that, he has a great sense of humour which comes to the fore when he devises and runs quizzes for local concerns and charities.
Having been a Methodist all my life, I have been very involved in the lay work of the Church and one of my joys is seeing how congregations share their gifts with one another and with the communities they serve. It is a wonderful witness to the Body of Christ in action. I’m looking forward to working with my three churches as we get to know and love one another, rejoicing in the gifts that God has given to each and together discovering God’s plans for us.
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