Ministry Team

Rector, Rev David Thomas

DavidThomasDavid Thomas joined St. Mary’s in 2009 having previously been Rector of Wivenhoe, outside Colchester, where he was also Director of the Centre for Theology and Society at Essex University. He studied at Durham and Cambridge Universities before completing his theological training at Westcott House. He and his wife, Alison, have two daughters –adopted sisters Cofi and Chanice and now (2015) 3 grandchildren.

David has been a dedicated Arsenal supporter for over 50 years, has played social cricket and pool in the Essex League and follows the Welsh rugby team. He is interested in railways, both great and small, likes walking and reading (primarily European history and philosophy). He has travelled widely in Africa – between studies – Asia and especially Europe. He is chair of ‘ Faith in Europe’ the British Churches’ body dealing with European affairs.

David can be contacted on 01277 220360

Associate Minister, Rev Eileen Lockhart

EileenLockhartEileen has been at St Mary’s since she was ordained as curate in 1998 . She previously attended church at All Saints, Doddinghurst. A qualified teacher, Eileen has an MA in Pastoral Theology from Anglia Ruskin University, as well as a BA (Hons) from the Open University. Eileen is an Associate Minister at St Mary’s and she is also the Beginning Theology Co-ordinator at St Mellitus College.

Eileen lives in Wyatt’s Green, with her husband Terry. She has three grown-up children, three grandchildren and one more on the way. Eileen enjoys singing with the Hutton and Shenfield Choral Society.

Eileen belongs to the National Trust, English Heritage and the R.H.S.


Licensed Lay Minister, Canon Paul Betts

PaulBettsPaul was born locally, and educated at Brentwood School and King’s College, London, where he studied Classics at both degree and postgraduate level; in addition, he took the optional A.K.C. (Associate of King’s College) course and discovered an interest in Theology. He belongs to the National Trust, English Heritage and the Royal Horticultural Society and enjoys visiting places of beauty and/or historical interest.

Paul has been part of the St Mary’s congregation since the late 1950s and was invited to join a new band of Servers in 1962. He was asked to lead the Servers in 1976. He has been a member of the Mission & Unity Committee for many years, becoming Chairman in the early 1990s. Around this time he began to represent St Mary’s on the local Ecumenical Coordinating Committee, the forerunner of Churches Together in Hutton & Shenfield, of which he was the first Chairman. He was Churchwarden from 1996 to 2002. On retiring from a career in teaching, he embarked on the diocesan Course in Christian Studies, which led to Reader training; he was licensed as a Reader in 2007. He now edits the weekly newsletter, TheLink. He is currently serving as Lay Chair of the Brentwood Deanery Synod.

Paul can be contacted on 01277 228497.

Reader-Emeritus, Lacey Halford

LacyHalfordLacey was born in Lincolnshire and educated at Spalding High School for Girls and at Goldsmiths’ College, London, where she trained as a teacher. For the last fifteen years of her career she was Head Teacher of St Thomas of Canterbury Infant School, Brentwood.

After retirement she took the diocesan Course in Christian Studies followed by Reader Training. She was licensed as a Reader in 1995 and retired as a Reader in December 2014.

Lacey lives in Worrin Road with her husband Frank. They have three sons and five grandchildren. Lacey enjoys reading, poetry, art and classical music. She is a founder member of St Mary’s Open Branch and a member of Mothers’ Union.


Churchwarden, Dr Norman Randall

NormanRandallNorman became a Churchwarden in 2011, having been a deputy for the five previous years. He has been involved in fundraising at St Mary’s for quite a while both for the new organ and then by heading the Charities fundraising group for 5-6 years.

He currently chairs the Communications Committee, which has responsibility for publishing the Parish Magazine, the church website, The Link (weekly newsletter) and other publications. Norman considers himself a real southerner, having been born in Brighton and, together with his wife and three daughters, he only moved to Essex because his work bought him here. He studied Chemistry at university and then worked in the pharmaceutical industry until retiring. He is a keen photographer, likes “playing with computers”, watching Formula 1 and looking after his garden.

Norman can be contacted on 01277 232193

Churchwarden, Mr John Bridger

JohnBridgerJohn became a Churchwarden in 2012, having been a deputy for the six previous years. Since 1993 he has also been a member of the Church Land & Buildings Committee and one of the PCC appointed trustees on the Parish Hall Management Committee. For many years he has sung in St Mary’s Church choir. He also sings with two other choirs, the South West Essex Choir (a large choral society) and The Harsnett Choir who sing services at English Cathedrals.

John was born in Ilford and moved to Shenfield when he married Sylvia. He was a Consultant Electrical Engineer until retirement.

John Can be contacted on 01277 219853