Andrew taught mathematics in secondary schools for eight years before training for the Methodist ministry at Wesley College, Bristol. He was appointed to serve in The Methodist Church in the Caribbean and Americas and worked for four years in St Vincent and four years in Grenada.
On returning to Britain in 2001 he was sent to Stoke-on-Trent South as a Circuit Minister, where he remained until his appointment to be Superintendent in the Thames Valley.
Andrew is married to Jill and they live in Slough. Jill is in the middle of a two year term as President of the newly launched Methodist Women in Britain . This has taken her to all parts of the British Isles, and to Africa twice over the last 12 months.
Their elder son, Tim, lives at home with them and worships at St Andrew's Methodist Church. Tim is working in London as a Communications Intern with the Westminster Foundation, and enjoying it very much. He is on trial as a Local Preacher and is exploring the pulpits of the Thames Valley Circuit, as well as studying Faith and Worship. Their younger son, Peter, who died tragically in July 2012, was a gifted young man who inspired many with his skills in the dramatic arts as he portrayed stories of people in the Bible.
Andrew is a keen supporter of Leeds United – and hopes for better things each year. He enjoys walking in the mountains (and has not found any near Slough!) but has been exploring London, using the Thames Path. This year Andrew has pastoral charge of the congregations at St Andrew's (English and Urdu speaking), Woodlands Park and Cookham Rise, sharing involvement in Cookham with other members of the staff team.
Margaret is a qualified teacher who taught in Guildford and then Thanet between 1978 and 2002, finishing as Head of Faculty. This time included ten years in Whitstable as a full-time Youth and Community Worker, and also as leader of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme in the area.
Margaret has wide ecumenical experience, and has been heavily involved in leading and working in ecumenical youth projects. She has worked in town and city chaplaincy, and provided pastoral care in schools.
After a spell of caring for her mother, in 2007 she returned to teaching, this time in a secure training centre.
A lifelong Methodist, Margaret has held many posts in her local church and circuit, plus a time as District Secretary for worship among young people. After responding to the call to become a minister, she trained for the Methodist ministry at Wesley House in Cambridge.
Margaret is a fully qualified badminton and fencing coach! Her hobbies include playing the keyboard and “prayerful painting” (which uses art and creativity for healing). She and her sister are both religious historians.
Margaret has pastoral charge of the congregations at Windsor, Old Windsor and Colnbrook & Poyle.
Sonia worked as a Bank Clerk for four and a half years before training for the Methodist ministry at Queen's Theological College, Birmingham. Sonia and her husband Conrad (who is also a Methodist minister) were then stationed to the High Wycombe Circuit for two years followed by four years in the Watford Circuit.
In 1998, the family went to serve in the Jamaica District of the Methodist Church of the Caribbean and the Americas. Having job-shared whilst in the UK, both were appointed as Superintendents in neighbouring circuits. Sonia was assigned to the Manchioneal Circuit with pastoral charge of five rural congregations.
After five years, Sonia and her family moved to Ireland where they have spent the last nine years working in the Dublin North Circuit in the Republic of Ireland.
Sonia and Conrad have three adult children: Nathan, Olivia and Nyasha. Nathan is finishing a Masters Course at Leicester University. Olivia will be starting the second year of the Creative Writing course at Manchester Metropolitan University and Nyasha has just completed the equivalent of A-levels in the Republic of Ireland.
Conrad will be living in Mexico for the majority of this first year as an Exchange Experience Placement volunteer with the Methodist Church there. He hopes to be stationed in the UK as from 2013.
Sonia is the pastoral minister for Ledger's Road, Hampshire Avenue, Burnham and Eton Wick Churches.
Gary, Vicky and Sarah come to Maidenhead – and to the Thames Valley Circuit – after seven years in what the Chair of District called the “leafy lanes of Kent”. (Sarah, of course, remembers only two of those seven years – the two in which she has been Head of the Homewood household!) In his last appointment Gary had charge of six churches and seven congregations with chapels as much as twenty miles apart. The roads were indeed mostly leafy, but traffic reduced to the speed of the slowest tractor is actually on a par with the M4 for the banishment of peace of mind and punctuality!
Gary trained for the Presbyteral Ministry at S.T.E.T.S. (Southern Theological Education Training Scheme), based at Sarum College in Salisbury, where, throughout the three years of the course, he worked and studied alongside both Anglican and U.R.C. students.
In a much more dim and distant past, Gary worked for the National Health Service in his home town of Brighton, and it was at this time, when he and Vicky attended Patcham Methodist Church, that they penned, produced, directed and starred in the most notorious of their pantomimes (see Crimewatch for details), and also produced shows like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Godspell (in which Gary played God ... for the only time in his life). And, no, you do not ever ask Gary to sing!
Meanwhile Vicky is far the more sensible half of the team. A Welsh-born life-long Methodist, she has variously been a Lay Worker and a Youth Worker for the Methodist Church, and most recently she was Head of Religious Education and Head of Upper School at Kent College, Pembury, one of a number of schools actually owned by the Methodist Church. Vicky is also a Local Preacher, but now, of course, a busy mother, too.
The Head of the Homewood Household, Sarah Carenza Homewood, arrived on 6 September 2008, and Gary had the great joy of baptizing her on her first birthday at Headcorn Methodist Church (Kent), where, in 1887, Gary's grandfather had been baptized. Sarah is currently studying all the episodes of Mr Tumble she can find and is a world-renowned authority on the Australian children's entertainers The Wiggles , most of whose DVDs she has already worn out. (The claim that Daddy has vowed to shoot them all on sight remains unproven.)
And that is a very brief introduction to the gang currently in residence at Priesthaus (which also includes three chickens). Doubtless you will get to know them better soon, and they are most certainly looking forward to getting to know you.
Gary is the pastoral minister for High Street Maidenhead and St Mark's Crescent Churches.
Andy was born in Okehampton (Devon) where he spent the first 30 years of his life. His father was a carpenter and both grandfathers were farmers, hence his love of being outdoors. He is married to Lynn and they have two daughters, Leanne and Maxine in their early 20s, both still living at home. Lynn (in Andy's words “the better half of our partnership”) was born in Rainham (Essex). In 1983/4 she spent a year at Cliff College before training in Family and Community Care in Plymouth.
Andy's career includes working as a Builder's Labourer (while learning a few skills), as a Cheese Factory Operative, and for ten years at a Builder's Merchants where he qualified as a Wood Machinist ... and a few other things!
In 1992 he left his beloved Okehampton and Dartmoor and trained for the Diaconal Ministry at Westhill and Selly Oak Colleges in Birmingham. He comes to the Thames Valley after completing ten years in the Peterborough Circuit after previous appointments in Telford (Shropshire) and Bristol.
Andy was brought up in a strong Methodist tradition. However, his involvement with a number of denominations over the years has emphasised for him the importance of being “Christian”. He has been involved with youth, schools, Chaplaincy, community, outreach, all with a strong ecumenical basis.
Andy describes himself as easy-going, friendly, open, reflective, someone who enjoys meeting people and always ready for a laugh. He loves the “great outdoors” including walking, photography and bird-watching. He loves watching sport when possible, especially rugby union and cricket. He is also a follower of Man U (bad news for Andrew; good news for Gary!)
Andy and Lynn are looking forward to being part of the Thames Valley Circuit where he will be concentrating his efforts on outreach in the community, particularly in the Chalvey and Manor Park areas of Slough.