The South Kent Circuit has a team of Ministers who work together to cover the large geographical area we represent. The circuit is led by our Superintendent who is supported by 3 Presbyters and 1 Deacon, a short biography of each follows. If you wish to contact any of the Ministers please use the contact page on this website.
Superintendent: Rev Sam Funnell
I grew up in Hastings with my parents David and Diane and after a few years, my younger brother Jonathan. I went to local schools and after my A levels left to start a career in banking with Lloyds Bank, as it was then. After around 12 years in the bank I worked as part of a new Credit Union team, still in Hastings, helping those who needed basic financial services.
I was always part of my local Methodist Church (St Helen’s in Ore village) and through my work there in Sunday School and Girls’ Brigade eventually felt a call to the ordained presbyteral ministry. After the thorough testing of the candidating process I trained on an ecumenical course with SEITE (South East Institute for Theological Education) for three years, part time. It was a great experience to train with friends from the Anglican and United Reformed Churches.
I began my public ministry as a probationer presbyter in 2001 in the Purley Circuit (now in the London District) with the care of two Methodist churches and one Methodist/URC. In 2006 I moved to the Medway Circuit in North Kent until where I have been for the past five years.
I am also interested in the whole area of supporting people as a mentor and I help out as part of the District Candidates Committee and as one of the District Mentors for candidates portfolios. (If you’re interested in this – just ask me!)
I am now looking forward to the new challenges that God will bring in the South Kent Circuit: building a new circuit with a strong sense of unity, as Ashford and Folkestone circuits merge; integrating into and working with a new staff team and my first post as a Superintendent. This will, of course, run alongside the continuing of the ministry of word and sacrament, pastoral care and enabling that are the staples of our life together in Christ.
When not working (yes, that does happen!) I like to sleep, read, climb hills (little ones) and eat food other people have cooked as my own cooking leaves a lot to be desired!
My hope is that TOGETHER we can work to ‘build each other up in love’ as we learn how to be God’s people in our new circuit of South Kent.
Rev Kevin Taylor
Hello. I am transferring from the Orpington and Chislehurst Circuit of the London District, where I have served for 5 years. I was ordained as a Presbyter on the 25th of June 2006 after serving my probationary period with the London Mission (Plumstead) Circuit. Although I trained for ministry for about 8 years until ordination, I did not retire from the Metropolitan Police Service until April 2005. My final post was in charge of the Emergency Procedures section at New Scotland Yard, which covered disaster response and victim recovery. This included multi-faith work, training sessions with the military and the training of volunteer chaplains for disaster scenes. I was also a trained negotiator for sieges and suicide intervention.I have studied and qualified in Anatomy and Physiology, Reflexology and Head Massage and my interests include running, fell walking, cycling, swimming and (fair weather!) motorcycling. I believe that it is important to try to keep the mind and body as active as possible if they are to function at their best. I read whenever I can and as someone who has always actively studied and used various foreign languages (I have no expectation of ever
becoming a mathematician or a scientist!) I have, within the last three years, been studying Italian.
I have a son, Stuart, who is a police officer on a specialist firearms team and a daughter, Heather (27yrs), who is studying psychology at degree level and who funds herself by working as a fully qualified, self-employed painter and decorator.
Rev Dr Phillip Luscombe
I began circuit ministry in the old London South East District. Laurel and I lived in Bermondsey and Crystal Palace, but I became familiar with the Kent Churches through synod and committees. Our son was born at Guy’s Hospital. After ten years we moved to Durham where I was minister and then took over the running of the Wesley Study Centre, continuing a long involvement with the training of ministers. Whilst we were in Durham, Laurel trained as a social worker.We have lived and worked in Cambridge since 1999, where we have thoroughly enjoyed the great ecumenical breadth of the Cambridge Theological Federation. At Wesley House we work with Anglicans of all varieties, and the United Reformed Church, as well as Orthodox and Catholic groups. The Federation has an inter-faith dimension through Centres for Jewish-Christian and Muslim-Jewish relations, an increasingly important sign of co-operation in these times. My own interests include the teaching of preaching and doctrine, as well as the relations of science and religion – I studied physics for my first degree. I have worked ecumenically (and sometimes taught ecumenism) for the past twenty years, but have never worked ecumenically in circuit, so I relish the prospect of working collaboratively with a United Reformed minister, and the Local Ecumenical Partnership.
Our son, Ben, is now married and living in South London. He works as a civil servant. Laurel and I are looking forward to engaging with Church and Circuit life in a new way when we move to Ashford in the summer.
Rev Paul Dean
As a United Reformed minister I am also authorised to serve in the South Kent Methodist Circuit. Married to Rowena who works for the charity Mind, we have been together since student days at Durham University. We began married life in Lancaster and moved to Oxford when I commenced ordination training at Mansfield College, Oxford.My first ministry was in a joint pastorate at Farnham in Surrey and at St Mark’s, Bordon Shared Church in Hampshire (a Church of England, Methodist and URC team ministry). The next move was to Hertfordshire to serve as minister at Homewood Road URC (a United Reformed Church in St Albans that was formerly Presbyterian). The Dean of St Albans invited me to be Free Church Ecumenical Chaplain at the Cathedral & Abbey Church of St Alban. Then it was on to Surrey to be minister of Godalming United Church (Methodist & United Reformed) and during that time the church signed an additional local covenant with the Farncombe & Godalming Group Ministry (including the Anglican churches of St Mark, Ss Peter & Paul and St John the Evangelist).
My current role as United Reformed minister in Ashford involves collaborative ministry with Methodist minister Revd Dr Philip Luscombe. Together we serve the United Church in Ashford (Methodist & URC) and the Methodist Churches in the villages of Charing and Wye. I am also Ecumenical Officer for the East Kent Area of the URC Southern Synod. My interests include vegetarian cooking and overseas links including Hungary and Palestine/Israel.
Deacon Carys Woodley
I am in my second appointment as a Deacon, having served in North Lincolnshire first which was a rural circuit. I am passionate about rural ministry as I care about encouraging a Christian presence in small communities. I strongly believe in listening, encouraging and prayer. As a Deacon, my time is especially given to local communities and I am released from Presbyter’s church commitments and duties. The London Mission funds my ministry.
I was born in Shropshire and grew up in the Methodist tradition and became a member when I was seventeen. Then I moved to Somerset where I worked in a “Westerley” Care Home. I became a Local Preacher and saw the need for a circuit youth group which I then started. In Minehead, I met my husband Iain. Later I candidated for Diaconal Ministry and I obtained a degree in Theology.
As a Deacon I have a “Rule of Life” which means I endeavour to have a balance in each day, week, month or year. This means that I take time for self in the midst of commitments. To relax I love reading, walking and camping. I have a cat that is an important part of my life.
For more information about Deacons in the Methodist church read our blog post What is a Deacon?