Our Ministers

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 the Superintendent who is supported by a mixed team of Methodist, URC and Anglican colleagues, 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 Funnellsam

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 grew up in 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 where I spent another five years caring for three Methodist churches that met on four different worship sites. Since 2011 I have served as the Superintendent Minister here in the South Kent Circuit and have the great privilege of working with a great team of people, churches and colleagues.

I am interested in the whole area of supporting people in ministry and those seeking to discern if God is calling them into ministry. I help out as Chaplain to the District Candidates Committee and am one of the District Mentors for candidates’ portfolios.

In my ‘down time’ I like to walk with my dog Daisy, read, catch up on my sleep, visit friends and family and eat food other people have cooked as my own cooking leaves a lot to be desired!

This is a good place to live and be in ministry. As a Circuit we continue to journey together, with God and each other, in this small part of the world where God has placed us.

Rev Kevin Taylor

kevinHello. 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 (ordained in 1984) I combine the half-time role of Synod Ecumenical Officer with that of an authorised presbyter in the South Kent Methodist Circuit. 

I responded to a call to come to Kent in 2012, moving here from Godalming, Surrey where I was minister of the United Church.  Before that I had served in St Albans, Herts where I was also an Ecumenical Chaplain at the Cathedral & Abbey Church; and before that in Farnham, Surrey and Bordon, Hants.  Opportunities for overseas links with Hungary, the USA, The Gambia, and Palestine/Israel have featured in these ministries.   

In the South Kent Circuit I work in collaborative ministry with a Methodist colleague (Revd Dr Philip Luscombe until July 2018, and then Revd Helen Hollands).  In addition to the two congregations of the United Church Ashford, which are Methodist & United Reformed, I also serve at Charing and Tenterden Methodist churches.

With the United Reformed Pastoral Committee for the East Kent area my role is to encourage the provision of pastoral support to 19 congregations, mostly United Reformed, but including 8 Local Ecumenical Partnerships.

I am the URC Southern Synod Ecumenical Development Officer, from March 2018.  The job purpose is “To help equip local churches for ecumenical encounter that “they may all be one” (John 17:21).  The Southern Synod covers “South London to Kent to parts of Surrey and Sussex – we are God’s people in 160 local congregations committed to supporting and resourcing one another to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ.”

I am married to Rowena, who is Resources Director for Mind in Camden.  Outside our work we are members of Ashford Astronomical Society, enjoy bread making and love to eat vegetarian food as part of a non-violent way of life and of thinking.

Deacon Carys WoodleyCarys

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?