Modern Church is a membership organisation with a long history and a liberal ethos.

It is a registered charity (number 281573), managed by a committee of officers (Chair, Secretary and Treasurer) who are trustees and up to eight other trustees.

The Treasurer is elected annually by the membership at the Annual General Meeting. Members of the Council are elected from among the Modern Church membership for terms of up to three years at the Annual General Meeting. The officers and the trustees are elected by the Council at its first meeting after the AGM.

Download Annual Reports from 20152014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.

Before 2010 Modern Church was known as The Modern Churchpeople's Union.



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General Secretary: Guy Elsmore

Revd Guy Elsmore is Area Dean of Toxteth and Wavertree and Rector of the St Luke in the City ministry team, a group of city centre parishes in Liverpool. The group includes St Bride's, Liverpool, a growing church with a radical vision for community that is creative, progressive and inclusive.

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Chair: Jan van der Lely

Revd Dr Jan van der Lely is Vicar of Thornbury Parish, Gloucestershire. As a student she played a leading role in Christian Union life before moving into a more catholic and liberal church tradition. Jan was a teacher most of her working life until her ordination in 2009.

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Treasurer: Rosalind Lund

Rosalind Lund is Business Support Manager with the Youth Offending Service at Cambridgeshire County Council. She was Vice-chair for a number of years becoming being elected Treasurer and has been involved in Modern Church for most of her life.

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Vice-chair: Tim Stead

Revd Tim Stead is Vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry, Oxford. He describes the church as a mixed bunch of people, both wounded and exhilarated by life's journey, with a hope that, as they meet together and share both their gifts and vulnerabilities,   they will find the fullness of life and love that Jesus promised.

Other trustees

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Jeyan Anketell

Revd Dr Jeyan Anketell is a semi-retired science teacher and non-stipendiary Anglican priest  in Lichfield, Staffordshire. He was a candidate in the 2013 Staffordshire County Council elections and has been a Lichfield City Councillor.

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Lorraine Cavanagh

Revd Lorraine Cavanagh is an Anglican priest in the Church in Wales. She has published a number of books, among them Making Sense of God’s Love: Atonement and Redemption which was one of the first in the Modern Church Series ‘Making Sense of Christianity’ (SPCK). She has a weekly blog Christian Faith in the Here and Now, which seeks to bring a liberal Christian perspective on current issues and events in the world and in the Church, and a website, for those who may not be part of a church or worshipping community but want to deepen their Christian faith or begin a Christian faith journey, or for those who feel they don’t qualify as ‘real Christians’, to know that they are in a sense the most qualified.

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Revd Ruth Fitter

Revd Ruth Fitter was ordained in Gloucester Cathedral on 3rd July 2011. She is currently the Team Curate for the South Cheltenham Team Ministry based in Leckhampton on the edge of Cheltenham.  In September 2014 she will move to be the Vicar of the Benefice of St Paul and St Stephen in Gloucester.  Prior to ordination Ruth was a social worker and a primary school teacher.   She has contributed a chapter to the book Being a Curate published by SPCK in June 2014 and has also contributed to  She is a passionate advocate for justice and equality in all forms.

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Anthony Freeman

Rev Anthony Freeman is honorary assistant priest at St Paul's, Chichester. He has published a number of books, including God in Us (1993) and Consciousness: A Guide to the Debates (20013) and is assistant editor of the journal Modern Believing

Adrian Thatcher

Prof Adrian Thatcher came to Exeter in 2004 as a Professorial Research Fellow in Applied Theology. For 27 years (1977-2004) he taught Theology and Philosophy at the University of St. Mark & St John, Plymouth, where, in 1995 he was the first member of academic staff to become a full Professor. His main theological research interests at present are the theologies of sexuality and gender, and biblical interpretation. He is a member of the Society for the Study of Theology, the Society for the Study of Christian Ethics, Modern Church, and the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. Once a Baptist Minister (1966-74) he is now a lay member of the Church of England.

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Trevor Pitt

Revd Canon Trevor Pitt is Canon Emeritus, Newcastle Cathedral and Associate Priest and Methodist Presbyter, Hamsterley LEP, Co. Durham. He was Principal of NEOC from 1991-2010 and Vice-Principal, Canterbury School of Minsitry 1981-1991. His special interests include Liturgical Theology, Holy Land Studies and the possible futures of Christianity.

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Alan Race

Revd Canon Dr Alan Race is Rector of St Margaret's Church, Lee, in south London. He has worked as a University Chaplain, an educator in theological  education, and as a priest in multicultural parishes. Alan is a member of various organisations that  promote pluralism and interfaith understanding.


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Anthony Woollard

Anthony Woollard is Treasurer of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon. He taught theology before entering the Civil Service, spending most of his career in the Department of Education. Anthony edits the Modern Church newsletter Signs of the Times.

The Council

Council members are elected at Annual General Meetings of the membership.

  • Professor Linda Woodhead, Professor of Sociology of Religion at Lancaster University

  • Revd Prof Marilyn McCord Adams, Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Revd Prof Paul Badham, Emeritus Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David (Lampeter Campus)
  • Miss Joan Dorrall
  • Prof Elaine Graham, Grosvenor Research Professor of Practical Theology at the University of Chester
  • Revd Dr Nicholas Henderson, Former Bishop–elect,  Diocese of Lake Malawi. Editor
  • Dr Peter Mills
  • Most Revd Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales
  • Very Revd Prof Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford
  • Rt Revd John Saxbee
  • Rt Revd Brian Smith
  • Rt Revd Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester
  • Revd Canon Richard Truss
  • Rt Revd Martin Wharton
Other members (elected until)
  • Revd Dr Jeyan Anketell (2016)
  • Jean Barnett (2018)
  • Pat Boyd (2017)
  • Helen Burnett (2016)
  • Revd Dr Lorraine Cavanagh (2018)
  • Revd Jonathan Clatworthy (2016)
  • Revd Canon David Driscoll (2016)
  • Revd Guy Elsmore (2016), General Secretary
  • Revd Ruth Fitter (2018)
  • Revd Anthony Freeman (2016)
  • Revd John Goldsmith (2018)
  • Richard Hall (2016)
  • Revd David Howard (2018)
  • Revd David James (2018)
  • Revd Tom Keates (2017)
  • Revd Franklin Lee (2016)
  • Patrick Lewin (2017)
  • Rosalind Lund (2016), Treasurer
  • Revd Clare Nicholson (2017)
  • Revd Canon Trevor Pitt (2017)
  • Revd Dr Alan Race (2017)
  • Hugh Rock (2017)
  • Revd David Simon
  • Revd Tim Stead (2017), Vice-chair
  • Revd Dr Jan van der Lely (2016), Chair
  • Prof Adrian Thatcher (2018)
  • Anthony Woollard (2018), Signs of the Times Editor