Circuit Staff and Leadership Team:

Ordained Staff

Rev. Heather Cooper

Rev. Heather Cooper

Superintendent

About Heather

I’m a southerner by birth and upbringing – a native of Berkshire. I grew up just outside Reading. I’m the eldest of three; my sister and family now live in New Zealand while my brother and his family are in Royal Wootton Bassett.

I started life in the Presbyterian Church but we moved to the Methodist Church when they built close to where we lived an  it was easier for my parents to take three of us there. Like so many teenagers I rebelled against Church but came back when my grandmother died. Coming back felt like coming home and after a few years I became a local  preacher and  candidated for the ministry.

I left college in 1987 and went to Falkirk in Central Scotland. It was during that appointment that Neale and I married. He’s Welsh and proud of it. From Falkirk we moved to Warrington, then to Colchester (where I became Superintendent) and then to Morley, on the southern edge of Leeds, as Superintendent. In 2011 we moved south to Marlborough. As you can see we do bounce around the country.

We don’t have any children but we do keep pet guinea pigs. The current ‘family’ is 3 girls.  I love to cook and to read.  I enjoy Sci-Fi, especially Star Trek & Dr Who. I also enjoy  jigsaw puzzles. We like to explore the areas where we live and see as much as possible.

Rev'd Steven Carpenter

Rev'd Steven Carpenter

Circuit Minister

About Steve

I joined the Circuit in 2014 after a a long and varied career in the Civil Service. Initially being involved in regional economic analysis and reporting, I have spent a significant part of my career in disability employment and management working across the West Midlands Region. I served in the Government Office for the West Midlands setting employment, later life and child poverty targets for local authorities and strategic partnerships. I enjoyed the opportunity for extensive partnership working. When the recession hit, I worked to expand the regional Jobcentre network and then as a trained Lean Expert to bring about efficiencies. I have been a local church leader since my early 30’s, extensively involved in my local church. I knew God had called me into ministry since I started preaching at 19 years of age and His timing is perfect to continue that ministry in the Wirral.  I am married with three sons; my wife Julie is an experienced Practice Nurse. I enjoy reading, cycling, walking and computers.

Deacon Peter Reast

Deacon Peter Reast

Circuit Deacon, Circuit Leadership Team

About Peter

Peter has come to the Wirral Methodist Circuit from Lincoln, on the east of the country, and he enjoys meeting folk and learning about the lives of people across the communities of Wirral. Peter and his wife, Angela, live in Hoylake and they have 3 “grown up” children, Josh, Sam and Sarah, all of whom continue to live in Lincoln. For 16 years, he was a bus driver, then after a spell as a community development worker for the Methodist Church for 8 years, he became a Deacon. He is here to work alongside three churches in the Circuit, (one being St. Luke’s, of course), and while he’s available to the whole Church, his focus is on work with young people. Peter says he loves to listen and chat about Jesus and the difference being loved by Him has made to his life and lives of others.

Rev. Barbara Banton

Rev. Barbara Banton

Circuit Minister

About Barbara

Hi, my name is Barbara Banton and I am the minister for Bromborough Methodist Church. I have lived on Wirral for many years and have a varied working background of being alongside people of all ages. Having recently returned from being stationed in West Lancashire Methodist Circuit, I am delighted to have the opportunity to serve the people of this locality, and look forward to discerning God’s working in our midst.

Rev'd Viv Gasteen

Rev'd Viv Gasteen

Circuit Minister

About Viv

Hi!  I’m Viv Gasteen – born and raised in Liverpool, the elder of two girls. My father took me to church with him until I was old enough to go to Sunday school at St Andrew’s Anglican church.  When I was 14 my grandfather died and the local Methodist minister took his funeral service. He invited me to join the youth club at Trinity Methodist, Tuebrook.

It was at Trinity that I met God in a very real way and invited Him, the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit into my life.  Aged 17, I left school and worked for the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance, now the DSS. I received a note to preach and began training as a local preacher with guidance from Rev. Donald Bullen. I sat and passed the Worship & Preaching exam before it became compulsory! In 1968 I married and moved to Orrell, Wigan where we worshipped at Orrell Post Methodist Church. Following the birth of my first two sons I took a break from preaching and became involved in the Boys’ Brigade with my husband Keith. In 1975 my third son was born.

Not long after this my marriage began to fall apart and Keith and I separated and eventually divorced. By this time I had returned to Local Preaching  and  began to have a strong sense of call to ordained ministry. I tested the call and to my surprise was accepted for training at Wesley College, Bristol. I have served in four circuits: Birmingham South West, Coventry, Chelmsford (where I was superintendent) and Liverpool North.  In 2003 I spent three months working alongside the Methodist Church in Berlin.

Since September 2018 I have been minister with responsibility for pastoral care at Greasby, Irby and West Kirby.

Rev'd Jackie Bellfield

Rev'd Jackie Bellfield

Circuit Minister, Circuit Leadership Team

About Jackie

Jackie is from Runcorn where she grew up attending the local Methodist Church drawn to it because of the yearly pantomime and wanting to be involved with it. Having succeeded, aged 7, to be a leaf in her first panto she kept on going and connected to a church where she grew in her love, knowledge and understanding of Jesus and how the body of Christ can support each other.

Leaving school Jackie attended Cliff College and then when looking for a temporary job for six months worked for the civil service, a job which lasted 18 years.  When 14 Jackie began preaching with a local mission band and was accredited as a local preacher aged 20 and developed a love for preaching but also leading worship.
This longing of the development of worship is a key part of Jackie’s ministry. She has led worship in Pakistan, America, Ireland and throughout the UK and regularly leads worship on BBC Radio Merseyside.
Called to Presbyteral Ministry Jackie was stationed to Warrington in 2007 which became the Sankey Valley Circuit where she established and pioneered New Song Network – a model of church now situated in many places in the UK (Both Methodist and Ecumenical contexts)
Jackie moved to the Wirral in 2017 where she serves the churches in Ellesmere Port and helps the circuit develop worship. She is a member of the District Probationers, Candidates and Sabbaticals Committee. She loves music, reading, gardening and playing on the computer.
Rev'd Sheila Prest

Rev'd Sheila Prest

Circuit Minister, Circuit Leadership Team

About Sheila

Sheila was born and brought up in Belfast, Northern Ireland during the “Troubles”. On leaving school she attended I.M.Marsh College of Physical Education in Liverpool. She qualified with Distinction and began teaching at Deyes High School in Maghull. She spent 34 years in education, full time and part time while bringing up a family. Sheila was called to the ministry after training for the Methodist ministry at HVIC and Manchester University, where she qualified with an honours degree in Contextual Theology. Since 2008 Sheila has served in two Methodist circuits, Pendle and currently Wirral. She has pastoral charge of three churches, Lower Bebington, Higher Bebington and Prenton and continues to be passionate about reconciliation and mediating.

Rev. Yangsun Yi

Rev. Yangsun Yi

Circuit Minister

About Yangsun

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ

First of all, I’d like to express my gratitude to your circuit for giving me an opportunity to be with you in the Lord. I am very much looking forward to moving to the Wirral Circuit, and getting to know you.

I have been asked to write ‘a snapshot’ about myself and I am wondering ‘What shall I say?’ Well, my full name, is Yangsun Yi. I am from South Korea, where my mother, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews still live. I came to the UK in early January 2002 to work for one of the Korean airlines at Heathrow for both cargo and passengers. I lived in south west London and worshipped at New Malden Methodist Church. I trained as a Local Preacher in London and then at The Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham. Exeter Coast and Country Circuit was my first appointment as a presbyter.

While writing this, I keep gazing at my garden and as I look at the grasses, trees, mosses and weeds, I think I ought to confess that I am not good at gardening! It is my least favourite job if I am honest! I may need guidance and help in that area! Even so, I have a great love for the natural world. I grew up in Korea in countryside surrounded by mountains and rivers, so I love to spend time walking and it will be exciting to discover the world around the Wirral.    

I look forward to seeing you all.

With every blessing.

Yangsun Yi

Lay Staff:

The following staff are employed by the Circuit. Some churches have employed lay staff for various roles; these are listed in the churches section of the website.

Stephen Cooper

Stephen Cooper

Circuit Manager, Leadership Team Secretary

About Steve

Steve was born in Birkenhead, grew up in Worcestershire and Oxfordshire and also lived in Northampton before “returning home” to Ellesmere Port in 1994. A Methodist local preacher since schooldays (6th Form) he also held numerous church roles (youth leader, church steward  and Circuit and District officer) whilst working first in Debenhams in Oxford then with the Ministry of Defence in a variety of jobs over almost 30 years, mainly involving systems review and inspection in one form or another.

Since 2009 he has been employed by the Wirral Circuit, initially working with the Bebington churches during a ministerial vacancy and then since 2010 as Circuit Manager. In this role he is responsible for all day to day financial and property management including contributing to financial reporting, circuit governance and the circuit’s oversight of church governance returns. Steve is also the Synod Secretary of the Liverpool Methodist District and serves the district and Methodist Connexion in a number of ways. 

Tim Edwards

Tim Edwards

Church and Community Worker, Moreton

About Tim

Hi I’m Tim. I work part time for the circuit as a community worker at Moreton Methodist Church.

I am 61 years old, I was born in Birkenhead and although I have moved house five times I have never left the street I was born in. I married my childhood sweetheart 37 years ago and she still puts up with me. We have 5 grown children and 4 grandchildren.

I was originally a member of Tranmere Methodist, yet God brought me to faith at Woodchurch and I have worked enthusiastically for His kingdom as a youth worker ever since.

I also work part time for Wirral Council as a youth club manager and have been fortunate enough to be based in my home church at Charing Cross since 1992.

I am also a Local Preacher and the District Youth Enabler, and am passionate about participatory worship, mission and addressing the missing generations

I like modern Christian music and Christian Festivals and am a member of Count Everyone In, an inclusive Christian Organisation that supports people of all abilities.

Colin Harris

Colin Harris

Mission Development Officer, Woodchurch

About Colin

 I was born In Wales, in a small market town close to the border with Shropshire.  As a child I used to attend a small Pentecostal church, but only went there for the sweets. As a teen I was very often in trouble with the police and was in and out of juvenile court until I found an outlet for my anger. This was rugby and boxing: the challenge of my physicality against an opponent was what I needed. Unfortunately I still needed this in adulthood. I worked as a doorman to help alleviate this aggression.  A local policeman and man of faith had been praying for me for years. Through his prayers I found faith.  I saw that I was a child of God, created in his image. I left home and moved to Chester where I felt called. I lived on the streets for 3 months.  I was blessed by God. A flat. A job. And a wonderful Church and friends that were a true blessing. I met an Anglican organisation that worked on the front line of evangelism, I volunteered, later pushed to apply for a post and was accepted. I worked there for 10 years, but the last four was to get my commission and license with the Diocese.  When they closed the Centre of Mission I did not want to leave as I felt God’s calling on my life was still here. I was given the application for the post here on the Woodchurch and I think there are some amazing things about to happen here. And hopefully God will use me to be a part of it. 

 

Emma Sofayo

Emma Sofayo

Schools Worker

Abut Emma

I’m Emma and was born, brought up and lived in Eastham till just last year when I moved to the ‘other side’ of the water after I got married. I have 3 passions in life which all begin with F. I will share them in no particular order and let you decide!

Faith- I am a member of the URC and have been going to church since before I could remember. One evening when I was 19 God and me had a bit of an argument and He won which started me on a wonderful journey! If you want to know more then feel free to ask.

Family- I love my family growing up with my Mum, brother and fantastic grandparents. As time has gone by my family has grown: I got married and gained two step sons and in 2016 our daughter was born, who is a joy every day.

Football- The good thing about being on the ‘other side’ of the water is I’m closer to my beloved Liverpool FC and with Klopp at the Kop I’m hoping for great things. I was going to tell you who my all-time favourite player is but I just can’t decide!

Nigel Mountford

Nigel Mountford

Mission Development Officer, Trinity Ellesmere Port

About Nigel

Nigel was born in Birmingham and on leaving school went to work in Lloyds Bank where he worked for nearly ten years.  In 1982 he studied at Birmingham Bible Institute where he gained a theological qualification. He eventually took a post as Minister of the Saltney Church of Christ in Chester.  After an eight year spell he decided it was time to move and at this junction became involved with the Methodist Church.  He was eventually appointed as a youth and children’s worker in Chester and served in that capacity until in 2014 he was appointed as ‘Mission Development Officer’ at Trinity Methodist Church in Ellesmere Port. Nigel also has a BA (Hons) in youth and community education. He is married with four children, and has three grandchildren.  

Brenda Bishop

Brenda Bishop

Circuit Safeguarding Officer

About Brenda

I qualified as a Social Worker in 1988 and obtained an MA in Child Protection Studies at Leicester University in 2001. I began my career working in the Schools Psychological Department in Birkenhead, supporting families whose children had learning and social problems. After a few years I moved to Wrexham Social Services in the Children and Families and Youth Offending Team, working with children young people and families in a variety of complex and difficult situations. In 1996 I joined the NSPCC as a Children’s Service Manager. My team consisted of social workers, a play and art therapist, counsellors and a community youth worker. We worked with children and young people in schools, at the NSPCC building or in their home, taking referrals from social workers, teachers and families. Young people were also able to refer themselves to the Project through School Counsellors. In 2007 I was seconded to the Pupil Engagement Team in the Welsh Assembly Government to help develop School-based Counselling Services in Wales. The Strategy was issued in April 2008. In May 2010 I was presented with an award for innovative social work by the British Association of Social Workers. I retired from the NSPCC in 2010. I have been married to Les since 1973 and have two children and two grandchildren.

Lay members of the Circuit Leadership Team

Veronica Frances

Veronica Frances

Worship Development, Circuit Leadership Team, Circuit Steward

About Veronica

 

I was born, raised and educated in Wales – and identifies as Welsh. I obtained a degree in Microbiology, and worked as a teacher/lecturer, mainly in the area of health studies. Latterly I was a Civil Servant until retirement. I’ve always been a Trade Unionist. I was not a cradle Methodist, but attended since the age of 16 (it was the only church in the area with a youth club!) and became a member at the age of 18. I have been a Local Preacher since 1992, and am currently Local Preachers’ Secretary. But more important than any of this – at the age of 19 I gave my life to Christ. And that’s for ever. Rather like being Welsh.

Becky Mellor

Becky Mellor

Good Neighbour representative, Circuit Leadership Team

About Becky

 

Becky Mellor is a Council Officer with the Wirral Public Health team.  She graduated with a Masters in Health Promotion in 2010 and has worked in Public Health for 17 years.  She is passionate about making a difference to the quality of life and health outcomes for the people in Wirral with the fastest impact in neighbourhoods with the poorest health outcomes.  Becky is the Good Neighbour rep on the Circuit Leadership Team and has introduced Know Your Church, Know Your Neighbour approach as a way for churches to get to know their local communities.  Becky lives in Bebington with her husband and their cat, Mr Tibs.

Pete Wildman

Pete Wildman

Communications, Circuit Leadership Team

About Pete

I was born in Liverpool and spent most of my life there, working as a teacher and later as a director of a Christian housing association for ex-offenders. In 2002 my wife, Dot, and I moved to India to work for 12 years in an international school, where I was responsible for communications, marketing and fundraising. In 2014 we returned to the UK and settled in Little Sutton. I’ve spent most of my Christian life in Pentecostal and house churches. Little Sutton Methodist is now our home, and I am just completing my training as a local preacher. We have four children and four grandchildren in sundry places including the USA. I have a room full of guitars and various other instruments, and enjoy playing whenever and wherever I can.

David Gane

David Gane

Circuit Leadership Team

About David

I am a retired Chartered Surveyor with experience of project managing new church construction in the Amersham Circuit after a major fire [1993]. I moved to Wirral in 1996,  since when I have been involved at West Kirby Methodist Church as a church steward, Church Council Secretary, Gift Aid Secretary and Treasurer. I currently represent the Circuit on the District Resourcing Mission Group.

 

Lyn Jackson-Eves

Lyn Jackson-Eves

Evangelism, Circuit Leadership Team, Circuit Steward

About Lyn

I was born in Liverpool and christened at County Road Methodist Church. We moved to Wallasey when I was two years old, and I attended St. Hilary’s C of E Sunday school. In my teenage years I was drawn to the youth club at Claremount Methodist church, and have many happy memories of friends and events which happened there. When I married, we moved to Greasby, and have worshipped at Greasby Methodist for over 40 years. I ran the primary department in Sunday school for many years. 

In 1993 my life fell apart when my marriage ended. There were many dark days when I felt that my faith was the only thing that kept me going. I was always certain that God would lead me through the difficult times and through an amazing set of circumstances, he did just that. Today, I have happily re-married and am now a church steward and the Pastoral Secretary at Greasby.

Three years ago, I took over the organisation of the shoe box appeal, and we moved our support from Samaritans Purse to Dave Cooke of Teams4U, in line with many other churches in the circuit.

I now live in Willaston; I worship at the Methodist chapel on occasions, and help out when needed. Last year it was wonderful to collect shoe boxes from both churches in the village as well as Greasby.

I worked for over 20 years in Psychology in the NHS and retired three years ago, but still work part-time on a private basis as a psychotherapist. I have 2 children and 2 grandchildren. My main hobby is gardening: our garden was in the Open Church gardens a month ago for Willaston – it was a wonderful day.

I consider myself a good organiser and communicator, and hope these skills can be of service on the Circuit Leadership Team.

Stephen Pillow

Stephen Pillow

Senior Circuit Steward, Circuit Leadership Team

About Steve

Steve is a lifelong Methodist growing up with a Methodist minister as a father and attending Kingwood, a Methodist boarding school in Bath, for his secondary education. It was here that his Christian faith was nurtured and he felt the call to be a doctor. He trained at Leeds and went into General Practice in Bebington in 1976, retiring in 2012. For most of that time he was also a part time specialist in Palliative Care, looking after the terminally ill at Wirral Hospice St.John’s. Since retirement he has had more time to devote to helping the circuit as part of the leadership team, currently as chair of the Communications Group. The group understands how poor we are at communicating with each other within and between churches, and particularly to those ‘outside’ who are not currently part of that life, and works to improve this. He is a member at Heswall.

Glenys Jones

Glenys Jones

Discipleship and Pastoral Care, Circuit Leadership Team, Circuit Steward

About Glenys

I was born and bred in Birkenhead being christened in Grange Road Methodist Church at a few weeks old then attending Sunday School from about 4 years of age. I was a member of the churches children’s choir with Mr. Harris Lamb being our conductor and Mr. Farrimond, who was the church organist, being our accompanist. I continued worshipping at Grange Road until the new church was built at Charing Cross. My father was at the Charing Cross site when the first sod was cut for the building. My worship continued at Charing Cross until I transferred my membership to Prenton. I worked for 48 years in the NHS where I witnessed many changes both in treatment and hospitals being closed and new ones built. I have three children and two grandsons.

Craig Price

Craig Price

Treasurer, Circuit Leadership Team

David Wilkes

David Wilkes

Evangelism, Circuit Leadership Team, Circuit Steward

About David

Three generations of David’s family, including his eldest brother, served as Methodist ministers in Ceylon / Sri Lanka, where David’s mother also went as a missionary teacher in the early 1930s. His three eldest siblings were born there but David’s upbringing was in Devon, Herefordshire and Yorkshire.  David read History at Cambridge and just short of his 22nd birthday went abroad for the first time – a 3000 mile night flight to Sierra Leone, where he spent the next eight years teaching “up-country”.  On returning to UK in July 1980 David taught in a boarding school founded in 1708 in north Herefordshire, which closed without warning in October 1984.  David secured a temporary post at Calday Grange Grammar School – and stayed for a further 27 years before retiring in 2012. As a retired teacher, David has become a very active member at St Luke’s Hoylake and represents the Evangelism Team on the Circuit Leadership Team.