Dr Christopher Stephens is the Director of the Susanna Wesley Foundation and Head of Southlands College at the University of Roehampton.
He studied Theology at Christ Church, Oxford, where he began research into the Church of Late Antiquity. After a number of years leading the research department of the Methodist Church in Britain, he moved to Roehampton, where he has pursued his interests in ecclesiastical history and the development of contemporary faith communities and religious institutions.
His recent publications echo these dual interests, including the monograph Canon Law and Episcopal Authority (OUP, 2015) and, with Dr Lia Shimada, research articles in the Atlas of World Religions (Springer, 2014) and Mediation Theory and Practice (Equinox, 2016) which explore human diversity and organisational development.
His current research projects include continuing work on early Church councils and canon law and explorations of theological and linguistic approaches to diversity.
Sue Miller is the Susanna Wesley Foundation’s Deputy Director.
Sue’s work for the Foundation involves exploring connections, building relationships, identifying research and learning needs, and capitalising on people’s interests and strengths in order to build a community of scholars and a set of SWF research involvements. Sue came to this role from a post in the Methodist Church, and, before that, from academia where she was a Principal Lecturer in a Business School. Sue has a Masters from Cambridge and a Masters in Human Aspects of Management. She started her career as a graduate management trainee; her early experience in the Manpower Services Commission taught her much about different organisational cultures and styles of management and how to work across organisational boundaries.
Sue’s previous research interests were in diversity and leadership, while, in her role with the Foundation, she is involved in exploring women’s experiences in ministry, and the relevance for the Churches of theories and models of organisation and management.
Dr Lia Dong Shimada joined the Susanna Wesley Foundation as Research Associate in November 2015. She is now Senior Research Officer and involved in developing the Foundation’s research portfolio, with an emphasis on diversity in leadership and ministry.
From 2010 to 2013, Lia implemented the national strategy for diversity and inclusion for the Methodist Church in Britain. Prior to that role, she worked in the peacebuilding sector in Northern Ireland, where she facilitated civic dialogue on migration, racism, and paramilitary conflict transformation. Lia holds a PhD in Geography from University College London and a Masters degree in Theology from Kings College, London. Her research interests emerge from the crossroads of these two disciplines, where theory and praxis intersect.
Lia volunteers as a youth literacy tutor at her local library and is active in two homelessness projects. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, hill-walking and playing the harpsichord. Lia lives in East London.
The Revd Ermal Kirby joined the Susanna Wesley Foundation as a part-time Research Officer in January 2016: his main research focus examines Cultural Diversity and Methodist Circuit Ministry.
Ermal has extensive experience of living with diversity: born in Antigua and coming to England when eight; being educated in a predominantly white school while remaining rooted within the black British community; studying at the Wesleyan College in Barbados and at Oxford University; ministering for forty years with congregations in inner city, city centre and suburban contexts; serving as a Staff member of the CTBI, and then as Tutor in a Theological College before becoming Chair of the London Methodist District – the most diverse District in British Methodism. For the past four years he has been a Circuit Minister in South Africa where he was a member of the Cape Welsh Choir.
Ermal is the Superintendent of the Barking, Dagenham and Ilford Circuit.
He is married to Jenni, who is also a Methodist Minister, and they have three sons and four grandchildren.
The Revd Keith Elford is sponsored by the Susanna Wesley Foundation to pursue a part-time doctoral research project on the relationship between ecclesiology and organisational theory.
Keith has been a consultant on the theme of organisational effectiveness since 1998. He is an Anglican clergyman, now self-supporting, but with experience as an incumbent and as Bishop’s Chaplain. These two strands come together in his desire to bring the insights available from organisational theory and practice to the challenges facing the Church today.
His book, Creating the Future of the Church, was published by SPCK in 2013.
His other great love is rock music and he plays in a couple of bands and runs a monthly open mic session in Weybridge. He lives in Chertsey with Annabelle and their three whippets.
The Revd Sharon Ferguson is an ordained minister with the Metropolitan Community Church and currently serves as the Senior Pastor in North London. Sharon was the chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement until June 2014 when she moved to Kent to take on the care of her two adopted brothers who have learning disabilities.
Sharon is also the co-president of the European Forum for LGBT Christian groups. Sharon holds first degrees in both Psychology and Theology and combined these in an MA in the Psychology of Religion where her focus was on reconciling faith and sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Sharon’s current research, ‘Transgression, Transfiguration, Transcendence’, explores what it means to go beyond a binary gender construct and how this affects our relationship with God, the church and one another.
Professor Anne-marie Greene is Professor of Employment Relations in the Contemporary Research on Organisations, Work and Employment Group (CROWE), at Leicester Business School, De Montfort University.
She has expertise in researching employment relations and equality and diversity issues in areas of work that stand outside of the standard employment relationship. A specific interest is the interface between work, life, family and community, particularly in areas of work where a sense of calling, mission or activism are required. This has included research exploring the employment context of women clergy.
Her latest research is concerned with the management of volunteers in the National Trust, while a current British Academy project looks at the careers of diversity consultants in the UK.
She has two small children and is a Trustee of the non-professional Criterion Theatre, Coventry and regularly involved in plays – acting, directing and backstage.
Megan Seneque is honorary research fellow at Roehampton University. She is working with the Methodist Church’s Discipleship and Ministries Learning Network exploring what it means to build communities of practice and to effect systemic change.
Megan is involved in several global projects, using social process and collaborative design. Among these are the Wellbeing Economies for Africa Network and Innovation Labs. Since 2008 she has been Social Process Advisor to Catholic Earthcare Australia. She was founding director of the Leadership Centre of the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa in the 1990s.
Two research publications capture the essence of her work:
Seneque M and Bond C (2010) Working with competing ideologies for transformational change – a South African case. Published in European Business Review Vol. 24, issue 5, pp. 425-443.
Bond C and Seneque M (2012) Exploring Organizational Identity in the Context of Transformational Change: A South African Case Study. Journal of Change Management 12:1, pp. 13-30.
Chris Bond has been involved with the SWF since its formation conducting small scale research projects and being an active participant in a number of the conferences that SWF has organised. This has involved both presenting research funded by the SWF and chairing sessions. Chris has been Principal Investigator for two SWF funded projects on ‘Methodism, Ministry and Management’ which led to the production of formal reports for the Methodist Church and academic outputs in the form of peer-reviewed journal articles and refereed conference papers.
Formerly Principal Lecturer in ‘Management and Organisational Behaviour’ at the University of Roehampton London Business School, Chris still maintains strong connections with the university as a student registered for his PhD by publication and a contract researcher.
Chris is now embarking on a more portfolio-based career which involves academic and international development consultancy, contract research and quality assurance and enhancement activities for a number of UK universities operating franchise and international collaboration activities. His research and publication focus remains in leadership as a social process.
Tim Harle lives at the interface of business and faith. He has worked at senior levels in organisations ranging from a FTSE100 company to a family-owned SME. Earlier in his career, Tim worked in Whitehall. He is Programme Leader for Sarum College’s MA in Christian Approaches to Leadership, and a Visiting Fellow at Bristol Business School.
A graduate of Cambridge University, Tim undertook advanced management studies at INSEAD, Fontainebleau. He is a member of the British Academy of Management, and a regular contributor to management conferences across Europe. A former Lay Canon of Bristol Cathedral, Tim is a Licensed Lay Minister (Reader) in the Church of England. His research interests include organisations as ecosystems, insights from complexity sciences, and applications of attachment theory. His publications include Embracing Chaos (Grove, 2011), ‘Approaching Transitions’ in Moving on in Ministry (CHP, 2013) and ‘Questioning Business Schools’ in Developing Leadership (Sage, 2015).
Mark Wakelin is a Methodist Minister in the Sutton Circuit at Epsom Methodist Church. He has served the Church in various ways: as President of the Methodist Conference, Connexional Secretary for Internal Relationships, Director of the Guy Chester Centre, National Secretary for the Methodist Association of Youth Clubs, and Circuit Minister in Stockport and Lincoln. He is married with three grown up children and four granddaughters.
Research interests are in the area of adult education in particular theological formation and educational policy. He was a research fellow at the University of Roehampton Business School 2013/14 and is a visiting Tutor at St Augustine’s College of Theology.
His hobbies include gardening, insects and singing.
Dr Leonard Holmes has been engaged as a professional practitioner, teacher and researcher on employment issues for over four decades. More recently, this has included engagement with workplace chaplaincy, through his membership of the Board of Directors and Trustees of Workplace Matters, an ecumenical workplace chaplaincy organisation based in St Albans. He is particularly interested in the relationships between the nature and experience of meaningfulness (and meaninglessness) of work, identity and personhood, wellbeing and understandings of spirituality.
Leonard gained his PhD from the University of London Institute of Education (now part of University College London), is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Personnel and Development, a Life Fellow of Royal Society of Arts, and a member of the British Academy of Management. He has worked, in various roles, in several universities and higher education institutions and was until recently Reader in Management in the Business School, University of Roehampton.
Sam McBratney is a Methodist presbyter with nearly twenty years’ experience of ministry in various contexts – Circuit-based (rural and urban), chaplaincy, academia, theological education and reconciliation. He has worked as a chaplain in four universities, including two in London where he established and led two multi-faith teams.
Teaching has also been a major part of his career, including four years as a Lecturer at City, University of London and five as Director of the Global Christianity Programme at the Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham. His teaching has ranged from Worship and Liturgy and Global Mission to Peace & Reconciliation and Interfaith & Intercultural Understanding.
He is a member of the Corrymeela Community and is currently engaged in doctoral research into contextual theologies of reconciliation in Ireland. He is also currently a Visiting Lecturer at the Theological College of Lanka in Sri Lanka, teaching Peace and Reconciliation Studies.
In his spare time, he devotes his energies to cinema, gardening and pub quizzes and is active in local politics.