Who we are
The Revd Andrew Woodward
Fr Andrew became the Priest-in-charge at St Mary's since November 2007. He came across the church quite by chance when he attended a service on a visit to Brighton. On learning that St Mary's had been earmarked for closure, he decided to offer his services. The rest is history! In August 2018, the suspension of presentation was lifted and St Mary's returned to being a fully functioning parish church, and then in March 2019, Fr Andrew was instituted as our Vicar.
He has two grown-up children, Alexander and Matthew. Born in Woking, he worked for 35 years with Lloyds Banking Group, latterly specializing in Commercial Investment and Residential Development. In 1996, while still working at the bank, he began training for the priesthood at the South East Institute for Theological Education (SEITE), once the Southwark Ordination Course (SOC), based at Southwark Cathedral. In 1999, as a non-stipendiary minister, he became the Assistant Curate at St James's, Weybridge, and in 2004 he was appointed Assistant Curate of St Botolph’s, Aldgate.
Since 2015 Fr Andrew has also been the Rural Dean of Brighton, overseeing the life and workings of the 28 parishes in Brighton Deanery. He is also a Trustee of the St Anne’s Day Centre for homeless and vulnerable adults that operates from St Mary's Church Hall. He sees his role primarily as that of a pastor and endeavours to spend as much of his time as possible meeting people and developing the spiritual life of the parish. He says that there is no place that he would rather be than here at St Mary's.
Phone: 01273 698601 / Email: Fr Andrew Woodward
The Revd Herbert Bennett
Fr Herbert was born and brought up in Sydney, Australia, attending St Andrew’s Cathedral School. He moved to England in 1980 with his family and has lived in Sussex since then. He has worked in the City of London as a lawyer for 32 years.
Still working fulltime, Herbert trained for the priesthood at the South East Institute for Theological Education (SEITE, now St Augustine’s) and was ordained as a Deacon non-stipendiary minister in June 2016 and Priest NSM in June 2017. Herbert was delighted to be appointed to serve his curacy at St Mary’s and enjoys being a bridge there for others to meet with God. He keenly wishes for people to engage with the relevance of God in our everyday lives. Among his many interests, Herbert enjoys singing and travel alongside the variety and colour of life itself.
Email: Fr Herbert Bennett
The Revd Martin Hume
Honorary Assistant Curate
Fr Martin was born in 1954 in the North-East of England. Twenty-one years later, having qualified in Food Science/Applied Chemistry, he began a career in Flour Mill Management, latterly managing a Flour Mill on Tilbury Docks, Essex.
In 1989, Fr Martin moved to West Yorkshire to the College of The Resurrection, where for two years he lived, trained and was formed for the priesthood. He was ordained in 1991, serving his curacy in Brentwood, Essex and then, as parish priest, served in parishes in Chelmsford and Southwick Dioceses.
Fr Martin retired from fulltime ministry in 2011 and is now serving as Honorary Assistant Curate at St Mary’s.
His interests are: cooking, the arts and travel.
Email: Fr Martin Hume
Margaret has been a member of St Mary's for over 30 years, and was licensed Lay Reader in 2012. She preaches once a month and also leads the worship at the Parish Eucharist, Morning Prayer and Julian Group. She sees her role, above all, as endeavouring to raise the hearts and minds of all people to God, and feels privileged to lead the Pastoral Care Team at St Mary's.
Margaret has three grown-up daughters and four lively grandsons. She has many years' experience in science and natural history education, and has taught both children and adults with a range of special needs. She is a keen gardener and draws inspiration, hope and solace from the beauty of God's creation in the natural world.
Phone: 01273 603219 / Email: Margaret Green
Jo, a born & bred Brightonian, returns to St Mary's after more than ten years worshipping & gaining much experience in other churches, principally at Holy Cross, Woodingdean.
Previously one of the Churchwardens at St Mary's, it was Jo's privilege to be called back here during Easter 2016. Jo's background is in Religious Education Studies, having studied & attained qualifications at the University of Brighton (BA), the Catholic Certificate (CCRS) and, within the Diocese of Chichester, the Bishop's Certificate. In the secular world she has worked for a credit card company's legal department.
Joanna was licensed as a Lay Reader in September 2012 and looks forward to a diverse ministry at St Mary's. She has one grown-up daughter.
Email: Jo Gordon-Hall
Becky is a long-standing member of the congregation at St Mary's - one of our survivors through threats of closure and worse! - and brings a healthy, calming perspective to our day-to-day chaos. She is the mother to two amazing young lads and does quite a bit of discreet mothering of the St Mary's family too.
Email: Becky Donoher
Having worked in Human Resources for over twenty years, Jason has a passion for motivating and developing people. His motto is that everyone has a story. His degrees in both Law and Personnel and Development ensure he has an eye for the fine print as well as bringing a reasoned and balanced approach to situations. He's been part of St Mary’s for almost two years and is passionately committed to our congregation.
Email: Jason Mannix
Jane first attended St Mary's in October 2010, after moving to Brighton from Leicester. She had intended to visit other churches in Brighton to see which she liked best, but was so taken with St Mary's and its congregation that she decided not to bother and has been attending St Mary's ever since.
Jane studied fashion design at St Martin's School of Art and taught art and design for some years. After further studies, she switched to teaching A-level Law to overseas students. Now retired, she is secretary to the local branch of Epilepsy Action, which she joined because her late husband suffered from epilepsy after having had brain implants to control the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. Jane spent many years as her husband's main carer.
Email: Jane Chetwynd-Appleton
Richard Stephenson landed in Brighton recently after living abroad for many years and almost immediately found himself very much at home, spiritually and aesthetically, in the friendly and diverse environment of St Mary’s. By rights, he should be enjoying retirement, but continues to work fulltime as a freelance translator. Few would envy him the task of PCC Treasurer, but he is relishing the challenge of getting the sums right and helping to nurture and grow St Mary’s finances and otherwise contribute to the life of the parish.
Phone: 01273 958339 / Email: Richard Stephenson
Katherine wandered into St Mary's during an organ recital in June 2011 and was wowed by the beauty of the church and warmth of the congregation. She became churchwarden and venue manager in 2013. An historian with 25 years' experience in the cultural heritage sector, she is passionate about welcoming newcomers through its doors. She stepped down as churchwarden in 2019, but works still as venue and special projects manager.
Email: Katherine Prior
A short film about St Mary's
Click on the image above for a short film about St Mary's made by Sussex University Media students Hsin Yun (Cindy), SeppO and ShinYoung in the run-up to Christmas 2016. See their website too for more photographs and a podcast.