Who’s Who

‘Church’ primarily means people. St John’s Church includes a broad and diverse range of people, with a balance of all ages well represented.

We have been designated a Shared Ministry Parish; this means that the Church as a whole has committed itself to working collaboratively. Within the Church’s membership, different people exercise different ministries, but all share together in ministry.

Ministers and office-holders:

BarnabyBarnaby Huish serves as Rector (both of St John’s and of St Margaret’s Church, Durham). His is a ministry of leadership, priesthood and pastoral care, all aspects of which are shared with other members of the Church community.

Mike Chater and Joan Twomey serve as Churchwardens. Churchwardens are elected by the people and commissioned by the Bishop to share in oversight of various aspects of Church life.

The Shared Ministry Development Team (SMDT) works with the Rector to foster the collaborative involvement of all Church members in the life of the Church. It reports to the PCC.

The Parochial Church Council (PCC) is an elected body which shares with the Rector in discerning and setting the direction of the Church. It performs functions of governance and strategic planning.

Nichola Chater and Judy Hirst are licensed as Associate Ministers of St John’s, though each of them works mainly outside the Parish. Nicky is a Minister in Secular Employment; this means that her ministry as a priest is focused mainly in her work as a doctor (Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine). Judy ministers across County Durham and beyond as a Diocesan officer (Local Church Growth and Development Adviser) and is licensed to St John’s for one day a week.

Mike Chater is licensed to St John’s as a Reader (a lay person trained in theology and ministry); as a Reader he has exercised a varied ministry in Durham, Liverpool and elsewhere for over 25 years alongside his ‘day job’ as a Civil Engineer. A number of other clergy and lay people have permission to officiate at St John’s, and do so on a regular or occasional basis.


font_croppedThere is no fee, test or barrier to cross for membership of the Church of England. Indeed, the only criterion for membership of the worldwide Church is faith in God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit; this is customarily recognised and celebrated in Baptism.

If you would like to learn more about faith, if you would like to be baptized (or, if already baptized, you would like to be Confirmed or to reaffirm your faith in God) please contact the Rector via the Parish Office.

All Church members are invited and encouraged to participate in the life of the Church. Worship is our primary activity, especially week by week on Sunday mornings; see Services for details. In addition to regular worship we periodically run courses about aspects of faith, a variety of groups meet regularly or occasionally during the week and there are social events and special occasions. Information about these can be found on our Activities and Events pages.

Regular worshippers aged 16 or over are encouraged to join the Church Electoral Roll. This allows you to play a full part in elections for Church positions; it also helps enable better communication between Church members.

Accessibility and openness

We aim in our services and activities to be open to all, following the example of Jesus Christ. We value the diversity of people who are part of St John’s; a wide range of views, traditions and backgrounds are represented, and all comers are (we hope) respected, welcomed and treated with equality.

As part of this approach, we try to make services and events accessible to people with disabilities (within the limits of a historic building). The Church itself and the Church Centre ground floor (including toilet) are wheelchair-accessible via a ramp at the main door. (NB The Upper Room in the Church Centre is only accessible by stairs). There is a loop system in Church which is in operation for all our main services; hearing aid users should switch to ‘T’. We also provide large-print versions of service sheets, hymn books etc. for the visually impaired.