Who's Who at the Minster
Rev. Andrew Rowland's early career took him to The Lebanon and Nigeria. Upon returning home in 1983 he progressed to Managing Director of a privately-owned group of local companies. After taking a Degree in Theology at Southampton and Surrey University Andrew was ordained in Salisbury Cathedral as Deacon in 2001 and Priest in 2002. He served his Curacy at Verwood before being appointed Vicar of West Moors in 2005. He was appointed to the additional position of Rural Dean of Wimborne in 2016 and was installed as Rector in September 2018. Andrew and his wife Zahra enjoy a wide range of hobbies and interests, including gardening, cuisine and ‘planes and trains’ – Andrew is a member of Wimborne Railway and the Ffestiniog Railway Societies. He has been a chaplain to the Dorset Police and to The Great Dorset Steam Fair since 2006. He is Chairman of the ‘Coach in the Community’ youth support charity and is involved in education as a schools Governor since 1989. Of his work in the Minster, he says, "We assure you of our goodwill and prayers for you all, and ask you to pray for us too. Our intention is to pray, serve and grow - together, for the sake of proclaiming the Gospel and furthering the Kingdom of God."
The Rev. Suzie Allen joined the clergy team in April 2015 from her curacy in Wareham parish. She is married with two teenage children and is based out in the Northern Villages, in Hinton Martell. She is charged with the pastoral care of the Northern Village side of the benefice, however, is firmly part of Minster life too.
In her previous 'life' before following her calling into the priesthood she worked as a Family and Children's Worker for a church in Salisbury, a Parish Secretary and an array of administrative jobs in healthcare, the financial and procurement industries.
Suzie is an Associate Priest in the benefice.
Rev. Dr Brenda Gibson has been a member of the Minster congregation for over 30 years, and served as a Licensed Reader for 11 years before being ordained in 2004. Originally trained as a scientist and a schoolteacher (both of which still show!), she worked for several years in the Area Office, ‘running’ a bishop and two Archdeacons, while also tutoring candidates for ordination. Her particular focus at the Minster is on worship and teaching. Retirement from the ‘day job’ has left space for further study, while in her spare time, she enjoys reading, music and walking.
Rev. Bill French “I joined the clergy team in October 2016 from my curacy at St Michael’s and all Angels In Verwood. Prior to my ordination in 2010 I saw service with the Grenadier guards and the police service. Up to the time of my ordination I was a magistrate serving on the East Dorset benches.”
Rev. Heather Waldsax As well as being an Associate Priest in Wimborne Minster Heather works extensively in the Diocese of Salisbury as Young Vocations Resource Officer, Music in Worship Network Co-ordinator, and a secondary school consultant with the Diocesan Board of Education. Heather is married to John and has lived in the area for nearly 40 years. She retired in 2014 as an Assistant Headteacher and teacher of Religious Education after a career of 34 years in two church secondary schools. For relaxation she sings in the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, is an active supporter of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and enjoys playing the piano and watching rugby.
Rev. Elise Harding
"I trained as a nurse in Oxford and enjoyed a varied career, culminating in research and service development in East Dorset. My project - Disability Action, is based at Christchurch Hospital. In 1991 I moved to Shropshire to become a Vicar's wife and, as a Reader, to work alongside Michael. On his 'retirement' we moved to Colehill and started working from April to September here, and September to March in the Anglican Chaplaincy of Tenerife South, Diocese in Europe. I then trained for the Ordained ministry and joined the Team here in 2010. Our lifestyle is varied. I love exercising a ministry in two very different contexts and I love the people that we are privileged to work alongside and to serve."
Rev. Michael Harding “I joined the RAF as a teenager and I trained in the Supply Trade and also for several years in Work Study (Time and Motion). At 30 I married a teacher, I left the RAF and went to Salisbury theological college for 4 years and started a family. I have two sons. After Ordination I served in various parishes, from a very urban, large one in London to a very rural six parish group in Shropshire. Retiring from `paid` ministry I moved to Colehill and am now helping where I can at the Minster. I am also a Minster Guide. For several year I have gone, with Elise, to Tenerife to assist in the Chaplaincy there (part of the Diocese in Europe).”
Rev. Alan Davies "I retired to Wimborne in May 2000 after a full-time ministry as a Vicar in the Diocese of Liverpool. Since then I have served as an Honorary Assistant Priest on the Clergy Team at the Minster, where I have had a very happy and fulfilling retirement ministry. My special focus is on supporting the spiritual and prayer life of the Minster and as a Franciscan Tertiary I am the leader of the new “Companions of St Francis” Group. From 2011-2016 I also served as the Chaplain to the Wimborne branch of the Royal British Legion."
Elfie Mills, licensed lay minister ‘I have served as Lay Chaplain at Poole Hospital since 2001 and as a trained Lay Pastoral Assistant since 2003 for the Wimborne Minster community. Since 2007, I have been leading New Horizon Prayers on Saturday mornings and I am also on duty in the Chained Library on a fortnightly basis. In September 2013 I was licensed as Reader and will complete the LLM training later this year. My leisure time activities are reading, listening to classical music, walking, knitting, crochet and always attending to my Siberian Forest cat, Sophie.’
David Gostick has been Director of Music at the Minster since November 2005. Outside the church he conducts the Bournemouth Sinfonietta Choir, a chamber choir with a strong reputation for contemporary music with whom he has undertaken several large commissions and recorded two CDs. He is Musical Director of the Portsmouth Choral Union, one of the south coast's leading large choirs. He leads the Gryphon School Senior Choir, recent finalists in BBC Choir of the Year. In the field of opera, David is Head of Music at Co-Opera Co and has conducted numerous productions for OperaUpClose, Dorset Productions and Dress Circle Wessex.
Jane Davidson, Safeguarding officer
John Hughes, Verger
Ashley Coombes, Verger
Penny Baxter, Parish Secretary
Donna Gosney, Shop Manager and Administrative Assistant
Karen Manneh, Finance Officer