Reverend Chris RowberryReverend Christopher Rowberry

Chris Rowberry, the vicar at St John’s Hedge End, is married to Karen, our assistant priest.  Chris was born in Worcester and grew up in the middle of Birmingham, moving to Dawlish on the south coast in his late teens. This was where he started his career in catering training at South Devon College in hotel and catering management. 

Working for several years up and down the south coast he met Karen in Seaton in East Devon. Always an agnostic he was moved by the gentle influence of Karen and a Franciscan friar Br. Keith to the realisation that faith was as much about action in terms of social justice as going to church. 

Married in 1983, Karen and Chris moved to Plymouth where Chris trained as a social worker, working in Penzance Social Service department, predominantly in child care and juvenile justice work. Whilst there, one of the mothers of the families he was working with told him that she just needed to be forgiven for her past and to know that she was loved. This was a profoundly moving time and led to three years of soul searching about the possibility of ordination to the priesthood. 

After talking to the parish priest in Newby, Chris applied for and was appointed Diocesan Youth Advisor in Salisbury Diocese for five years. During this time ordination became a stronger calling and so now, with two young children, the Rowberry family moved to Queens College in Birmingham where Chris trained for parish ministry.

In 1995 the family returned to Poole, to the parish of Lytchett Minster, where Chris spent 3 years as curate, then moving to St Mary’s Church in Eling as part of the Totton Team ministry. After ten years he moved to be incumbent at St John’s Church Hedge End.

Chris is a passionate fly fisherman, ties his own flies, is interested in Media and Modern Culture, particularly film and theology; thinks he can get a tune out of an alto sax; has an iPad; has a heart for justice and supports Christian Aid; loves fair-trade coffee (but only fresh coffee) and has 11608 songs (that is 39 days’ worth of songs) in his iTunes library

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Reverend Karen RowberryReverend Karen Rowberry - Assistant Curate

Karen grew up with a great love for the outdoors on a farm in Croyde, N.Devon and spent a lot of time in the fields with her dad, helping to harvest the vegetables. Croyde was a beautiful place to grow up in and she loves walking, especially by the sea, in all weathers.  She still loves growing vegetables and has an allotment and an ongoing battle with grass and weeds.

She met Chris when he was a chef in Seaton when she was planning to spend a year in India with the missionary society, USPG.  She spent a year teaching in a school in a small village in the Punjab before returning to marry Chris.  They had two children who were born in Cornwall and the family has experienced life in many different places.  The family were all involved in the Jubilee 2000 Campaign and support FairTrade and Christian Aid.

Karen was ordained priest in 2011 and is a minister in secular employment, working in the week as a Dyslexia Adviser at Southampton Solent University. She loves music of all types, especially kletzmer music. 

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Roy HogbenRoy Hogben - Reader Emeritus

Roy was born in Hampstead, London in 1935 and educated at The Dersingham School NW London, after which he worked in general business environments in various capacities. He married Jannie in 1962 and moved to Hedge End as the area manager for Litton Industries, Southampton. In 1976 Roy started his own business and opened his first shop, supplying office equipment, furniture and art materials.

He became a convinced Christian in 1982 after a family tragedy and was baptised and confirmed in 1983. In 1995, after three years training, Roy was licensed as a Reader. He retired from business in 2000.

In his capacity as a Reader at St: John's, among other things, he led the monthly Prayer Group and regular Bible Study groups for some seven years. In 2001 he initiated the annual Holocaust Memorial Service and in 2007 the annual Persecuted Church service. Additionally he has maintained our ministry link with Bonhomie House care home for over 14 years.

Roy became Reader Emeritus in 2011.

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Lyn ColmanLyn Colman - Churchwarden

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Tim JamesTim James - Churchwarden

Tim grew up in King's Lynn, Norfolk, before coming to Southampton to study electronic engineering at the University of Southampton.  After university, Tim stayed in the Southampton area, moving to Hedge End in 2007 with his wife, Victoria, whom he met whilst at University, and their son.

After several years keeping a low profile, Tim took on the role of Churchwarden in 2015. 

Outside of work, Tim's interest include photography, cycling and walking.

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Yvonne ThorntonYvonne Thornton - Churchwarden

Yvonne grew up in Guernsey in the Channel Islands and moved to Fordingbridge in the UK in 1980 when she married her late husband Ray. They had two children and moved to Hedge End in 1984 and she has now resided here for the past 35 years, most of that time she has been involved here at St John's in one role or another. 

She married Malcolm in 1998 and they both enjoy spending time with their grandchildren. When she’s not busy with the children she enjoys gardening, various crafts and travelling.
Yvonne’s love of people and her church has guided her back to the role of Churchwarden and she looks forward to serving the community and God here in Hedge End.

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Chris ClevettChris Clevett - Parish Administrator/PCC Secretary

I was born in Plymouth, Devon in 1956 and have lived there all of my life (Well, it is a lovely part of the country!).  In 2013 my job with Lloyds Wealth Management brought myself and my husband, Steve, to Hedge End.  There was also another underlying reason ......  our daughter, son-in-law and 3 lovely grandchildren (7, 5 and 3) live in Botley.  We had thought of moving previously, but my job was the catalyst that started the ball rolling. I decided to take redundancy from the Bank at the end of 2014 and was looking for a part-time role, where I could also spend more time with family; hence my role at St. Johns Parish Office.

My husband and I enjoy caravanning in the UK and France & are members of the Caravan Club. We also love walking and photography, often spending weekends away exploring the English countryside and various National Trust properties – we have already visited a few in the surrounding area!

I am keen to become a part of the local community and feel that this role will certainly help me to achieve this.

I look forward to meeting some of you in due course.

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Sue GarveySue Garvey - Head Server

Sue was born in south-east London into a Catholic family and when she married Terry they moved to a small village near Chelmsford in Essex.  The Church of England there was very much a part of village life. Sue became very involved in the local church and when she left work to have her children, both girls were baptised in the local Church in the village where they worshiped.  In 1984 her husband’s job brought us to Hedge End. 

Sue soon became a member of St John’s Church, serving on the PCC, the social committee and taking on the role of Child Protection Officer. Both her daughters attended the Sunday school and then confirmation classes, Sarah became a member of the girls’ choir. It was with great joy that Sue’s brother, who had also joined the Church of England, first becoming a Reader then a Vicar, married both her daughters and recently baptised both her grandchildren in St John’s. She is presently Head Server for the 0945 service.

Outside of her church life, she is interested in many crafts, including lacemaking, beading, card making and quilting. She was also involved in making the banners that the Southampton Quilters made for the church.

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Marsha HaleMarsha Hale - Spire Magazine Editor

Marsha has lived in the parish since the 1960’s and has seen Hedge End grow from a small, quiet hamlet to a thriving village.  Over the years she has worked in the commercial and advertising world, but now works for a few hours each week in the Hedge End Post Office shop area.  Her main interests are art, gardening and walking. In 2008 she became the fourth editor of the Spire.

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