The Revd Charles Miller, MA, MDiv, DPhil (Oxon), was appointed Team Rector of Abingdon with pastoral responsibility for St Helen's Church in 2006. A native of the State of Connecticut, Charles is a life long Anglican and his ministry has been divided between Britain and the United States. Before coming to Abingdon, Charles was Rector of the Church of the Transfiguration in Manhattan, USA, and has served in pastoral and theological teaching roles in both the Church of England and the Episcopal Church. His interests include Christianity and art, the Orthodox Christian tradition, and the Anglican spiritual tradition. He has published three books, and numerous scholarly and popular articles and essays.
The Revd Paul Smith has been Team Vicar in the Parish Abingdon-on-Thames since 2010 with responsibility for St Michael and All Angels in Park Road, and St Nicolas' Church in the Market Place, both churches in which you will always find a welcome.
Father Paul trained for ordination at Ripon College, Cuddesdon and was ordained deacon in 2000, and priest in 2001. He served his curacy in this diocese in the Parish of Prestwood and Great Hampden, between High Wycombe and Amersham, Buckinghamshire. In 2005 he moved to the south coast, to be Vicar of St Alban, West Leigh, a housing estate with significant areas of deprivation, in the Diocese of Portsmouth.
Father Paul is passionate about the Church of England being in every part of our land. Irrespective of where they may be on a journey of faith and belief, all must be valued and respected for who they are. The church is for everyone.
Living in a fast-moving and uncertain world today, Father Paul longs for the church to speak to both those issues which really matter to us all, and what matters to individuals.
At the heart of the gospel is the good news that God is not a tyrant ready to condemn us, but a God who loves without limit, and wants nothing more than for us to flourish in the way he has made us. Father Paul's own life experience of physical impairment has helped him empathise with those who, for whatever reason, the church sees as 'different', be it through race, gender, sexual orientation or identity, because we are each part of God's glorious diversity in creation. Physical impairment has caused Father Paul to face suffering, yet he remains unafraid to ask the hard questions. Being honest with God has shown him that in the unfailing compassion of Jesus Christ we are not given slick answers, neither do we receive solutions to our difficulties. Rather, we encounter the God who enters our most profound questions and accompanies us on the loneliest of paths.
Father Paul enjoys reading, (especially biography), a variety of music, and although a failed pianist, loves singing anytime and anywhere! He also enjoys all things food related. His sense of humour goes before him and he believes that a day on which one hasn't laughed is day that is wasted! As a constant, spiritual discipline he strives to: 'Find Joy in Each Day'.
The Revd Jennifer Brown is a self-supporting Associate Priest in the parish. She is the Director of Training for the College of Preachers, an ecumenical charity that supports preachers and promotes excellence in preaching. Jennifer is also a theological educator, having taught at Ripon College Cuddesdon for 12 years where she was Director of the Cuddesdon School of Theology and Ministry. Prior to coming to Abingdon, she ministered in the Churn Benefice, where she was Science Missioner, and she continues to have a strong interest in the relationship between science and theology. In 2023, Jennifer completed a PhD in the Psychology of Religion, with research focused on the relationship between religion and morality. As well as her interest in science and faith, Jennifer is interested in Christianity and the arts and enjoys both reading and writing poetry. She is passionate about care for creation and animal welfare, and helping people to explore what the Christian faith teaches about these things.
Licensed Lay Minister
Gwen Bevington is a Licensed Lay Minister in the parish, having been licensed as a Reader in St Alban’s Diocese in 1997. She preaches from time to time in all three churches and leads non-eucharistic services. She is passionate about relating theology to life as we live it, bringing together biblical insight and our life now in a way that we experience as present and authentic, with space for God to touch us. She serves as a Steward in St Helen’s church, also a Verger for some weddings and funerals, and has recently become Parish Baptism Co-ordinator, liaising with parents and young people as they come to start their Christian journey.
Mrs Jackie Cunningham is the Parish Administrator and the Parish Office is open to the public Monday to Thursday each week from 10.00am to 1.00pm. The Parish Office can be contacted either by telephone (01235 520144) or email.
- Linda Hobbs, David Pope (St Helen's)
- Joyce Kelly, Louise Heffernan (St Michael's)
- Eluned Hallas, Paul Rast-Lindsell (St Nicolas')
Communications to the St Helen's Church Wardens should be directed through the Parish Office, St Helen's Court, Abingdon OX14 5BS, or by email .
We are also served and supported by a team of honorary clergy.
All photographs of Revd Charles Miller: Jill Orpen Portrait Photography, Sudbury-on-Thames.