A number of churches around the country have established a programme of Saturday morning or weekday evening sessions open to anyone, where there is clear and inspiring teaching on theological matters, with time to discuss their application to daily life. Learning hubs have already been established at Liverpool Cathedral, St George’s in Leeds and St Thomas Crookes in Sheffield among other places. Good, well-qualified speakers are invited to lead sessions and this is sometimes complemented by facilitated sessions using carefully chosen DVDs from St Paul’s Theological Centre based at Holy Trinity Brompton in London, or elsewhere. The emphasis is on high quality input and lively discussion.

Following exploratory discussions between some of the clergy from Christ Church, St Mark’s and St Peter’s in Harrogate, these three churches took a lead in establishing a similar School of Theology & Mission in the Harrogate area. This has the advantage of involving churches from a range of traditions and which together have the resources to support such an initiative. A small working group, initially drawn from the three sponsoring churches, has focused on developing the project and the core team has been augmented by representatives from other denominations. As the School of Theology & Mission grows, others with experience, skills and enthusiasm will be encouraged to join the working group.

Around the UK, Schools of Theology are proving to be of significant value in the life of those churches running the programme. They are helping to build and deepen faith and understanding, equipping people for a life of discipleship, encouraging people to develop a Christian world view and forming leaders for every sphere of life. In future years the programme will be extended and diversified to meet the needs and aspirations of those who choose to join this exciting journey of exploration and discovery.
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Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds

“Harrogate School of Theology and Mission is a valuable resource for all those in this part of Yorkshire who want to think more deeply about Christianity and its biblical roots. Over a number of years it has built up an enviable reputation and has provided excellent opportunities to reflect on how Christian faith and conviction can shape individual lives and church communities, and so become a transformative influence in our local communities. I hope that it will also be of value to those who are seeking to find out more about the Christian faith. Having been invited to participate in its lecture series soon after I became Bishop of Leeds, I strongly commend it.”

Meet the Team

Linda Boon

Linda is currently Associate Vicar (SSM) within Cayton Parish (which includes five rural churches between Harrogate and Ripon). Her whole career has been within education – first as a secondary school teacher, then 20 years in adult and community education, nine years in police education and finally six years as Pastoral Tutor at St Hild College, a theological training institution for trainee vicars/ministers, from which she retired in 2022. She hopes to continue her involvement in education until she drops because the Christian faith demands a continual process of ‘renewing of your mind’ (to quote St Paul) which is a truly wonderful and life-enhancing thing.

Alan Garrow

Alan Garrow is Vicar of St Peter’s Harrogate and a Member of the Sheffield Centre for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies. He has published widely in the field of New Testament studies and has a particular interest in how the New Testament texts were used in early Christian worship. More information about his research and writing is available at

Ian Johnston

Ian spent many years running hospitals and consulting to the NHS, also being head of department at Leeds University.  He was ordained, initially serving at  St John the Baptist, Adel in Leeds and Minister to Business in Leeds before becoming Associate Priest in the parishes of Hampsthwaite, Killinghall and Birstwith. Now retired, he supports the Rector at Adel.  Ian mentored many people over the years and is now a personal tutor to ordinands in their formation for ministry at St Hild College.  He retains a keen interest in philosophy, which he studied in the UK and Canada, and its relationship to theology, in which he has a degree from Sheffield University.

Geoffrey Turner

Geoffrey Turner is an associate minister at Christ Church, Harrogate. He has been Vicar of various Anglican parishes from urban priority areas to leafy suburbs. Before that he was an industrial chemist and has a PhD in Chemical Spectroscopy.

Ann Chesworth

Ann is part-time minister at Harrogate Baptist Church, as well as working part time as the Legal, Property and Trust Officer for the Yorkshire Baptist Association.  Originally from Bristol, she has been ministering in Yorkshire since 2007, having completed her ministry training and theology degree at Spurgeons College in London.

Ruth Cundy

Ruth Cundy is a long-time member of St Mark’s, Harrogate where she is a Reader. Ruth has retired from teaching music and has a heart for worship that embraces a breadth of traditions.

Photo of James Handley

James Handley

James is a self-supporting Associate Minister at St Mark’s Church, Harrogate, with the main focus of ministry being his paid employment as a Software Developer at JBA Consulting. He trained for ordination at St Hild College, where he obtained his theology degree, and also has a PhD In Computing, and is a Chartered Engineer. James has published in computing, theology, and computing & theology, and writes a occasional blog with his reflections on life, ministry, and work. He joined the HST&M committee in 2022, and is usually found helping out with the technical side at our events.

Stewart Davies

Biography to follow

Andrew Brown

Andrew Brown

Andrew has been a Methodist local preacher for over 40 years and has written a number of hymns.  He was an architect and town planner specialising in the historic environment, retiring in 2017 when he and his wife moved to Harrogate; they worship at Woodlands Methodist Church on Wetherby Road.