Who We Are
The Deanery of Bedford is a group of 22 neighbouring parishes. Together these 22 parishes form an administrative area.
The Deanery of Bedford is overseen by an Area Dean, The Revd Dr Sam Cappleman, and a Lay Chair, Mrs Pauline Kendall.
The Deanery of Bedford has a Deanery Synod made up of the clergy and elected lay representatives from the parishes. The Deanery Synod is a forum for the parishes to exchange views on issues affecting the Deanery of Bedford. Its members also elect representatives to the Diocesan Synod and also to the General Synod, which is the legislative and deliberative body of the Church of England.
The Revd Dr Sam Cappleman
Sam is associate priest at Bedford St Mark’s and Area Dean of Bedford. He is currently the Executive Chair of the Lee Abbey Movement and involved in a number of other Christian Charities.
His biblical and theological interests include the Jewish origins of the Christian faith and liturgy and how the church today relates to the society in which we live.
Lay Vice Chair
Sheila has been a member of Bedford St. Andrew’s for many years and held a number of roles including chair of the Outreach and Music Committees as well as treasurer of the very successful Fairtrade Shop. She has been Safeguarding Officer since 2010 and is also Equality and Diversity Officer. She has been a member of Deanery since 2013 with an interest in the role churches have within society to promote social justice and inclusion.
Sheila is a retired advisory teacher with many interests including singing, church music, gardening, walking, dancing and bowls.
Mrs Pauline Kendall
Pauline has always enjoyed opportunities to meet with other Christians – regardless of tradition- who have the gospel at the heart of all that they do .
Pauline worships and lives in Wootton and
is the Deputy Head at The Bedford Sixth Form on Bromham Road.
Richard is a retired chartered accountant, in his 20th year as Treasurer at St. Mary the Virgin, Goldington. He is married to Dorothy, a retired civil servant, and they have two children and one grandchild. Dorothy is a keen bell ringer and helps lead the church catering team at St. Mary's and Richard sings in the choir.
Richard enjoys playing bowls, gardening and listening to music but his main passion is walking, especially long ones.
The Revd Paul Messam
Assistant Area Dean
Paul is Priest-in-charge of the Elstow Abbey Team and Assistant Area Dean of Bedford. Paul has been at Elstow Abbey since November 2016 having previously held Church and Chaplaincy posts in Coventry Diocese and Leicester Diocese.
With a background in Design and Advertising Paul continues to have a keen interest in Apologetics and the Mass Media. He is also an active member in the Society of Catholic Priests.
Mrs Kathryn Hughes
Deanery Synod Secretary
Kathryn has been providing administrative support to the Deanery of Bedford since June 2016 and took on the role of Deanery Synod Secretary in December 2020.
In addition to these roles, Kathryn works as a fundraiser for local charity Friends for Life Bedfordshire. Although now a registered charity, Friends for Life Bedfordshire started life as a ecumenical project launched by the Deanery of Bedford and the North Bedfordshire Methodist Circuit.
Licensed Extra Parochial Chaplaincies
Mr Neil McCleery
Chaplain to Bedford School
Neil joined Bedford School in 2018, having previously served as a chaplain in prep and senior schools, two Oxford colleges, and latterly a cathedral.
He bears responsibility for the life of the School Chapel, as well as teaching Theology, Philosophy, and Religion, providing pastoral support to pupils, parents, and staff, and taking an active part in wider School life. Find out more here
Formerly a professional musician, he is keen on aviation and the outdoors, coaches target shooting, and takes an interest in all things French.