We are delighted to be welcoming so many new faces to our Circuit.  Here is a short introduction to some of our new friends.  Firstly our new superintendent minister and his family.

Ben Clowes: Superintendent and Minister

Let me introduce us – we’re the Clowes family. We’ve moved to the Nidd Valley Circuit from Cheshire. I have just completed 10 years in my first circuit, Alderley Edge and Knutsford, looking after 3 churches including The Welcome.  This is one of the oldest ‘Fresh Expressions’ in the country and one of the first to convert into a fully-formed church in its own right.  We actually lived in Alderley Edge and when I did my probationer studies research on the village I learnt that there were more millionaires per square mile there than anywhere else in the country!

Over the last 10 years, we have grown physically as a family – we arrived there when Sam was 8 and Joel was 4 and about to begin school.  We leave with Joel about to start his GCSE courses which he will take at St Aidan’s, and Sam awaiting his A-level results and hoping to go to university to read chemistry this autumn! I began my ministry there and left as a co-superintendent.  During our time in Alderley Edge, Catherine became a trained Christian counsellor alongside honing her skills as a qualified worship leader among many other things.  Later this year she will begin work in the Ripon & Lower Dales Circuit as a Community Link Enabler. 

We’re looking forward to all that God has for us here in the Nidd Valley Circuit.  We do feel strongly that God has led us here and we’re looking forward to working with you all.  There are many challenges we face as church in the 21st Century but as we begin our new journey together we need to remember that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).  Here’s to all that God has for us all as we journey on with him. 

Yours in Christ 

(As well as being our Superintendent, Ben is also Minister at Trinity and Pannal.)

Rev. Grace Caudwell

Our new minister at Bilton Area, Hampsthwaite, and Killinghall.  

Ben and I met at Uni (he was studying law and my degree is in Youth and Community Work).  We then moved to Stanley, Co Durham, where I worked in pioneer ministry on a housing estate. 

Ben’s job took us to North Yorkshire, with Ben working as a solicitor in Richmond, and I worked in various outreach roles in the Darlington circuit.

I’ve trained part time at Queens Foundation, which took longer than expected as we are now a family of four, with Edward (3) & Emily (18 months) who both love dinosaurs, Postman Pat, and trains. 
When I’ve not been busy studying, chasing toddlers, or walking our dogs I’m involved in reusable nappy and sling libraries, supporting other parents with young children. 

I’m really looking forward to getting to know people, and to working alongside you all as we show and share God’s love in the Nidd Valley circuit and beyond.


Breaking News as we go to press:  Congratulations to Sam Clowes who has gained excellent A level results, with A*AA and an A in his Extended Project.   He has got his place at The University of York to study Chemistry.  His family are well proud! 

Rev Gillian Houghton

Grace is being assisted by Rev. Gillian Houghton at Bilton.  Although Gillian lives in Harrogate, she has recently been working in the Wharfedale & Aireborough Circuit, with churches in Guiseley, Yeadon, Hawksworth and Rawdon.   Gillian introduces herself here: 

Hi. My name is Rev. Gillian Houghton and I’m joining the circuit to work part-time (30% of the week) alongside Rev. Grace Cauldwell at Bilton Area Methodist Church.  I am married to Tom and we have an elderly whippet called Honey.  I like to be creative and have an interest in art.  These interests feed into the worship I prepare. I came into ministry in 2003 and prior to that had been a technical translator and then a secondary school teacher (French and German).   I’m looking forward to getting to know you and working alongside Grace.

Rev Gillian Houghton

Pippa French: Manager of Wesley Centre

From the beginning of September, Pippa French takes up her new post as Manager of Wesley Centre.  Pippa is no stranger to the circuit; she is an active member at Pannal, and attends circuit meetings.

Originally from London, I first came up north to university in Leeds in 1984 to study History of the Fine & Decorative Arts.  After then working back in London and Nottingham in public relations and marketing, I got a job with the BBC as Press Officer for the Yorkshire & Lincolnshire region.  I got married in Boston Spa in 2001 but have lived in Harrogate for 16 years. Our two children appeared in 2004 and 2005 and I decided to give up work to look after them. I retrained as a reflexologist and kept busy with a number of voluntary roles – just as interesting as my previous jobs but minus a salary! 

I am now very excited to be taking on my new position at the Wesley Centre. I will be continuing the great work that’s already been done there and working to make sure it fulfils its potential and plays a big part in the heart of Harrogate’s lively community.

Pippa  French 

Posted on: Tue, 12 Sep 2017