The staff team at Unitarian HQ support the vitality of our wider movement.
Liz Slade (Chief Officer)
Our Chief Officer, Liz Slade, works with the Executive Committee and leads the staff team. She joined us in March 2019 after a senior career in the healthcare industry. Originally from Dorset, Liz joined our New Unity congregation in north London, starting her on a spiritual journey which led her through leadership in the Sunday Assembly movement to leading pilgrimages treating works of literature as sacred texts, before becoming our Chief Officer. She is excited by the role that Unitarians can play in bringing a cultural shift to make it easy for everyone to participate in a spiritually healthy community, and sees this as a necessary part of creating a society that is more equal and in balance with the natural world. Contact Liz.
Simon Bland (Ministry & Congregational Support Officer)
Simon works with congregations, ministers and lay leaders on all matters of operation and governance. He also provides the administrative support to the Ministry Strategy and Interview Panel. Based in Lincolnshire and with a history of community development and voluntary sector involvement, Simon enjoys the countryside, travel and change. Contact Simon.
Rev. Rory Castle Jones (Communications Officer)
Rory looks after our central website, social media, and e-newsletter, as well as offering guidance and support to our congregations. He lives in the Swansea Valley in Wales, where is the minister of Gellionnen Chapel, having previously worked in Higher Education. Outside of work, he enjoys learning languages, long walks in the mountains with his husband and dog, and travel. Contact Rory.
Natalia Talikova (Finance Assistant)
Natalia is part of the finance team as a Finance Assistant. Originally from Riga, Latvia, she has lived in the UK for 12 years and is currently based in London. She is pursuing an MSc in Quantitative Risk Management with Machine Learning at Birkbeck, University of London. With over 20 years of experience, Natalja is deeply engrossed in contemplative practices and yoga and hasan equal affinity for nature and technology. Being a creative individual, she often indulges in painting and drawing for relaxation. Contact Natalia.
Rev. Melda Grantham (Weddings Lead / Welsh Department Secretary)
Melda is our Weddings Lead, supporting congregations who wish to conduct more and better weddings, building sustainable capacity to do so, while also raising the profile of our unique wedding offer at the local and national level. She is also the Secretary for the Welsh Department, which supports and offers guidance to the Unitarian congregations of Wales. Melda was ordained a Unitarian minister in 2021 having formerly worked as the Superintendent Registrar for the County of Ceredigion. Melda is a first language Welsh speaker, lives in the Llandysul area with her husband, dog and horses. When time allows, she enjoys a range of creative pursuits, especially textile art. Contact Melda.
Gavin Howell (Safeguarding Lead and Youth Coordinator)
Put simply, Gav makes space which meets need. He works in collaboration with groups to cocreate safe and enabling spaces for all. With the support of volunteers, he coordinates several youth and family initiatives on behalf of The General Assembly. His background is in education with Nurture being his specialism. Originally from Co. Down, he now lives in Norwich and is a member of The Octagon Chapel. He values play, spontaneity, and occasional bouts of rascality. Contact Gavin.
Lizzie Kingston-Harrison (Congregational Connections Lead)
Lizzie loves building authentic and meaningful connections with people and creating spaces where ideas can be shared freely and creatively. She cares deeply about Unitarian principles and left her career in teaching to contribute to this loving and vibrant community. Her role is to find new ways to connect our congregations so that we can share resources, serve our communities, and inspire each other. Lizzie grew up in Norwich and now lives in Suffolk with her husband and daughters. The beautiful coastal countryside and the grounded and welcoming community at Framlingham Unitarian Meeting house have helped her to find a spiritual home. Contact Lizzie.
David Joseph (Finance Manager)
David has overall responsibility for the work of the finance department. He has a professional background in both the charity and commercial sectors. Away from work, David has an interest in ‘noir’ films. Contact David.
Audrey Longhurst (Administrator)
Audrey is the voice you will hear if you call the Essex Hall switchboard and deals with general enquiries. Book sales fall under her remit, together with a variety of administrative tasks and liaises closely with the Accounts team. Audrey worked for many years in Human Resources before joining the GA. She loves living in Central London and is based at Essex Hall and so enjoys walking home along the South Bank of the River Thames during the balmy spring and summer evenings. Contact Audrey.
Andrew Mason (Operations Manager)
Andrew acts as Building Manager for our Central London Office premises, and also provides office management and administration services, arranges our Annual Meetings, and produces our Annual Report and Directory. Andrew lives in Surrey, and has been with the GA since 2000. Contact Andrew.
Ann Howell (Social Action Officer)
Ann is our Social Action Officer, supporting congregations and individuals across the Unitarian movement in making an impact in our social justice work. She lives in London and is an active member of Lewisham Unity. Contact Ann.