Our Leadership and Staff

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Canon Adrian Daffern


Adrian was born in Wolverhampton in 1968, the son of a taxi driver and a wages clerk. Educated at local state schools, he is a graduate of the Universities of Durham and Oxford. After his ordination in 1992 Adrian served as a curate in Lichfield, as a Team Vicar on a housing estate in Stafford, and then as vicar of a large post-industrial parish in Walsall. He then spent seven years as a Residentiary Canon at Coventry Cathedral before spending eight years in the Diocese of Oxford as Rector of Woodstock and Bladon, Area Dean of Woodstock, and Assistant Archdeacon of Dorchester.

A keen musician and a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, for a few years Adrian could be heard at the organ in episodes of The Archers. As well as music, he loves sport (especially squash and, as a result of lockdown, running), reading, and travelling at home and abroad. He has published on the spirituality of Julian of Norwich. Adrian is married to the Reverend Dr Megan Daffern, who is a Biblical scholar and Tutor & Bye-Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge.

In addition to being the Vicar of the University Church, Adrian is the Rural Dean of Cambridge North, and a Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College.


Devin McLachlan

Associate Vicar

Devin is Associate Vicar of the University Church, Cambridge, and Bishop’s Advisor on Interfaith Affairs for the Diocese of Ely. Convener of the University of Cambridge Deans & Chaplains, he was formerly Assistant Chaplain at Jesus College, Cambridge. Trained at Episcopal Divinity School and Harvard University, Devin is a native of Chicago now living in Cambridge.  He has previously served as a parish priest in Massachusetts, and as a chaplain at Brent House, the Episcopal Church’s chaplaincy at the University of Chicago, and a tutor at Westcott House. He is the past president of Grassroots International and of the Hyde Park Transitional Housing Project.


Richard Summers

Director of Operations

Richard is responsible for managing the day to day operation of the church and its staff. He has extensive experience of management within a faith context and before joining us at Great St. Mary’s worked for Quakers nationally, as the General Secretary of Quaker Life. Over the years, he has served  as a Trustee of  many organisations, including The International Sacred Literature Trust, The Friend Publications Ltd.,  Cambridgeshire Area Quaker Meeting and Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre. He  currently serves as a Trustee for Church Schools of Cambridge.


Andrew Day


Andrew was born in Cape Town, South Africa and studied at the Universities of Stellenbosch, Cape Town and Durham. For much of his working life, Andrew has been in education in both the independent and state sectors in the UK and South Africa, as a teacher and, latterly, as a Headteacher. But, in a moment of sheer indulgence, spent time in the travel industry specializing in safaris in southern Africa. Andrew's ministry includes serving as a school governor in two Cambridge schools, and as a Trustee of the Woodard Academies Trust.


Shirley Holder


Shirley was born in Ireland and brought up in the Methodist Church until deciding to be confirmed in the Church of Ireland. She trained as a Primary school teacher in London and taught for 25 years, before being licensed as a Lay Minister in Coventry Diocese in 2000. She worked with her ordained husband in that Diocese and in Oxford Diocese and in Heidelberg in the Diocese of Europe. They moved to Cambridge and in 2009 Shirley was licensed to Great St Mary’s, Cambridge, where she was ordained Deacon in February 2020 and ordained Priest in September 2020. Shirley has particular responsibility for co-ordinating pastoral care of Great St Mary's congregation.

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David Bagnall


David has been curate at Great St Mary’s, since his ordination in September 2020. He also serves as the assistant chaplain at Emmanuel College where he is writing a PhD on the use of language within the Anglican Communion. A Cotswold lad by birth, David was Senior Choral Scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, where he read English Literature for his undergraduate degree, and Development Studies for his M.Phil. Prior to ordination, David was an English teacher before working as a youth minister for North Lambeth Parish in South London. He and his wife Katharine live in Cambridge, and are looked after by their dog, Bessie.


Jon Sanders


Jon grew up in Watford and moved to Cambridge in 2011 to study English. After graduating he worked in administrative roles in the University and completed an MPhil in Theology, while also discerning his vocation to ordained ministry. He was trained at Westcott House.

He is married to Hanna, who works for the University, and they have a daughter.  Jon enjoys cooking and walking, reading, listening to music and cricket.


Helen Orr

Associate Priest

Helen read theology at Magdalene College Cambridge in the 1990’s where she was the first soprano choral scholar. Spending twenty years as a professional singer she moved back to her roots training for ordained ministry at Ridley Hall and spending her curacy at St. Andrew’s Chesterton. She now lives in Chesterton with her husband James, their two children and their black Labrador, Coco. And having spent a year as the Pioneer Minister at Michaelhouse is an associate priest at Great Saint Mary’s.


Margaret Johnston and Joye Rosenstiel


Churchwardens are the Bishop’s officers in the parish. Elected by the parish, they provide leadership and guidance in all aspects of our life together. Margaret was formerly an Administrator in the Earth Sciences Department and was awarded the MBE for her services to education. Joye is a former Mayor of Cambridge and an Honorary Councillor having served 26 years as a Liberal Democrat Council Member for Market Ward in the City of Cambridge.


Sam Hayes

Director of Music

Sam is responsible for a wide range of music at Great St Mary’s, working with around eighty musicians in several choirs each week, singing three choral services most Sundays and a variety of other concerts, tours and events over the course of the church year. Sam read Music at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where he was Organ Scholar and, latterly, Director of Music in Chapel. He also taught music for the University of Cambridge for ten years, and was Musician in Residence at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds between 2010 and 2017, where he also taught A-level Music. In addition to his work at Great St Mary’s, he is the director of the London-based UK Choir of the international bank Societe Generale, and also directs the Godalming Choral Society, in West Surrey. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, holds their Diploma in Choral Direction, and qualifications from masterclasses in choral conducting at the University of Uppsala, and the Conservatoire Camille Saint-Saëns, Paris.


Benedict Todd

Organist and Assistant Director of Music

Benedict holds a PhD in Composition from the University of Bristol, and as a child was an Ely Cathedral Chorister. He plays for services and accompanies the choirs, as well as playing for various other concerts, tours and events. As well as playing for the majority of Sunday services (or occasionally conducting the choir while Sam plays), Benedict also directs a share of the multiple choral rehearsals which take place at GSM every week and helps Sam to keep the Music Department running smoothly.


Edward Cearns

Chaplain to the Marketplace

Edward has lived and worked in Cambridge for over twenty years and the Marketplace has formed an important part of his daily life, as a customer, an artist, and, in the recent past, as a County Councillor for the Market ward.  The Chaplaincy to the Marketplace works alongside the Market community as part of the mission and ministry of Great St Mary’s, demonstrating the love of God to all — to walk alongside, to listen, to chat, to pray and to serve the community in good times and in times of challenge. He begins training for ordination in 2021.


Robert Smyth

Head Verger

Robert knows Great St Mary’s and Cambridge well, and came to us from Gonville and Caius College. Robert deals with all practical aspects of day to day life at Great St Mary’s and Michaelhouse, as well as fulfilling a ceremonial role on major church, civic, and University occasions.

Working with Robert are our Assistant Vergers Callum Britain and Robert Hensman


Becky Auty

Heritage & Education Officer

An experienced teacher with a passion for church history, Becky leads our Heritage and Education programme, organizing school visits, holiday events, and more.


Lorraine Walton

Shop Manager

Lorraine Walton manages our gift shop, as well as group bookings for our world-famous tower, and much more.