Meet our Staff


Arun Arora

I am a proud Brummie where I was born, raised, studied and worked variously as a market trader (clothes not stocks) warehouse operative, retail assistant, barman, campaigns officer and employment lawyer. After 4 years practising in the law  I served as Diocesan Communications Officer and Bishop’s Press Officer in the Diocese of Birmingham before training for ordination at Cranmer Hall, Durham - during which time I could often be found at the then 8pm service at St Nics, never for once thinking I might end up here as Vicar one day.

I served my curacy at St. Mark’s, Harrogate and was also Director of Communications for the Archbishop of York. I led a Fresh Expression Pioneer Church in Wolverhampton before becoming Director of Communications for the Church of England in 2012. I became Vicar of St Nics in June 2017. I can often be found talking, writing and tweeting about faith both on and offline as well as bemoaning the performances of Aston Villa Football Club. I am married to Jo - who is also a Vicar - and we have been blessed with a daughter who to her father's chargrin supports a different football team. 

I think quite simply that there is nothing better that you can do with your life than become a follower of Jesus Christ.

Prior of the Community of St Cuthbert

Richard Briggs

I am excited to be the Prior of the newly formed Community of St Cuthbert’s, based here at St Nic’s. I love preaching and helping people to understand the Bible. Alongside my work as Prior I am the Lecturer in Old Testament and Director of Biblical Studies at Cranmer Hall here in Durham. I am married to Melody, who teaches at the Lindisfarne College of Theology, and we have three adult children. I enjoy reading, cooking, good coffee, and anything that is bright orange. We live in a house that is a converted church building just outside Durham.

Children & Family's Worker

Kate Swann

I come from Royal Leamington Spa (its proper name!) and I have been the Children and Families worker at St Nics since December 2017. I am married to Richard (we met when we were at playschool!) and we have 2 girls who are at primary school. I am a qualified primary school teacher and have taught for 16 years in the midlands and in various locations in and around county Durham. I am an only child, but I have 14 nieces and nephews! I play the Saxophone and Clarinet, support Leicester Tigers Rugby Team, and in my spare time, I like to bake.

Worship Coordinator

Sam Rankin

I moved to Durham with my wife Jenny, who is training to be a vicar at Cranmer Hall, having met each other at university in York. I am a lover of music, American BBQ, Liverpool FC and CS Lewis.

Administrative Assistant

Janet Dawson

I am lucky to have lived all my life in beautiful Durham. I am married to Eddie and have two grown-up sons who are both married.  I don't have an adventurous bone in my body  so my hobbies are pretty boring but I enjoy reading, going to the theatre and walking.

I love to spend time with my family which mainly involves good food and board games. I enjoying travelling and have visited Kefalonia 18 years running so that tells you how much I love Greek food. I take an active part in my local parish church of St Joseph's where I volunteer as a Eucharistic Minister and visit the elderly housebound at the weekend taking them Holy Communion and keeping them up to date on

what's happening in the parish. Please say hello if you see me around.


David Lucas


Maeve Sherlock

I’ve been the Assistant Curate at St Nic’s since I was ordained in July 2018. Alongside my curacy I have a day job in the House of Lords where I serve as an Opposition whip and the Shadow Minister for Work & Pensions. I look forward to seeing you at St Nic’s soon - come and say hello! 


Claire Elwood

I’ve moved up from the East Midlands where I originally went to train as a nurse. Nursing has led me into supportive roles with people who, for one reason or another need extra help to come through difficulties.

I’m married to Tim, a photographer, and we have three adult children who continue to delight us. I have always known Jesus, sometimes powerfully changing and challenging me, sometimes simply steadying me in the day to day; everyday is worth living when you let Jesus be in the driving seat.

Church Warden

Mary Anne Freer

I was born and brought up in Rugby, where the international game was invented. I am married to Andy and we have two adult daughters. I have been a primary school teacher for over thirty years. I have had the privilege of serving in several lay roles in the churches I have been part of. As well as being a Church Warden at St Nics, I am currently training to be a pastoral minister. I especially enjoy being part of the Alpha team, as it’s a great opportunity to walk alongside people who are exploring what it means to follow Christ. In my free time, I love going to the theatre, swimming, singing in a choir and walking in the local countryside and along the coastline especially if there’s a coffee shop en route!

Student Worker &

International Ministry Coordinator

Zoe Mathias

I came up to Durham 3 years ago to do an MA in theology.   I had an amazing welcome to St Nics as a student  and it has been great fun and an enormous privilege to serve on the staff team here.  In my spare time you can either find me reading a book, playing a game of chess, or losing at a game of tennis. 

Operations Manager

Kate Dawson

Born way down South, I moved to Durham at the age of 6 and spent my childhood here. Having lived in various other cities and countries I had the privilege of being able to settle back in Durham as an adult with my husband Phil and our two children. I started working at St Nics four years ago and have loved being part of an ever-growing and diverse staff team and congregation. I love reading and walking, but I do not like sweets!

Media & Communications Officer

Brandon Hurlbert

I was born and raised in southern California, where I got my BA and MA in Biblical and Theological Studies. After getting married in 2017, Brittany and I put most of our things in storage and moved to Durham so I could pursue my doctorate in Theology and Religion (with a focus in Old Testament). We have been worshipping at St Nics for over two years now and have fallen in love with Durham. I am a huge fan of Mexican food, speciality coffee, great film, and exploring the world with Brittany.