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Who’s Who

The Team

Beth Powney, EBA Team Leader and Regional Minister

Revd Beth Powney

Regional Minister Team Leader
and Regional Minister for Area 1
T: 01842 754953 M: 07415 478231
Email Beth

Stephen and I married in 1980 and moved to Billericay in Essex, at this time I was working as an Occupation Therapist for the NHS. We soon settled as members of Billericay Baptist Church and there we remained and took on a variety of roles. Our family grew as Emma, our daughter came along and Rich our son, in due course, not forgetting my stepsons, regularly visiting.

I returned to work as an OT when the children were older working in a variety of roles for 11 years, including a spell as a Tutor in Occupational Therapy ending my career as a Head OT for Community Services across the Basildon and Thurrock area.

In 2001 the Lord called me into fulltime Christian ministry, when I accepted the role of Gap Year Co-ordinator with Viz-A-Viz ministries, based in Basildon. I had a delightful and exciting seven years with them as I worked both with the young people on their Gap year and more widely with the leadership of the charity. Then in 2008 God led me into pastoral ministry as I started my training with Spurgeon’s College as an ordained minister. It was at this time that we moved away from Billericay and went to live in Sandy in Bedfordshire. In Sandy I have served the local church for the last 8 years, seeing God restore and renew Sandy Baptist Church. In local church ministry in Sandy I have loved working with our community, including becoming a school Governor, working with the council and with the other churches across this rural area, as well as forming relationships with many people who are seeking to grow in the their knowledge of Jesus.

Stephen has now retired and our family now live in different parts of the country and has grown to include five grandchildren, who we delight to spend time with. Stephen is a keen photographer, I love to sew and we both enjoy swimming and eating out together.

Revd Graeme Ross

Regional Minister for Area 2
M: 07724 763020
Email Graeme

Graeme grew up in Wolverhampton where his father was the Pastor of a thriving multicultural church. After leaving school he spent two years with the Operation Gideon scheme run by Youth For Christ, the first year based in a church in Reading and the second based with Lincoln YFC.

In 1993 he went to London Bible College to study theology and this is where he met his wife to be Tracey. Following his graduation in 1996, Graeme was called by Burnt Oak Christian Fellowship as an assistant Minister with responsibility for youth work and they also released him to pastor Yeading Christian Fellowship (less than 10 members) as their Minister. He has also been the Minister of Grove Free Evangelical Church, Bildeston Baptist Church and Orchard Baptist Church, Colchester. For the past few years Graeme has been a member of Eastern Baptist Association’s Council with responsibility for Mission Strategy.

In 2018 Graeme accepted the call to join the Regional Team in the EBA and he brings a variety of experience of ministry in churches of different sizes and theological backgrounds.

Graeme has always considered himself to be a Minister in the community and not just for the church and he is especially interested in how we can make church accessible to people who have no background understanding of Christianity. One of his priorities is to help churches to become communities that can disciple people in a way that is relevant to them living out their faith in the 21st Century. He is passionate about creativity and good communication and he has written a resource to help churches to think about how we can communicate in a world where people have so many different learning styles. He blogs at

Graeme and Tracey have 4 children, some rabbits, a terrapin and not a lot of peace and quiet. Some of their children are adopted and some have additional needs including being on the autistic spectrum.

Tracey and Graeme enjoy walking together as a way of escaping from the busyness of life. Graeme also enjoys watching films and chatting with people about the big themes of life that films raise.

Regional Minister for Area 3
M:07934 651644
Email Claire

Revd Gale Richards

Regional Minister for Area 4
M: 07496 824462
Email Gale



As a baby in arms I came with  my Mum and Dad from Scotland to Shoeburyness in Essex, and it was there at the age of eleven, largely through Girls’ Brigade, that I came to commit to following Jesus Christ.

I eventually made the transition from GB into church life at Shoeburyness and Thorpe Bay Baptist Church where I was baptised.  It was through the church young adult club that I met and married Jonathan in 1988.  I grew in faith as I served and ministered in a variety of roles. 

Life in the wider world consisted of a variety of roles too.  Firstly designing and making wedding dresses, secondly creating order from chaos working in facilities management for HMRC across all it’s building in the Southend area, and when our two daughters came along, a career change working with pre-school children with special needs.  During those years, I  experienced the Holy Spirit powerfully bringing healing to wounds that were inflicted by prejudice during my childhood and teens.  God is so gracious and ‘repays even the years the locusts have eaten’ (Joel 2:25).

In 2007, I felt a call to full time ministry, and after a long journey, became a minister in training in 2013 at Winter Gardens Baptist Church, Canvey Island whilst studying at Spurgeon’s College.  Winter Gardens BC called me to continue journeying in ministry with them in 2016.  In 2019 I was co-opted onto the EBA Council.

My heart is to see people coming to Christ from all walks of life, but I have a particular desire to see people on the fringes coming to the Lord and being welcomed into community.  I have a passion for discipling new Christians and love to see them growing and enriching and sometimes challenging us in our community life together. 

I enjoy being creative and strategic administration.  A strange combination I’m told!  I’m contemplative by nature and God often chooses to speak to me as I spend time in the natural world.  When I have spare time, I love walking by the seaside or over hills and mountains, spending time with my husband and with my grown-up daughters and son in law, a competitive game of Ligretto or Quirkle, baking cakes and enjoying them, a good book or a comedy or murder mystery film (if it’s not too gruesome)!

Hayley Beckett, EBA Secretary

Hayley Beckett

Association Secretary
Email Hayley

Hayley was born in Fordham, East Cambridgeshire, has lived on the North Norfolk coast and now lives in Godmanchester, West Cambridgeshire.

A true East Anglian girl. She is married to Daniel a Youth Minister and has three children, Mark, James and Sarah and a rabbit called Keith (named by the children).

When not working for the Eastern Baptist Association she enjoys watching period dramas on TV, Disney films, reading, baking, flower arranging and genealogy, and one day would love to take a ride in a hot air balloon.

Diane Forsyth

Association Safeguarding Lead
07735 860804
Email Diane

After completing a BSC in Nursing at the University of Ulster she joined the NHS as staff nurse on a paediatric ward. While on a Christian holiday in Italy she met Ian her husband and moved to Surrey when they married. They have been blessed with three sons and four delightful grandchildren who bring much joy. She is a member of Gunton Baptist Church where her husband is the minister.

Throughout her career in nursing, teaching and educational leadership and management she has gained a wide experience working with safeguarding policies and practice in the day to day work environment, and experienced the importance of ensuring that safeguarding is applied to every situation. While working in a large multicultural College and University Centre she taught safeguarding as a specialist subject across a range of courses including the Early Years and Education Degree courses.

In her spare time, she enjoys visiting her grandchildren to spend time playing with them and seeing them develop their individual personalities. She enjoys walking particularly in the mountains and along rivers and more recently she has appreciated daily walks to her local beach.

Over the last few years she has become more interested in family history and has just started to collate inherited photographs to be able to develop a useful insight in the family history for her children and grandchildren.

Revd Barry Walton

Email Barry

During this time, I was fully involved in the life of Warley Baptist Church, and became Youth Secretary of the West Midlands Baptist Association. Then came the call to ministry.

For nearly three years I studied at Bristol Baptist College, before leaving to commence a ministry at Clarence Road Baptist Church, in Southend-on-Sea. I stayed there for fourteen years, initially being supported by Home Mission, and only felt the call to move on, after serving the Essex Baptist Association
firstly as the Youth Secretary and then as President. That time made me aware that the need was greater outside of Clarence Road, rather than inside.

In 1985 I was asked to become the Home Mission Secretary of the Baptist Union. In year one, I was responsible for just the publicity side of Home Mission but for the next three years the overseeing of the Home Mission Grants also became my responsibility. This aspect of my ministry came to an end quicker
than I had expected when the Baptist Union moved from London to Didcot.

In 1989 I became the minister of Catherine Street Baptist Church in the centre of Plymouth, where I ministered for twelve years before retiring and moving to Okehampton where my wife became Church Secretary and I became Church Treasurer, as well as serving in other ways. After eleven years, I felt that
the Lord was calling me back into full-time ministry and was called to be the pastor of Corfe Castle Congregational Church in Dorset.

This suddenly came to an end when, twelve months ago, my wife had a serious stroke that caused her to spend two months in hospital, followed by her needing the daily care of a Nursing Home. I chose to move from Dorset back to Essex because, at that time, we had three daughters and five granddaughters all living in Essex.

Since returning to Essex I have become a member of Braintree Baptist Church and have recently become a deacon, as well as serving in other ways.