The team at Keele comprises four Chaplains, as well as a part-time Chaplaincy Administrative Assistant, and a Volunteer Chaplaincy Assistant.
They are all drawn from different Christian churches, but work closely together to serve those of all faiths and of none, and you are always welcome to contact whichever Chaplain you like, irrespective of your own faith background or tradition.
Revd James Pritchard
Co-ordinating and Free Church Chaplain
"Free Church" in this context means that James represents the Methodist, Baptist and United Reformed Churches
Originally from Portsmouth, James came to Keele from Birmingham where he was University chaplain at Aston University and minister in the Birmingham Methodist Circuit of Churches. James is particularly interested in what it means to be a disciple today, exploring how faith and life connect. Concerns for peace, justice and care for the environment come as a natural response to his faith. Having a broad Christian background, James appreciates the rich variety and diversity of the Christian faith especially as it’s manifest in worship. An associate member of the Iona Community and a regular visitor to Greenbelt, the Christian based arts festival, James loves to explore faith and share with others in their journey of exploration. James is married with two children which keeps him busy… however for leisure he enjoys walking, singing, photography, geocaching, real ale, TV, film and playing with his children’s Lego (but not necessarily in that order). As well as keeping in touch with friends James is interested in social media’s ability to connect people across boundaries and as a tool for campaigning and mission.
+44(0)1782 734917 or internal calls 34917
Revd Stephanie Couvela
Anglican (or Church of England) Chaplain
Stephanie joined the team in 2015 and lives in Keele village. She came to Keele from a chaplaincy at Scargill House, a retreat and conference centre in the Yorkshire Dales, and before that parishes in leafy Surrey and a slightly dodgy bit of North London. Although she’s been ordained in the Church of England since the last century she dimly remembers a life before that working in radio and TV.
Stephanie has spent most of her life trying to get her head around the fact that God likes her, and generally prefers questions to answers. She loves Jesus, her dog Patch, and her guitar. Usually in that order.
+44 (0) 1782 734919 or internal calls 34919
Lay Catholic Chaplain
"Lay Catholic" means that Niall is a Catholic but not a priest
Niall joined the chaplaincy team in early 2017 having previously worked as a school chaplain, and before that, a rather unsuccessful secondary school teacher. Originally from Walsall he has spent the last decade or so in Sheffield, Chester and Warrington before migrating back to the Midlands. He lives on campus with his wife Sarah, herself a Keele alumnus, and their two cats (alma mater unknown).
He has a strong interest in Catholic Social Teaching, exploring a variety of spiritualties and trying to understand what means to be part of a church that is truly global and universal.
In his spare time Niall enjoys all things food related (both creating and consuming), the outdoors, music (with playing best described as ‘enthusiastic’) and occasionally donning his skates and a stripy shirt to referee roller derby. He answers to a variety of names but for the benefit of the uninitiated, in his case at least, Niall rhymes with Keele.
+44 (0) 1782 734918 or internal calls 34918
Father John Laybourn
Visiting Catholic Priest Chaplain
Father John has been Visiting Priest Chaplain at Keele since 2011. He is half Scottish and spent his childhood in the Midlands, but he’s a keen Sunderland supporter because his father came from the North East. A former nurse, he was ordained in 1988.
In addition to his role at Keele, Father John is Parish Priest of the St Mary’s parish, Norton-le-Moors, and Chaplain to St Mary’s Primary School. So it goes without saying that he is limited in the amount of time he can spend with us, but he says Mass on Sunday at 12.30pm (and Tuesday at 5.00pm during Term), and is normally around for an hour or so before Mass. He is also available for Confessions before or after Mass (just let him or one of the other chaplains know if you want to go to confession).
Please contact Father John via Niall.
Our wonderful Administrator recently moved on to new opportunities, and we hope to soon be looking for her successor.
Tel: +44(0)1782 733393
Volunteer Chaplaincy Assistant
This role is to provide a welcome to those using the chapel and lend a listening ear and encouragement. The Assistant also supports chapel and student-run activities.
Tel: +44 (0) 1782 733393
Or find him at the Chapel during term-time.