The Chaplaincy

Contact us

Hello from the chaplaincy team at Keele!

We have chaplains from three Christian churches, and a part-time Muslim chaplain - they work closely together to serve those of all faiths and none. You are welcome to contact whichever chaplain you like, irrespective of your own faith background or tradition.

To keep up with what goes on across our faith spaces, join the Keele Chapel Facebook Page, Twitter or Instagram or the Keele Islamic Centre Facebook page!

Want to be kept up to date about all the wider support services available at Keele as well? Join the Life at Keele Facebook page too!

Faith Chaplaincy team 2018 800x533  

Revd. James Pritchard

Co-ordinating and Free Church Chaplain
The Chapel
+44 (0) 1782 734917


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 being 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 teenagers 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.

"Free Church" in this context means that James represents the Methodist, Baptist and United Reformed Churches

 Revd. James Pritchard

Revd. Stephanie Couvela

Anglican Chaplain
The Chapel
+44 (0) 1782 734919


Stephanie joined the team in 2015 and lives in Keele village with her husband and their dog, Patch.  Prior to coming to Keele she worked in 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.  She’s been ordained since the last century and has spent a lot of that time trying to change the Church of England from the inside, specifically to make it more inclusive, and 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. 


Niall Hammond

Lay Catholic Chaplain
The Chapel
+44 (0) 1782 734918


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 he would like to explain that, in his case at least, Niall rhymes with Keele.

Niall Chaplain 150x150

Rukia Bi

Muslim Chaplain
+44 (0) 1782 734913


Rukia Bi joined Keele as the University’s first Muslim Chaplain in January 2018.   Rukia is an educator, tutor and religious thinker. She has studied the Islamic Sciences over a number of years - and re-distributed this knowledge through one-to-ones, courses and lectures to varied audiences. Her vision to develop a dynamic and forward-thinking Muslim community at Keele has been deeply rooted by her belief in promoting shared values of love, mercy and compassion. Rukia’s exceptional dedication to equality and justice has seen national campaigns against Forced Marriage, Honor Killing and FGM, all underlined by promoting the true and loving message of Islam. Her ability to cross faith and cultural boundaries ensures she is able to help students regardless of faith, gender, sexual orientation or ethnic background. Rukia is a highly sought-after speaker, offering to diverse audiences her unique blend of motivational speaking, leadership insights, spiritual development and religious awareness. Rukia is also a key spokesperson and advocate for co-existence, mutual understanding and productive relationships between cultures, communities and religions. Rukia is always available to lend an ear.

 Chaplain Rukia Bi

Jem Parker

Volunteer Chaplaincy Assistant
The Chapel
+44 (0) 1782 733393


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.

Jem Parker

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 6.00pm 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:

Father John