Jesus Christ is Lord and head of the church. We are his hands and feet, seeking to do His work.


Emmanuel Church is led by a team of six elders, with many others leading in areas where God has given them particular gifts.

Alan Bell

Our lead elder is Alan Bell. Alan is married to Sandra. They are both from the North East and were both formerly teachers. They became members of Emmanuel in 1986. After leaving his profession, Alan entered full-time ministry and joined the eldership team in 1990. He has strong links with churches in India. Alan and Sandra have two daughters, Elizabeth and Victoria.


Ian is married to Anne. Both are graduates of Durham University. They have three children and live in The Sands area of Durham. Ian taught science for seven years in South Shields. He enjoys cycling & sailing.

John Parker

John met his future wife Chris Done while they were both postgraduate students in Cambridge. Shortly after they got married, they moved to the United States for two years. Following some time in the Midlands, they moved to Durham in 1994 and have both worked for the university ever since. John joined the eldership team in 2008. Part of his role is to help people develop their God-given spiritual gifts. Chris is involved in evangelism and has run several Alpha courses.

Ali Scott

Ali joined the eldership in 2013. He is from the south but now feels very much an 'adopted' northerner! He studied theology at Durham University, graduating in 2008. Having completed some further studies at Spurgeons Bible College in London, he returned to Durham in 2012. He leads the Chester-le-Street congregation of Emmanuel whilst still continuing his involvement in Durham. Ali is married to Claire and they have a son called Joel and a daughter called Evie, and they live in Chester-le-Street.

Taiwo Adewumi

Taiwo is married to Tayo and they have three children. They came to Durham in 2010 and live in Merryoaks. They both work in the NHS. He is passionate about prayer ministry and student work and became an elder in May 2015.

Keith Mallard

Keith and his wife and Sally initially worked in teaching; Keith in the secondary sector, eventually working as a Deputy Headteacher in Middlesbrough, and Sally in the primary sector. Keith now leads his own leadership training and coaching company and Sally runs a business as an independent trader for Phoenix Trading. They both have a heart for serving within the church. Keith became an elder in January 2017.

Matt Cray

Matt is married to Jenny and they have two daughters: Esther and Hannah. He works as a neonatal nurse in Newcastle, caring for premature babies. He has a pastoral heart, and really loves encouraging, supporting and caring for people. He’s also passionate about prayer and believes that through the power of prayer lives can be transformed.


We have nine deacons. They are responsible for leading service in a particular area of church life.

Ryan Marklew

Ryan has been married to Naomi since 2011 and they live in Durham, where Ryan is a secondary Maths teacher and Naomi works in the English department at Durham University, having completed her PhD there. They took up responsibility for the church music team in 2012, having both played in Emmanuel, and in previous churches, for a number of years.

Jenny Booth 

Jenny oversees church finances. She is a paediatric nurse and is ward sister of the children’s haemodialysis unit in Newcastle. She lives in Belmont and enjoys cycling with the church cycling club.

Pete and Ali Gray

The Grays oversee our children's and youth work, looking after everyone aged 0 to 18 years old. They have a passion to make church a place where young people can 'Believe and Belong', experiencing God's love for them and realising that they are the church of today, not of tomorrow. Pete works full time as Children's and Youth Worker for the church and Ali is a teacher of the deaf working across County Durham. They live in Belmont.

Pam Bulman

Pam is responsible for our stewards and welcome team. Pam is married to Dave. They live in Belmont and have a daughter, Katherine, who is married to Lee.

Mark Tallentire

Mark leads our communications team, responsible for helping the church share the message of Jesus. Mark works for Durham University in communications. He is married to Sarah. They have a daughter, Katie, and a son, Peter, and live in Gilesgate.



John Oliver

John loves Jesus passionately and enjoys seeing people discover the fullness of life that can be found in Him. He oversees the activities we do with our students and 20's community, as well as helping to run the FP-intern year. He's married to Bekah and enjoys anything that feels like an adventure, especially if it's outdoors. Mostly this takes the form of exploring the beautiful countryside in and around Durham.

Bekah Oliver

Bekah is passionate about growing deeper in her love for Jesus and enabling others to do the same. She moved to Durham to study English Literature and, having fallen in love with the city, stayed after having graduated. She helps to oversee our Students and 20s community with John, and is excited to see this group grow in their God-given potential and identity, discovering more of Jesus, and sharing Him with those around them. She's married to John and loves being around people, eating and cooking good food, quizzing, and adventure, in whatever form that may take. 


Stephen Jones

Stephen oversees our pastoral care network. He has a heart for coming alongside others and supporting them, helping them to become free to experience the fullness of life offered to us all by God. Originally from Durham, Stephen previously worked in full-time ministry for the Salvation Army. He is now a Head teacher. He is married to Lorraine and they have three grown-up children, Amy, Richard and Megan.

If you have any concerns over a Safeguarding issue please see Stephen who is our Safeguarding coordinator.

church staff

Naomi Ryan.JPG

Naomi Ryan is our Youth Worker. She has been a member of Emmanuel Church since December 2009 and attends with her husband Paddy and two children, Lizzie and Eva. She has worked with young people and families in a variety of contexts since she was 15 years old. She studied Youth and Community Work Studies with a church-based specialism at Durham University. She is passionate about work with young people and supporting their emotional, social and spiritual journeys from year 7 to year 13 and beyond.