Who we are


The Rev’d Nigel Uden


Nigel Uder

Nigel Uden, born 1957, became minister of St Columba’s, now Downing Place, at the end of 2010, inducted to serve it and Fulbourn United Reformed Church in a village some five miles east of Cambridge. Since the end of 2018 he has also served, alongside John Bradbury, as
minister of Stechworth & Cheveley, near Newmarket.

Born in Dorking, Surrey, he was educated locally and then at the University and Northern College in Manchester. He was ordained as a minister of the United Reformed Church in 1984 and has served local churches in Cheshire, Lancashire and, with the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa in Johannesburg.  From 2001-2010 he was Moderator of the URC’s Southern Synod. The 2016 General Assembly of the United Reformed Church elected him to serve from 2018-2020 as its ministerial Moderator, alongside Mr Derek Estill, an elder from Blackburn. Nigel is married to Bethan, and they have an adult daughter, Jess; his principal pastime is music appreciation.

He  believes that worship and pastoral care undergird the life of a church as it serves God’s mission to the community by ‘participating in the movement of God’s love toward people, since God is a fountain of sending love’ (David Bosch).

The Rev’d Dr John Bradbury


John hails originally from Cumbria. After studying in Edinburgh, John did his graduate work in Cambridge whilst training for ministry at Westminster College. He was ordained to Liverpool in 2004, to work as part of an ecumenical team in the city centre, and to minister with Earle Road United Reformed Church in Picton, an inner-city area. As part of his work in the city centre he worked closely with the Methodist ‘Bread Church’ – ‘Somewhere Else’, a ‘Fresh Expression’ before they’d quite been invented. In 2007 John was appointed to teach Systematic Theology and Church History at Westminster College, where he also ultimately served as vice-Principal. In 2017 John was inducted to serve Emmanuel, Whittlesford and Duxford URCs, and from the end of 2018 he has also served as minister of Stechworth & Cheveley with Nigel Uden.

John has been very involved in ecumenism, and served on various study groups and dialogues for the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe, and as a member of the CPCE Council. He is also co-chair of the URC-Roman Catholic dialogue. He convenes the URC’s Law and Polity Advisory Group. John is the author of Perpetually Reforming: a theology of church reform and renewal (T&T Clark, Bloomsbury, 2013) and co-editor of Thinking again about Marriage (SCM, 2016).

John loves music, and when he gets time is something of a pianist. He also enjoys real ale and is a member of CAMRA.

Rosemary Johnston

Children’s Ministry Team Co-ordinator

Rosemary, an elder of the United Reformed Church since 1980, leads a multi-talented team of adult leaders and helpers involved in Children’s Ministry. She has taught in Primary Schools in Belfast, Coventry, Croydon and Bromley and served for eleven years as the United Reformed Church Children’s Advocate. Her MA in Pastoral Theology dissertation was ‘The pastoral contribution that children make to the well-being of any congregation’. With her scientist husband Mike, in their retirement, they enjoy grandchildren, gardening, reading, offering hospitality and sitting still.

  • email: children@downingplaceurc.org

Mark Dawes

Director of Music

Mark Dawes teaches mathematics at Comberton Village College. As a teenager he was organ scholar at Great St Mary’s Church (where he was taught by Christopher Moore) and then read mathematics at Oxford while the organ scholar at Balliol College. After a stint as organist at Trumpington Church Mark became the organist at Emmanuel URC on Easter Sunday 2004. He now shares the position of Director of Music at Downing Place URC with Ian de Massini.

Ian de Massini

Director of Music

Ian de Massini

Ian de Massini grew up in Sussex, where he was a chorister and keen campanologist at the village church of Cuckfield. He read music at Cambridge, where he was a choral scholar at King’s College. He has held a number of different organist positions in local churches, including Ely Cathedral, and has founded his own choir, Cambridge Voices. Formerly Director of Music at St Columba’s, Ian now shares the position at Downing Place URC with Mark Dawes.

Elaine Barker

Church Administrator

Elaine undertakes various administrative functions to ensure the smooth running of Church matters.

Elaine also looks after the fabric of the church and halls, and is responsible for managing the daily business of halls rentals. For more information on hiring one of our halls, please see the Facilities section of the site.

The Church office is open from 10 am to 12 noon on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  Wednesday is Elaine’s day off.

Ann Auger

Church Centre Manager at Emmanuel
Ann Auger

Ann Auger is the Church Centre Manager at Emmanuel.  She oversees all the weekly activities taking place in the building, including the Fair Shares Café, the Lunchtime Concert Series and the lettings, and looks after the buildings, finance and the church’s properties.  Ann is the first point of contact for people visiting, telephoning or emailing Emmanuel, and can be contacted on: