Phil and Ceri Keates, FamilyLife Directors
Phil & Ceri live in Newcastle. They met during their student days at Birmingham University in 1999; at first a long-distance relationship while Ceri was on her year abroad in Germany and Phil was writing his PhD in Nuclear Physics. It is very much a story of opposites attract, which remains true today! They were married in 2002. Ceri’s first job was as an events co-ordinator which is what she finds herself doing for FamilyLife! They joined Agapé in 2004 to work with the student ministry and have enjoyed many years connecting with students from across the world in their home over food and long chats about faith, God and the meaning of life! Those conversations are often interrupted by their lovely children Joshua, Micah and Jessica, who keep them busy! Phil took on the role of FamilyLife Director in 2021. He is also a keen cyclist, enjoys being active/outdoors and playing games. Ceri enjoys getting out into the beautiful Northumberland countryside with her camera and loves having a coffee on her own or with a friend. They both enjoy cooking together.
Dave and Charli Mathew
Charli and Dave live in Morpeth, near Newcastle and were married in summer 2015. They met over coffee at the back of Jesmond Parish Church and were friends for years whilst studying Medicine at Newcastle University, before romance blossomed in Uganda – the rest is history! They are training to be GPs in the region and have just been blessed with their first child Freddie, a lockdown baby! In their (small amount of) spare time they love being outside more than anything, swimming in the North Sea, hiking in the Cheviots and whizzing round Northumberland on their bikes. Don’t worry though, they’re not always on the go, they both love sharing life with friends over tea and cake or a pint, and enjoy discovering new places to eat together in Newcastle.
Mark and Christine Daniel
Mark and Christine Daniel live in Northumberland, they have been married for 37 years. They have two grown up daughters, two wonderful son-in-laws and a gorgeous grandson. Mark is the extrovert and loves the outdoors (especially offshore sailing), action and being with people. Christine keeps Mark under control and enjoys creative projects, the outdoors and solitude. Mark and Christine joined Agapé in 2003 and led the FamilyLife Ministry in the UK for 18 years. Mark currently coaches leaders in Agapé across Europe and Christine is developing her abstract art. Prior to joining Agapé Mark was a Sales Director in a number of IT and high tech companies, after having served as an Army Officer at various locations around the world (he used to do bomb disposal!) Christine used to be a Bank Manager, choosing to stay at home for a period after the birth of their first child.
Haggai and Vanessa Mwiko
Haggai and Vanessa live in East Riding of Yorkshire and have been married for 7 years, but friends since they met at the age of 15. They met through mutual friends and their love of dancing. They both went to university and after meeting up randomly on a night out, started dating and the rest is history.
Vanessa is a Law and Criminology Graduate and works as a Civil Servant. Her previous employment working as a Drug and Alcohol Recovery Worker, inspired her to pursue her passion and she is now studying to become a qualified Counsellor, aiming to work as a couple’s therapist. Haggai is Economics Graduate and a self-employed entrepreneur. They run their family business ‘Habby Business’, which allows them to bring out their creative personalities together creating tailor-made clothing.
They love being parents and have found new and exciting challenges on the journey of parenthood.
Vanessa enjoys baking, cooking, gardening, long walks, travelling and is extremely passionate about her voluntary work as board of trustee member for a charity supporting vulnerable communities in Malawi, specifically working with orphan care.
Haggai enjoys dancing, music, whisky and wine, collecting walking canes and pocket watches. In their spare time they love to go on holidays and adventurous day trips as a family as well as date nights as a couple.
They are very passionate about working with marriages as Family Life Facilitators and to work with families as new parents.
Junior and Allison Angel
Junior and Allison live in Manchester. They met on-line and following Junior’s proposal on the second date (yes really!) they married in 2014. They have four young adult/teenage children – two each from their previous marriages. Junior works full time in Finance and enjoys DIY, photography and wearing hats. He has an enviable collection of vinyl and loves to play “old skool” classics on full-blast. Allison is a property entrepreneur and leads a life group for women in business. She promotes personal development wherever she goes and loves all things vintage/antique and Mediterranean holidays. She’s in the process of writing her first book. They are passionate about the pain they experienced in marriage breakdown being used for the greater good.
Mark and Odette Clayton
Mark and Odette Clayton live in ‘Sunny’ Manchester. They met each other in September 1995, whilst away on a Young Adults Retreat and married one year later. They are a blended family with one grown up daughter and two grandchildren. Mark & Odette are Love, Sex & Relationship Coaches and CEO’s of their own Coaching and Mentoring business. Mark is also a Business Coach and a Customer Relationship Manager. In his spare time (when he has some!), he likes exploring anything to do with IT, relaxing and playing a round of golf. Odette is a certified Parenting Practitioner & a Pregnancy Helpline Coordinator. In her spare time, she enjoys being a social butterfly, doing jigsaws and loves playing games (Mark thinks she’s very competitive!). They both enjoy going to the cinema, dancing and spending quality time with family and friends over a good meal. Mark & Odette’s top tip for a love filled marriage is to ‘always remember that you and your partner are on the same side.’
Tim and Jacqui Nelson
Tim & Jacqui Nelson live in Manchester and were married in 1986. They have three adult sons, two of whom are married, and they have two beautiful grandsons. They also share their home with two young adults who have been in the Local Authority care system and they have a cat.
Tim is a bubbly, talkative personality and is generally the life of the party; he is semi-retired and works part time for a charity which supports child asylum seekers. Jacqui is calm and organised; she was a civil servant for 35 years but took early retirement. They are both now living their best life!!!
Tim loves gardening, enjoys watching football and was a steward for Manchester United Football Club for many years. Jacqui loves shopping, having coffee with her girlfriends and she sings on worship team. Tim and Jacqui often go for walks and enjoy spending time with family and friends and taking holidays. Together they lead a Couples community group and lead the Hospitality team at their local church.
Recordo and Charmaine Wellington
Recordo and Charmaine live in Manchester and have been married since 2013. They met at work (different departments) and fast forward to today, are parents to two active children. Recordo is of Jamaican origin and Charmaine is from South Africa. Recordo is a contractor, and entrepreneur. Charmaine is a Change Manager, who is currently completing her Masters in (MIS) Change Development at the University of Manchester. With a busy household, we make it a point to make the most of always being together. As a family, we enjoy being active, travelling, cooking and eating out together. Recordo is an introvert, who is logical in approach and enjoys reading personal development books. He has a passion for action, adventure and the outdoors. Charmaine, when she is not reading textbooks, is a bubbly extrovert who enjoys being mom, entertaining and hosting family and friends. They are both passionate about marriage, family and living a powerful impactful life.
Kia and Negin Hadaeghi, Farsi-Speaking Ministry
Kia and Negin got married in 2010 and since then have served the Farsi speaking community in the UK. They have one son called Ryan. They want to bring transformation into marriages, lives and relationships of couples in the Farsi community and beyond.
Biju and Sissy
Sissy and I live in Liverpool and have been married since 2003. They were born and grew up in India and migrated to the UK in 2008. They have two children, Reuben and Kezia.
Biju worked with Campus Crusade for Christ in India for 15 years, before moving to the UK and joined the Agapé FamilyLife UK staff team in 2018. He enjoys reading, gardening and playing games.
Sissy works as a staff nurse and as a volunteer with the FamilyLife North West Team. She loves music, cooking and spending time with family and friends.
Andy and Tiffany Atkins
Andy & Tiffany live in Cambridge. They met in a muddy field at a music festival back in 1986. They got married four years later and have since produced a large selection of now grown-up children who in turn have produced five grandchildren for them. They have spent most of their married life working with Agapé in the UK and also in Russia. Andy is now a vicar in the Church of England and Tiffany works full-time with FamilyLife. Andy loves adventure and spontaneity, he likes trying new things which is currently beekeeping. Tiffany loves quiet and predictability, if she’d had any talent she’d like to have been an artist. They enjoy an unchallenging cycle ride in the flat fens, exploring new places together and spending time with their family.
Bill and Lynda Edwards
Bill and Lynda have been married for almost 41 years. They live in Cambridge and have two grown up children, Alex and Niamh, and a large crazy rescue dog, all of which make life hectic and very interesting. Lynda has an accounting background and is also a qualified counsellor and family consultant spending her time juggling family, work, and church. Bill is now semi-retired from Facilities Management but seems to be working much harder than he ever did before. Spending his time working for the church and dreaming of completing the renovation of a 1971 yellow Volkswagen Beetle, he started 20 years ago in time for their daughter to start learning to drive, she has now been driving for 8 years.
Muchada and Rumbi Bvunzawabaya
Muchada and Rumbi met at the University of Zimbabwe in 1993. They are both from Zimbabwe but currently live in Warwickshire. They got married in 1998 in Mount Pleasant Harare and soon after migrated to the UK. They have three children.
They work together running two businesses which are a niche Solicitor’s practise and they operate supported living accommodation for care leavers. They also run a non profit organisation called Migrant Family Support . Rumbi is the more outgoing and bubbly one of the two with Muchada complimenting her personality with his calm and stable influence. He reigns her in and reminds her that she cannot save the whole world.
Etienne and Karen Van der Poll
Etienne and Karen Van der Poll met at University in sunny South Africa where they both grew up. Married in 1987 they have so far survived life’s many challenges, some self-inflicted, which included moving to the UK in 2000 to settle for the country life in Warwickshire. Their family consist of two human children, Lise and Xander and two adopted non-humans, Kenco, the crazy flat-coated Retriever and Milo, the talkative Siamese, which keep them on their toes. Karen, a Personal and Professional Development Coach, sees herself as an encourager of people. Etienne, a Business and IT consultant, keeps her grounded and focused with his calm forward thinking “Big Picture” approach.
Ashley and La’Neshia Hinds
Ashley and La’Neshia are a dynamic duo. Ashley grew up in Birmingham and La’Neshia is originally from East London, but came to study Psychology at university, in Birmingham. The pair met at a church event in 2012. No flames were sparked and they went their separate ways. They were reunited in 2013, where they ended up working in the same school. Ashley and La’Neshia are newlyweds and are excited to be celebrating their one year anniversary.
Ashley is a qualified P.E. teacher currently working in a Pupil Referral Unit for young people who have been excluded from school. Ashley enjoys reading books on the beach on holiday, watching movies, spending time with La’Neshia and working on his business. He is in the process of publishing a children’s book.
La’Neshia is a Psychology graduate who has worked with children and young people in the Education sector within schools and community projects. She enjoys writing and reciting poetry, singing, travelling and being adventurous. As a couple, they enjoy spending time with friends and family and date nights. Ashley and La’Neshia have a heart to help families and marriages, which is why they have recently been trained by FamilyLife, to become Couple Facilitators.
Mark and Jan Willows
Mark and Jan met as students and it was love at first sight! After six weeks Mark plucked up courage and asked Jan to marry him. Jan said yes straight away, but wanted to know why he had waited so long! They have now been married for over 35 years and have four children two of whom are married themselves. They first became involved in marriage work in the late 1980’s and have really enjoyed presenting both marriage preparation and marriage enrichment courses. Mark and Jan live in the Staffordshire where Mark runs a small business restoring instruments for classic cars and Jan works for an Adult Education Charity. In their spare time Jan likes to swim and read books and Mark likes to tinker in his garage.
Dave and Jo Arkell
Dave and Jo live in Walthamstow, East London and were married in 2002. Not wanting to hang around they produced four beautiful boys before 2008 was out – pretty good going! Dave is a Software Developer and works full time, Jo works part time for Stewardship (a Christian charity helping share financial resources) and spends the rest of the time running around after the family!! They enjoy being part of their local church and building relationships with people in their community. Dave enjoys playing guitar, lifting weights and fiddling with his computer. Jo enjoys running, cycling, swimming, tap dancing and sitting down. Daniel, Ben, Tom and Reuben are all teenagers and in varying stages of choosing what happens next educationally.
Sean and Miriam Conrad
Sean and Miriam Conrad live in Enfield with their 3 young children, Sophie, Ella and Josh, and their cat Titus. They have been married since 2012 but have known each other all of their lives. They grew up together as neighbours who attended the same church, but weren’t exactly childhood sweethearts all along (long story…)! Sean is a building surveyor who loves cars, skiing and a quiet cup of tea (a rarity in our home!). Miriam is a part-time piano teacher who loves singing in a gospel choir, swimming in the sea and eating chocolate. They love spending family holidays staying in a caravan in Dorset, enjoying walks and swims at Durdle Door, their favourite beach.
Mark and Leonie Lane
Mark and Leonie live in Bournemouth on the south coast, and are fortunate to be in easy reach of beautiful beaches and the New Forest. They have been married for over 30 years and have two adult daughters. Following a major health scare in 2020, Mark took ill-health retirement from Dorset Police where he worked as a Safer Schools and Communities Officer. Thankfully, he has recently been able to go back working part-time for the Police in an admin role. Leonie worked for 19 years as a Learning Support Assistant at the local college; she is currently between jobs and is kept busy by several voluntary admin roles she does for the church they attend. Their favourite day out would be a lovely walk, a coffee stop along the way and a picnic with a view. Following Mark’s illness, they have learnt to appreciate the simple things in life and take each day as it comes.
Chris and Lisa Murfin
Chris and Lisa live in South Bucks with their teenage son Ethan. Chris was born and grew up in the UK; Lisa, grew up in the Midwest United States. Chris emigrated to Germany in 1991, but met Lisa in Brussels, Belgium four years later while working on a business project – they married in the US the following year. After many years working in the financial sector, Chris and Lisa joined Campus Crusade for Christ in 2007 and served for several years at the FamilyLife Ministries headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas until 2012, when they relocated back to England to serve with FamilyLife UK for a period. Both Chris and Lisa speak fluent German (which is useful when the two flavours of English aren’t working). Chris enjoys technology, flying, photography and cooking. Lisa is a hobby nutritionist, loves to speak German, is passionate about helping people know God in truth. A fan of X Factor, she can be caught singing at the top of her lungs if she thinks nobody is listening.
Gary and Jan Palmer
Gary and Jan have been married for over 33 years after getting to know each other in one of those ‘next desks at work’ romances. They live in Buckinghamshire and have three children, Amy and Josh (now married, each with 2 of their own children) and Meg, and 2 loveable black labs. Following a long career in the mobile telecoms industry, and more recently looking after Operations at Stewardship, a Christian charity encouraging generosity, Gary is now continuing to add value in his work with several other charities. Jan was a Computer Consultant until the challenge of juggling 3 children, a job and church responsibilities required something to give – it was the job that went. After a 19-year career break she returned to the IT contract world! In the gap, she qualified as a life coach and spiritual director, work which she continues to carry out today, alongside everything else. They’ve been involved in running youth groups, parenting courses, marriage preparation and marriage enrichment through conferences, seminars and small groups. Gary keeps his rugby boots clean in the hope that one day he will have the opportunity to play again! Jan dabbles in singing, art and all things creative.
David & Cheryl Adair
David is originally from N. Ireland and Cheryl is from California. They met when David was travelling through the United States as a student and Cheryl soon followed him back to Belfast! They were married in 1993 and have lived in the Himalayas in India, the Rocky Mountains of USA and now call N. Ireland home. They have seven children and have the greatly esteemed title of grandparents. In her previous life Cheryl was a teacher but has spent most of her life as a professional plate spinner, keeping the household plates of budgeting, schooling, catering, purchasing and hospitality spinning. She loves to spend time with her kids or creating, using her sewing skills. David has worked in social work, education and construction. If he has any free time rugby and golf are his hobby passions. Since 2010 David and Cheryl have been working with FamilyLife in the USA, mentoring couples, and in 2020 they moved to Belfast to continue supporting couples with FamilyLife UK. Cheryl’s superpower is being able to cook from scratch almost anything she tastes, David has three passports and is an aspiring international man of mystery.