Ministry team and Elders

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Ministry team

Our ministry team has the following members:

  • Alan Meyer (Senior Minister)
  • Peter Wright (Associate Minister)
  • John & Rachel McDonough (Ministers in Training currently serving in Paraguay)
  • Christine O'Brien (Church Worker)
  • Jean Ranson (Children's Minister)
  • Jill Wheatley (CAP Debt Centre Manager)
  • Ruth Whiffen (PA to Senior Minister & Administrator)


The Elders are responsible for the oversight and development of the Church, and it's staff, and consists of the 2 Pastors, our 2 Ministers in Training and the following Elders:

  • John Ranson
  • Chris Vernon
  • Lewis Powell
  • Claire Wamsley

In addition, Helena Cowling and Christine Orr are currently attending Elders' meetings as observers.  Observers are invited into Elders' meetings as a means of training and preparing them for a possible future leadership role.

Meet the team

Alan Meyer, Senior Minister

Alan moved to Carlisle in 1994, having previously led Churches at Cannock, in Staffordshire, and Southport, Lancashire. He is married to Gail. Having been in the area for a number of years now, their children have grown up here and also live locally. Fiona, their eldest daughter is married to Adam and together with their sons, Thomas and Nathaniel, are fully involved in the Cell Group ministry in the Church.

Alan is responsible for leading the team, and is passionate about seeing the Church in the City make an impact upon the community, and in particular, communicating the love of Christ to people who are presently untouched by any effective Church ministry. When he is not working he enjoys reading and fly fishing, although rumour has it that the trout are in no great danger when he is around!

Peter Wright - Associate Minister

Peter was born in Zimbabwe and moved to England in July 1988, where he met his wife, Julie.  They have been married for 18 years and have 2 boys, Benn & Timothy. Peter was ordained at Conference in 2009 and served as Assistant Minister at Sunderland for 7 years, prior to moving to Carlisle in September 2009.

As well as ministering alongside Alan, Peter is responsible for overseeing our work among students and overseeing our cell groups. He is passionate about worship and wants to see our young people on fire for God. In his spare time he enjoys playing football on Wednesday evenings, walking, playing cricket and generally keeping fit!



Christine O'Brien, Pastoral Visitor

Christine has been married to Patrick for 44 years and they have 2 sons, Norman and David. She has been a part of the Church for longer than most people, having grown up in the Carlisle Elim Church. Her parents both became Christians and were baptised under the ministry of George Jeffries in the formative years of the Church, and she gave her heart to the Lord when she was 12 years old.

She has served the Lord in various ways over the years, including as a Sunday School Teacher and working with the Youth. Later she became involved in teaching and preaching and then was particularly involved in working with women. She has led the Oasis Fellowship (previously the Ladies meeting) for approximately 20 years. She is also on staff as a Pastoral Visitor, working mainly with the elderly and shut-ins.

Jean Ranson, Children's Minister

The Children's Ministry is supervised and led by Jean Ranson. Jean is a trained teacher and has been a Christian for 28 years (since her College days!), and has worshipped at Elim Community Church for the past 20 years. She is married to John and they have two university-age children. 

Jean is responsible for around 20 volunteer staff and leaders as well as the children involved in her department, and manages to oversee this developing work in a part-time staff capacity, while at the same time being a Mum, wife and all-round superstar!!


Jill Wheatley (Christians Against Poverty Debt Centre Manager)  

Jill has lived in Carlisle for all but 6 years of her life.  She was brought up in the Salvation Army, where she met her husband John, and they joined Elim Carlisle in 1986. 

She joined the staff team in October 2009 as Centre Manager for our CAP Debt Counselling Centre and has a real heart for the poor and marginalised in the City.  She is also involved in the worship band and leads one of our Connect Groups.  She loves walking and cycling and her two cats Bobcat and Sooty!

Ruth Whiffen – PA to the Senior Minister

Originally from Northampton, Ruth and her husband, David, moved to Carlisle in August 2003, after living in Cheshire for 4 years. They have 3 daughters, who enjoy music and dance.  Ruth was brought up in a Christian home and became a Christian when she was seven.

She joined the team as Alan’s PA in August 2007, and as well as providing administrative support she does her best to get Alan organized – quite a task!  She also leads a connect group with David and  is involved in the worship band.  In addition to spending time with her family, she enjoys walking, playing the piano and reading in her spare time. 

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Telephone: 01228 523991



Offices: 14 Spencer Street, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA1 1BG

Church: St Paul's Church, St Paul's Square, Carlisle, CA1 1AE