Carolyn Kinsman, 11/10/2017
Research Unit > Who we are and what we do

WHO WE ARE and what we do 

Our vision is for the Church in the British Isles and Ireland to more fully realise how God is active in mission and to grow in understanding as to why churches' participation may falter or flourish

We work towards this vision, enacting Church Army’s values, through the provision of excellent and innovative research and consultancy that seeks to address these questions for both our colleagues within Church Army, our funding partners and the wider Church.

Our research and consultancy services include:

  • Customised survey design and analysis, including surveys and audits of fresh expressions of Church 
  • Project and programme evaluation 
  • Qualitative research methods including the use of interviews, focus groups and creative research methods 
  • Designing and supporting Participatory Action Research 
  • Bespoke dashboards to support and inform mission planning  
  • Conducting research with children and young people 
  • Strategic missional reviews of dioceses or other organisations
  • Training, facilitation and project accompaniment
Each of our projects is bespoke – we welcome projects commissioned to explore topics connected to our vision. 

Find out more about our current and recently completed projects. 

If you would like to explore how you could partner with us, please contact Andy Wier.


Meet the team



Andy oversees the day-to-day work of the Research Unit and is leading our work on leadership on urban estates. His recent projects include pioneer project evaluations, studies of fresh expressions of Church sustainability, and research on mission with young adults. Andy is also a Lay Reader in his local church and has been a consultant to many churches, charities and social enterprises. Andy’s publications include: Creative Tension in Urban Mission (a practitioners' summary of his doctoral thesis), Sustaining Young Churches and Faith-based social action below the radar.

Direct line: 0114 252 1667


Claire Dalpra - small


Claire has worked in the Research Unit for over 20 years – bringing a wealth of expertise to multiple projects. Claire leads our internal review process. Alongside this, she takes on external work – her most recent project involved facilitating the Deepening Discipleship in Messy Church action research. Her completed projects include Pioneering Pieces - an evaluation of the Church of Scotland’s Pioneer Pilot Project, and  Playfully Serious - investigating the effectiveness of Messy Church. The publications Claire has written or contributed to include: Who’s There? The church backgrounds of attenders in Anglican fresh expressions of Church, Small Beginnings: Church for Under 5s  and Desert Spirituality.
Direct line: 0114 252 1643



John is involved in various research projects, including those exploring mission leadership in outer estates, youth and children’s work and evaluations of Strategic Development Funding (SDF) projects. The focus of his doctorate was the historical development of parish ministry. He has published work on the role of clergy in law enforcement, innovations in theological education, the social backgrounds of bishops and religious literacy among young people. In 2020 John undertook a survey of growth in churches of the Anglican catholic tradition, published as Time to Sow in the North. For over twenty years John has worked as a parish priest in urban and rural contexts, as a lecturer in further and higher education, and most recently as Director of Studies at St John’s College, Nottingham.
Direct line: 0114 252 1664


Naomi Maynard - small

Dr Naomi Maynard – senior researcher (Qualitative)

Naomi supports and advises on qualitative and mixed-method work across multiple projects. Previously, Naomi worked as a research and evaluation consultant, specialising in questions of faith, social action and poverty alleviation. Naomi’s doctorate examined youth participation in the UK. Naomi’s publications include: A Bigger Difference: Church Growth and Social Action, Activism across the lifecourse and A Christian Presence in our Schools. Naomi is also Food Insecurity Lead Executive for Together Liverpool.

Direct line: 0114 252 7272


Elspeth McGann - small

Elspeth McGann – Researcher

Elspeth provides statistical support on our external and internal projects. She is currently working on Recording the Journey and Portsmouth Pioneering. She has recently completed evaluating the Grow course in London. Elspeth has a MMath in Maths and Statistics. Prior to joining the Research Unit Elspeth spent a year as a ministry apprentice at her church. Elspeth’s publications include: What happens after research? Elspeth also made a substantial contribution to: The Day of Small Things and "Not as difficult as you think": Mission with young adults.

Direct line: 0114 252 7276


Dave Lovell - small

DAVE LOVELL – researchER

Dave works on qualitative and quantitative research projects and divides his time between analysing data, producing visualisations, conducting interviews and writing up reports. He's interested in church polity and lay ecclesiology, and enjoys finding out about what church means to real people 'on the ground'. He has an MEng in Automatic Control and Systems Engineering.

Direct line: 0114 252 7287


Lu Skerratt - small

Lu Skerratt-LOVE - Researcher (Qualitative)

Lu supports the qualitative strand of the Research Unit in both internal and external projects. Lu has a background in academia and is currently completing a Doctorate in Theology and Ministry at the University of Durham. Lu is also a trustee of One Body One Faith and is a lay leader at her local church in Sheffield. 

Direct line: 0114 252 7272

Andrew Wooding - smallAndrew Wooding – research adminIstrator

Andrew provides administrative support for all the work of the Research Unit. He is also a commissioned Church Army Evangelist. Previously, Andrew has been a Bible school student, a missionary with Youth With A Mission, and has a lengthy background in writing, editing and publishing. Andrew’s publications include: I Wonder if Chocolate Kills Brain Cells and The Big Wow. He is currently a children's and youth leader at his church in Sheffield.

Direct line: 0114 252 1645


Tim Ling - small


Tim is the Director of the Learning and Development Team. He provides strategic oversight for the work of the Research Unit.  Previously, Tim led the Church of England’s ministry research, including longitudinal studies on sustaining an effective ministerial presence. Tim’s doctorate was on the social background of the New Testament, with a particular focus on the poor.  The publications Tim has written or contributed to include: Developing Faithful Ministers, Moving on in Ministry and The Judaean Poor and the Fourth Gospel.  Tim is an Honorary Senior Research Associate of UCL’s Institute of Education and a council member of the Archbishop’s Examination in Theology (Lambeth degree). 
Direct line: 0114 252 1641

Contact us

Telephone: +44 (0)300 123 2113

Email: Our general email account is:

Postal address: Church Army's Research Unit, Wilson Carlile Centre, 50 Cavendish Street, Sheffield S3 7RZ

Directions: For directions to the Wilson Carlile Centre, click here