The Engaging Issues team

Engaging Issues is organised and published by a non-profit-making, small and informal group of local friends.

Current committee members are:

Lesley Richards

Lesley is our convener and chair and tries to keep us all on task. She has been involved in sixth form education all her career, teaching A Level maths, introducing GNVQs to her college when they were the ‘latest thing’ and running a maths department. Her PhD thesis on “Sixth form students’ paid work and their academic achievement” demonstrated that, contrary to the view of many teachers, paid work does not necessarily have a negative impact on student learning. Lesley still teaches A level maths part time, and hopes that her style as chair is not too obviously teacherly. She is an active Quaker who has worked behind the scenes on a number of their recent national decisions.

Mike Bourke

Mike Bourke has been a supporter of Engaging Issues since he retired in 2006. He took a degree in Modern Languages and was then ordained in the Church of England. He served in the Dioceses of Lincoln, St Albans and then Lichfield where he was Bishop of Wolverhampton for 13 happy years. He and Liz greatly enjoyed the multi-ethnic and multi-faith environment of the Black Country, and Mike was able to use his German language experience to chair the Meissen Commission, which oversees the relationship between the Church of England and the German Protestant Church. His faith in the Incarnation leads him to look for God’s hidden presence in every situation, and not just in the Church. He thinks it is especially important to learn from others, and experience and understand the world through other people’s eyes. In retirement he is continuing his German links through the Diocese of Hereford, learning Welsh and supporting the environmental work of Stretton Climate Care.

David Edwards

David Edwards trained in electrical and electronic engineering at Manchester, before moving to work in London for BBC engineering. He then moved out of the Big Smoke to the clean air of the Shropshire hills where he ran a business selling magnetised tape — if you've ever held a fridge magnet to a fridge or a toy soldier to the bottom of a biscuit tin, you may well have David to thank. David is now retired and lives in a house where parts of it were built well before Captain Cook first set eyes on Australia, as he loves telling those of his relatives who now live in the antipodes. David serves as treasurer for Engaging Issues.

Dave Griffin

Dave is now retired from Facilities Management having started his working career as a BBC maintenance engineer in 1968 with BBC World Service in Bush House Studio Centre. He has also been involved with music in worship in Baptist, Anglican, and Methodist churches, and Big Band Swing music with Craven Arms Big Band. He has enjoyed involvement with South Shropshire Inter Faith and is married with adult daughters and a whole bunch of grandchildren. Dave lists his major influences as Mike Yaconelli, John Bell, Tony Campolo, Richard Rohr, and the Greenbelt arts, faith and justice festival.

David Howard

David is the committee’s resident humanist. A former headteacher, he spends his retirement years in community activities, tending his garden and allotment, cycling, walking, and reading voraciously. He and his wife have three children and seven grandchildren. David worries for their future, and wants to see radical change in the world.

Janet Longstaff

Janet describes herself as the committee’s technophobe, having an aversion to pretty much anything digitised. When not writing to her MP using a quill, Janet is involved in various good works in the Stretton area, including Stretton’s Amnesty International group. Janet’s connection with the Long Mynd area goes back to her days as a glider pilot flying from the Midland Gliding Club. Janet is also a qualified offshore yacht master, having covered more than 40,000 miles at sea. Janet allows herself to be called ‘a person of faith’ but resists anything more specific than that. “If you allow yourself to be given a label,” she says, “people pre-judge you.”

Steve Aze

Steve is an Engaging Issues noob. Steve’s chequered past includes: eight years in technical operations (mainly sound) for BBC TV and Radio; a couple of years as a full-time student of Biblical Studies and Cross-Cultural Communications; a brief and undistinguished period as a missionary; media relations and training for the national Methodist Church; FE lecturer in computer programming; Microsoft-certified and IBM-certified software application developer and solution architect. Currently Steve runs a small software company making careers education resources for schools and colleges. Steve is Eastern Orthodox. He is married with three grown-up kids, and loves walking in the Shropshire hills.