Meet our Board

Fresh Expressions has a brilliant and hard working Board at the centre of the work we do.

Our model is to enable leaders and networks across the country and to empower grassroots practitioners in all they do.

To do that, our Board doesn’t seek to be central leaders in the movement but instead to provide stability and accountability for all that we’re doing together as a movement and to support the aims of Fresh Expressions into the future.

Our Board includes:

Rt Revd Ric Thorpe 

As Bishop of Islington, Ric is responsible for the London Diocese’s goal of creating 100 New Worshipping Communities by 2020 and is also working nationally to support other dioceses to plant new churches. Before being appointed to Islington, Bishop Ric was the Bishop of London’s Adviser for Church Planting and the Rector of St Paul’s Shadwell. Ric is also the Bishops’ Advocate for Fresh Expressions and Chair of the Fresh Expressions Board. He is married to Louie and they have three children.

Karen Openshaw 

Karen joined the board in October 2017.  She currently runs her own consultancy coaching leaders, delivering mindfulness workshops (for both Christian and Non-Christian organisations) and offering a listening service for the staff of a local social housing provider –  Her background is in counselling, coaching, mentoring and chaplaincy. She has a passion for pioneering and has developed many projects including a groundbreaking Interfaith Chaplaincy course and a chaplaincy and church at Oasis Academy at Media city UK.

Mark Sheard

Mark Sheard joined the board in 2018.  He has enjoyed a successful career in advertising and marketing, creating one of the UK’s most successful marketing communications businesses before merging it into a multinational group in 2000. In 2001, Mark founded the Whatnext? Consultancy to provide marketing and corporate development advice to commercial and ethical organisations.
Mark was appointed to the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England in 2017 and serves as Chair of the Mission and Public Affairs Council and Co-Chair of the Evangelism and Discipleship Steering Group. In this role he also is a member of General Synod. Mark joined the Fresh Expressions board in 2018.
Raised in rural Essex, he graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in History, and has lived in Ealing, West London for over 30 years with his wife, Lois, 4 children and 2 dogs. He is a member of St John’s Church, Ealing, where he has served in the role of Outreach Co-ordinator, Churchwarden, Lay Chair of PCC, and in various other ministries, managing interregna and as part of a leadership team of a large morning congregation, and two different Fresh Expressions (Café Church and Messy Church).

Drew McCombe 

Drew is the Assistant Secretary for Mission in U.K with the Salvation Army.  He lives in Bromley, Kent.

Tim Lea and Simon Goddard will attend board meetings to report back on their work supporting the movement.