GtRC Team

Sarah Cracknell, Project Manager

Sarah has lived in Devon for over 20 years and lives on the South coast with her two dogs. She has been part of the Growing the Rural church project since joining as a Project Officer in January 2018. She became the Project Manager in July 2019. Sarah has previously worked in the community development field, often with marginalised groups in society.

Outside of work she loves to be involved in creative activities, usually with her local church. These range from enthusiastic participation in The Surprise Singers, a church based community choir, to installing and running a sand labyrinth prayer installation which ran during Lent. She’s also rarely seen without some wool and a crochet hook in her hand! During lockdown she has trained as a Taketime Meditation Practitioner and is about to start leading a mediation group in her local town.

Sarah’s passion is to see rural churches become confident in taking risks and trying out creative ideas, so that they become the flourishing, beating heart of their community, connecting with the people that live and work around them in ways that are relevant to them.

Sam Upham, Project Officer

Sam is originally from the North West but, after 9 years in Somerset, moved to Devon in 2018 to join the Mission Community Development Team.  She took on some part-time, temporary project work with the Growing the Rural Church Project and somehow ended up with a full- time role as Project Officer.

Sam is passionate about rural ministry and the special part it plays in the life of this Diocese. She loves to see congregations engaging with their communities in new and innovative ways.

Outside of work, Sam is a Reader and Churchwarden in Torquay. Her house is always busy with a husband and 2 dogs at home, and 2 adult children and 2 grandchildren living nearby (no, she doesn’t think she’s old enough either!).  In her spare time, she can usually be found with a sci-fi boxset, or reading a crime thriller.

Jonathan Yandall, Project Support Officer

Originally from Torquay, Jonathan moved to the big smoke of London in 2012 to study at theological college, followed by over 4 years of working for a large city church.

Jonathan returned to Torquay at the start of lockdown 1.0, rediscovered a love for his home county, and is now getting stuck into his brand-new role as Project Support Officer for Growing the Rural Church. Outside of work, Jonathan loves to travel to cold and remote places. Closer to home, he loves to write music, play (very) amateur tennis with his brother, and entertain his 6-year-old ‘little cousin’ whose interests are Minecraft, Star Wars and generally exhausting everyone around him.

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