Our Provost is the Very Rev Nicki McNelly who was born in Wales, joined the Army at 18 and travelled for many years after marriage supporting her husband in the Royal Signals. She studied at Cranmer Hall, Durham before serving her curacy at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh and then moving to Oban.
David Pollard came onto the Vestry at St John’s in 1995 as Alternate Lay Rep and subsequently served briefly as the Lay Representative before his appointment as Vestry Secretary in 1999. Provost Nicki appointed David as her Warden in June 2013 and his tenure as Vestry Secretary ended at the 2013 AGM. David was reappointed Alternate Lay Rep at the AGM in 2015.
Broadly speaking, David feels that there are two parts to his role as the Provost’s Warden. Firstly, helping (with others) to ensure that visitors and regulars are made to feel welcome as well as ensuring that all runs smoothly before, during and after services. Secondly, to support the Provost in a personal as well as public capacity. Mainly this consists of listening and trying to offer reliable, objective and independent advice as well as making suggestions, discussing future plans and helping whenever required.
Having moved to Argyll in 1981 to pursue a career in salmon farming, David and his wife Sue became regular worshippers at St John’s from the mid 1980’s. His other roles at St John’s include serving, singing with the choir and, more recently, acting as Sacristan. Past times include, fly fishing, walking and the Wednesday duplicate at the Oban Bridge club.
Donald Shell was elected People’s Warden in November 2013, and as such is a member of the Cathedral Vestry. He welcomes opportunities to talk with members of the congregation, helps with practical details around the organisation of services and generally assists the Provost. In September 2013 Donald was licensed as a Lay Reader by the Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, and in this capacity he also assists the Provost by preaching and other pastoral tasks such as visiting.
Donald moved from Bristol to Oban in May 2011. He lived previously in Bristol for 40 years, working in the University Politics Department as a senior lecturer, and also for 11 years as Warden of Wills Hall where some 350 undergraduates lived. His research and writing was mainly on the British Constitution and Parliamentary System. He also developed an interest in political theology. He was a licensed Reader in the Bristol diocese for many years.
Donald greatly enjoys the beautiful scenery of Argyll, and especially walking and freshwater angling. He contributes to the work of the local University of the Third Age, has joined the local committee of the Scottish National Trust, and enjoys membership of the Local History Society and the Oban Music Society.
Margaret Sime, Vestry Secretary
I started attending St John’s Cathedral sometime in the few years following my move from Glasgow to Connel in 2003. My paternal grandmother and parents were members, and I was brought up in the Scottish Episcopal Church in Glasgow (St Peter’s at St George’s Cross – Diocesan Cathedral St Mary’s Cathedral). I have many wonderful memories of family life and community as a child sharing life at St Peter’s (marred slightly by the closure of this church when I was quite young.)
My grandmother’s family was originally from this area and although I am not presently in contact with relatives, I know there are extended family members in Argyll.
Anyone who knows me knows that one of my greatest loves is singing and I feel my spiritual life is most often experienced through contributing to the music performed in St John’s. In turn, music at St John’s and attendance has enriched my sense of community in this area and gives me much fun and enjoyment. The importance of friendship is highlighted by the fact that I have no close family in this area, and the people of St John’s play a big part in my circle of friends.
Becoming Secretary to the Vestry has increased my knowledge of the workings of the Cathedral and Diocese. The task is mainly an administrative one, but taking part in discussion about the ongoing mission of the church and the Cathedral’s contribution to the community of Oban and surroundings is both informative and a good way to take an active part in the life of the church.
Apart from music my main interests are in travel, reading and enjoying time with friends. I count myself lucky to have been able to stop working for a living at a younger age than many others. There are plenty of activities available in and around Oban, and we are indeed blessed with some of the most beautiful countryside in the world to enjoy.
When Peter Kemp moved to Oban in 2008, he had been Treasurer at All Saints’ Bearsden for a number of years and was looking for a break! He got one for five years, but gave in and became Treasurer of the Cathedral in 2013. His role is to ensure that the Cathedral finances are kept on an even keel, keeping income and expenditure in balance.
He was brought up in Kent, where he was a choirboy in the local parish church and his father was Churchwarden for many years. He studied mathematics at Cambridge, gaining a PhD and embarked on a career in higher education, mostly in IT but finishing as University Librarian at Stirling University. Along the way, he formed a software company with colleagues and served on its Board for 15 years, so has worked in all of commerce, teaching and administration.
In retirement, he keeps busy as Diocesan Secretary, as Company Secretary of North Argyll Carer’s Centre and as a member of the local University of the Third Age, as well as a number of other local societies. He and Joan enjoy travel and sailing, and they have three children, plus six grandchildren.
Colum Scott, Lay Representative
Jenny Moody, Vestry Member
Susannah Hughes, Vestry Member
Susannah Hughes moved to Oban full time in 2002 with her other half, Adam, after several years working together overseas on marine conservation projects. Having visited Oban annually since the 1980’s it felt like coming home and we have been glad to be able to stay ever since.
Whilst growing up in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, Susannah very much enjoyed singing in her local church choir (All Saints) for almost ten years with her younger brother, before leaving to study
geology in Edinburgh.
The final winter in a cold student flat led to a sudden enrolment on a conservation project in Fiji (where she met her future husband) and subsequently the Bahamas before gaining a Master’s degree in hydrogeology. However, as the north-west of the UK is almost the only place with no groundwater, Susannah and Adam’s arrival in Argyll meant a diversification into Forestry and she has been working with the Commission for the last ten years. Adam is now a lecturer at SAMS.
Their travel bug was satiated by a couple of years in the United States for Adam’s postdoc. after getting married in Glen Creran in 2006. But life changed again on their return to Oban with the arrival of two small boys, Rufus and Felix, a few years later. Having started coming to St John’s in 2002, Susannah is now involved with the Mission and Outreach group as well as enjoying being on the Vestry and the Flower Rota. She also sits on the Parent Council at Rockfield School and helps with Stramash outdoor nursery. She is attempting to learn Gaelic to try and keep up with her 6 year old who swiftly overtook her after one term at school!
Fiona Kincaid, Vestry Member
Fiona and her husband have lived in Oban for 25 years. During this time she has been involved in the cathedral community in a variety of ways; as a vestry member 20 years ago, a member of the provincial mission board, as a Sunday School teacher and a pastoral visitor. She was elected onto the present vestry in 2013. Having been brought up in the Scottish Episcopal Church, she has experienced the many changes and developments which have taken place in the Province over the years.
Fiona is an outdoor instructor at a local outdoor residential centre. She also volunteers as coordinator of the local Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Group, a position which is hugely rewarding. Unsurprisingly, her hobbies include most outdoor activities, especially hillwalking, cycling, skiing and sailing. She also enjoys reading and gardening.
Mr Mark Evett – Vestry Member
A ‘Mystery Worshipper’ from ‘Ship of Fools’ enjoyed sharing our worship on Christmas morning – we were glad that he or she felt welcomed