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The Rev’d Lesley Bilinda is Vicar of St Andrew’s

Originally from Montrose in Scotland, Lesley studied French at Aberdeen University. Life in small town Scotland in the 60s and 70s was relatively sheltered and almost exclusively mono-cultural (‘the only non-white children in town were from the family that ran the Chinese restaurant!’) so university was an eye-opener. Mixing with students from many different cultures and countries and challenged by global issues of injustice and inequality, Lesley vowed to put her faith into practice. This led her to London where she trained as a nurse then a midwife, and then to Rwanda with Tearfund, where she ran a rural community health programme.

During her years in Rwanda she met and married Revd Charles Bilinda, a priest in the Episcopal Church of Rwanda. However, only fifteen months after their marriage Charles was tragically killed in the genocide, as were some of his family as well as several of Lesley’s friends and colleagues. Lesley moved back to Scotland where she set up the Charles Bilinda Memorial Trust – a charity that supported Rwandans through further education (one of the beneficiaries is now the Bishop of Kigali).

After completing a BA in Biblical and Cross-Cultural Studies at All Nations Christian College in Hertfordshire, Lesley joined the staff team, later becoming Director of Pastoral Studies. In 2006 she worked with Archbishop Desmond Tutu as part of a small facilitation team for the BBC2 series ‘Facing the Truth’, bringing together victims and perpetrators of the troubles in Northern Ireland. She then went on to work with the Tutu Foundation, before embarking on theological training at Ripon College in Cuddesdon. She served her title as curate here at St Andrew’s, before becoming vicar in 2016.

For many years dogs have been a significant part of Lesley’s life – especially rescue greyhounds – though sadly not at the moment. She loves long walks over the hills (though not so many of those in Fulham), pottering in the garden and has recently rediscovered her violin!

The Rev’d Anne Cowley is Associate Priest at St Andrew’s

Anne grew up in Hull, Yorkshire before moving to London in 1981. She worked in admin for many years and brings to her ministry a vast experience of life, having lived abroad in Hong Kong and Singapore, much to her surprise! She is mother to two grown up children – Tom, who currently lives with her, and Lauren who is in Bristol. She lives outside the parish in North Kensington.

Anne was ordained twelve years ago and was previously based in Shepherd’s Bush before coming to St Andrew's in September 2018. She loves walking by the sea – particularly in Scotland, spending time with family and friends and good drama.