The Revd Canon Dr Peter Groves


Fr Peter Groves has been parish priest of St Mary Magdalen’s since 2005. A Londoner by birth and upbringing, he came to Oxford as an undergraduate student, where he completed a BA and then a DPhil in Theology at New College. After training for the ministry at Westcott House in Cambridge, he served his curacy in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, before returning to Oxford in 1999. Before being appointed to the parish as Priest-in-charge, he was Chaplain and Fellow of Brasenose College, and he continues to be a member of the Faculty of Theology in the University of Oxford. He is married to Beatrice, who teaches English Literature at Trinity College, and they have two sons, Michael and Edward. Peter remains a passionate advocate for the study of Theology, especially in relation to the arts, and has particular interests in Shakespeare, Wagner and Gerard Manley Hopkins. He indulges a vice called quizzing from time to time, but his greatest obsession remains Queens Park Rangers FC, where he is a season ticket holder.

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Associate Priest

The Revd Stephen Hearn


Stephen is the chaplain of Mansfield College as well as Associate Priest at Mary Mags. He has worked in the University for the past decade – first as chaplain of Exeter college and then in the University administration, where he was until recently a senior manager in the Proctors’ Office.

Stephen read English at Lincoln College and Theology whilst a seminarian at St Stephen’s House, combining the two in graduate work on Ralph Waldo Emerson. More recently, he has been studying psychoanalysis with the British Psychotherapy Foundation with a view to further clinical training.

Stephen was a pastoral worker for two years in an inner-city parish in Lincoln before entering the seminary, and – after St Stephen’s House and a year at the English College in Rome – served his curacy in rural Lincolnshire. He was then assistant priest in the Witney Team alongside his ministry at Exeter college. He has been a member of Mary Mags for several years but has recently taken on more responsibility in assisting Father Peter. He shares with the boss a love of test cricket and Wagner – and a passion for the engagement of theology with the arts.


Associate Priest

The Revd Professor Judith M. Brown


Judith is an Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College (and helps in the college chapel). She was from 1990 to 2011 Beit Professor of Commonwealth History at Oxford, having taught previously in Manchester University and Cambridge. She did her own undergraduate and post-graduate work in Cambridge and became a Fellow of Girton, her own college. Her academic speciality is modern India. She was born in India and has spent considerable time there for research. She has travelled widely for leisure and also for academic work, including giving summer courses in the University of Natal, South Africa, and serving on the Scholars' Council for the Library of Congress, Washington DC. She knew she was called to the priesthood as a young woman, well before the Anglican church ordained women. Eventually she was able to respond to that calling and after training at Cuddesdon was ordained in 2009. Before coming to Mary Mags in 2014 she ministered in the Botley benefice, with a particular care for St. Frideswide's church. She acted as interim chaplain at Brasenose college in 2017, and is a spiritual director. She was married to her late husband, Peter, for 31 years: their son, James, works in political consultancy in London and is married to Julia Sitkovetsky, an opera singer. Judith is a passionate gardener, and also enjoys walking and classical music.


Assistant Curate

The Revd Esther Brazil


Mthr Esther was brought up in Beijing, Singapore, and Sydney, though she will claim to be from southern Illinois if pressed. She read Philosophy and Theology at The Queen’s College, Oxford before training as a classical singer at the Royal Academy of Music. After a ten-year career as a concert soloist specialising in baroque repertoire, she worked for two years as Ministerial Assistant at the University Church in Oxford, and then trained for ministry at Ripon College Cuddesdon. She is the first female curate of St Mary Magdalen’s, though only the second to speak Mandarin. She has two small children, Beatrice and Theodore, who go by Bea and Teddy. She can be found reading and writing poetry in any available spare time.


Churchwarden and Safeguarding Officer

Nigel Timms


Nigel Timms was born in Rugby, UK in 1953, and grew up on the Wirral. He read music at Durham University, and after a two-year work experience as a bus driver in the North East bowed to the inevitable and became a teacher. Moving to Oxfordshire, he worked first at Gosford Hill School in Kidlington, teaching Music and Drama, and then at Beachborough Preparatory School near Brackley, adding English, Latin, and Religious Studies to his repertoire. During this time he wrote and produced fifteen plays for schoolchildren, many of them based on classic stories such as Treasure Island. He also made cut-down versions of eight Shakespeare plays for school performance. Nigel has (almost!) retired from teaching, and is concentrating on writing. He is married to the composer Helen Roe: they have three grown up sons, and a black cat who is called Rug because he looks like a rug and is always under your feet.



Dr Helen Todd


Helen Todd has worshipped at St Mary Magdalen’s since arriving in Oxford as an undergraduate, dropping in on a tip-off from a friend and staying for the preaching, the music, and the community. She has worked for Oxford University Press since finishing her DPhil in Classics. Helen is married to Barnaby Taylor; their young son Edmund enjoys being part of both Children’s Church and ‘big church’.


Safeguarding Officer

Susan Weavers


Susan was born in Oxford and trained to be a librarian at Loughborough University, then worked in in south London in public libraries for a few years. On her return to Oxford, Susan worked for Blackwells as a Customer Services Manager and was fortunate to travel to America, Asia and Europe in this role. Susan then chose to transfer to working in mental health and trained to be an Independent Mental Health Advocate; she now has extensive experience of working in statutory and voluntary mental health services.
Susan is married to Ken; they were married at St Mary Magdalen in Father Hugh’s time, and have an affectionate cat called Phoebe!


Director of Music

Will Dawes


Will Dawes is Director of Music at the church of St Mary Magdalen's; Director of Chapel Music of Somerville College, Oxford; and Director of Frideswide Voices (Oxford’s first liturgical choir for 7-14 year-old girls). He is studied Choral Conducting and Singing at RAM, and has since directed numerous excellent choral societies and chamber choirs across the UK. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2018.

Will is active as a consort singer and is a member of the internationally acclaimed vocal ensemble Stile Antico. The group performs all over the globe, including concerts in the Wigmore Hall, at the BBC Proms, and in 2018 performed at the Grammy's in Madison Square Garden. He is a former Lay Clerk of Christ Church, Oxford, and has sung with Collegium Vocale Gent, The Cardinall's Musick, Magnificat, and Polyphony.

As a soloist, Will has sung works such as Carmina Burana (Orff), Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Mahler), and The Wound Dresser (Adams) as well as more canonic works by Bach and Handel. His one and only operatic role to date is that of Mr Gedge in Albert Herring.

For further information, including forthcoming performances, please visit http://www.willdawes.co.uk



Daniel Mathieson


Daniel Mathieson is an Oxford-based organist, currently holding the positions of Organist at St. Mary Magdalen and Assisting Organist at Keble College. He recently attained a master’s degree in music performance at the University of Oxford with distinction. He also currently teaches for the University of Oxford and at Downe House School, and has previously worked at Salisbury Cathedral and Radley College.

As a recitalist, he has performed for the Three Choirs Festival, the Buxton Festival and at Westminster Cathedral. He has also worked with the internationally-renowned Trinity Boys Choir in concert and on tour. Recent work as a continuo player has included Bach’s St. John Passion, Handel’s Coronation Anthems and Messiah.

He has studied the organ with William Whitehead and Dame Gillian Weir, and conducting with Jeremy Summerly. He is a prizewinning Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and has co-authored a forthcoming article on contemporary organ music for the RCO journal.