Jo Winn-Smith is an ordinand, tutor on a local ministry programme and a passionate advocate of inclusivity. She grew up in Surrey and realising she couldn’t study history, literature, Ancient Greek and psychology all in one, decided to read theology at Oxford as an undergraduate. There she met her husband, Matthew, and they found a home and welcome in the more liberal tradition, she having had roots in evangelicalism and his experiences being from anglo-catholicism!
After university they moved to London and following a brief flirtation with accountancy and power suits, she ended up working at the Church Commissioners in the Redundant Churches Department. Working in various policy roles for the C of E national church institutions for over 13 years, her final post was as Policy Advisor for Marriage and Family Life, advising bishops in the House of Lords, writing reports for General Synod and responding to government consultations and liaising with other charities and NGOs. Meanwhile, she became a Deanery Lay Chair, trained as a Reader in the Southwark Diocese and had two children.
Jo’s other academic passion is psychotherapy and in 2015 she completed a degree in psychotherapeutic counselling and qualified as a member of BACP. Leaving Church House behind she was all prepared for a new career as a therapist when Guildford Diocese, where she now lived, asked her to do some teaching on ethics on their local ministry course for OLMs and LLMs. God, in her sense of humour, decided this was a much better use of her two degrees and she soon became a permanent member of staff. With all this time spent reflecting with students on their vocations, God gave the final push and Jo found herself selected for ordination. She is currently studying for an MTh in Applied Theology, part-time, at Ripon College Cuddesdon.
In her ‘spare’ time, Jo enjoys keeping fit, gin/wine and cooking, dancing, piano/singing, bringing her children up as inclusive and feminists, and going on holidays, which often tend to involve supporting Matthew do an ironman triathlon first.
Over the last 20 years Jo has found that many dear friends and colleagues, as well as mentors and ministers, have been in the LGBT+ community. She is a passionate advocate for inclusion, using her academic and institutional contexts to reflect on and promote Jesus’ radical inclusive love and welcome to all. She hopes her knowledge and experience will aid her in serving OBOF in their continuing important work.