Encounter Church has a very high percentage of members who work in voluntary roles. There are too many to name them all but we are really grateful to each one of them and couldn’t continue to function without them. We’re currently expanding this page to show you more of the Team Leaders and people with key responsibilities.

Fernley Hext

Lead Pastor

Fernley and Sue Hext have three daughters and four grandsons and at long last one granddaughter! They have lived in Winchcombe since 2009.
Fern has been a Christian since teenage years, and has held various service and leadership roles in Baptist, Anglican and Independent churches. Fern is the Lead Pastor of Encounter Church and the Team Leader providing direction and support to the leadership team and creating an environment where the Holy Spirit can work and Christians can grow and find their calling. He has two main passions, teaching biblical truth in ways that are relevant to everyday Christian life and equipping Christians to take the love and wisdom of God into the community. Fern is also Chair of Encounter Trust.
Fern works part time as Lead Pastor of Encounter Church and previously in a management role in the Criminal Justice Sector.

Sue Hext

Assistant Pastor

Sue oversees the Women’s Groups and our community groups.  She has a passion for sharing God and loves connecting with people, inspiring, encouraging and empowering them to become the men and women God created them to be. Sue’s dream is to travel extensively when time permits….. maybe during retirement!

Dave Busby

Leadership Team & Head of Pastoral Care

Dave and Alison Busby are elders of our church. They have a daughter and son in law, a son and one grandson.

Dave oversees pastoral care jointly with his wife Ali. Dave leads men’s ministry, inspiring and encouraging them to explore the gifts God has put within them.   Dave says “I love being the hands and feet of Jesus, carrying the joy of the Lord. Being knitted into the body of Christ is a privilege”. Dave is also a Trustee of Encounter Trust.

Alison Busby

Leadership Team & Head of Pastoral Care

Ali has a heart for the hurting, but recognises no one person can be present for all, know all intimately, pray for all deeply.  Without the caring hearts of our Pastoral Care Team, Ali would not be able to reach all those who need love & support. A team approach allows us to equip & pastor each other and build one another up.  Ali believes this should be the backbone model of pastoral care in church.

Briony Coupe


Briony is one of our Trustees. She also runs our Sparklers Toddler Group each week along with her team of brilliant volunteers. Briony is a real ‘do-er’ and if there’s a need she will try and fill it! She’s been an active member of her local W.I. for many years and has recently set up a monthly craft group at Encounter Church. As a Trustee she has responsibility for Safeguarding at Encounter. She and her husband Geoff also run one of our Life Groups.

Alistair Magee


Alistair has been a member of churches on the current site where Encounter stands for almost 29 years and works in retail in Cheltenham and runs our catering team – Loaves and Fishes. As a Trustee he is responsible for Food Safety at Encounter.

Alistair and his wife Ryssa are very involved in church life and have family in London, Australia, New Zealand and the Phillipines.

Gill Cocks


Gill is our most recent Trustee and she lives in Winchcombe with her husband Cliff. they have two adult children and one grandson. Gill works part time for the Civil Service. Until recently she was Chair of the Winchcombe Patient Group and in her spare time she enjoys helping backstage at Cheltenham Playhouse.  Before joining Encounter, she worshipped at St Peter’s (Anglican) church on Cleeve Hill. Gill has a particular interest in all things ecumenical and in Life Groups (home based groups). Her role as a Trustee involves strategy and forward planning.

Ron Wienand

Church Manager

Ron, our Church Centre Manager looks after all the running aspects of the Church and loves to serve and assist all to fulfill their calling in the Church and in God. Ron works closely with an amazing office team made up of Fiona Leach and Chris Dudey to support the work and passion that God has laid on the hearts of The Leadership Team and the Trustees. Ron has a passion for the ministry of encouragement and loves to see the saints equipping themselves and being a source of light to a world that so desperately needs it.

Geoff Coupe

Head of Building Maintenance & IT

Geoff spends many hours sorting our IT, repairing the building, contacting contractors etc. Old buildings like ours are constantly in need of work and Geoff has been up in the loft or under the floor and can often be found with his toolkit putting something right! We are indebted to Geoff for all his help. Geoff and his wife Briony lead our Beckford Life Group and he has the gift of explaining biblical truths in relevant easy to understand ways.