District Officers

The principal District Officers work together as a leadership team, co-ordinating opportunities and offering resources of finance, personnel and specialised expertise to enable the mission of the Methodist Church to be advanced within the South East.

David Hinchliffe - District Chair 

It is a delight and a privilege to be returning to the South East District to serve as District Chair!

I am about to enter my twenty-third year in ministry (hard to believe!), having served first in the Petersfield, Liphook and Haslemere Circuit in the Southampton District, and then as Superintendent Minister of the Woking and Walton-on-Thames Circuit in the South East District (which included 2 years as Assistant Chair for Kent). Since 2010 I have served as Chair of the Channel Islands District and Superintendent Minister of the Bailiwick of Guernsey Circuit (in an attempt to win the prize for the longest circuit names around!). For the next year I will be serving as Chair of both Districts and am glad that the District manse is a stone’s throw from Gatwick Airport!

I am married to Kathryn, and we have two children: Rachel who has just completed her second of four years at the University of York; and Jonathan, who will complete his A-levels in the forthcoming year. Consequently, Kathryn and Jonathan will be living in Guernsey for the next year – another great reason to be thankful for being near Gatwick!

I look forward to this new adventure as together we seek to serve God and our neighbours with love and dedication!


Helen Hollands - Assistant Chair (Eastern) 

Update coming soon







Daniel Balsdon - Assistant Chair (Southern) 

Sam Funnell July 2020

Hi, I'm, Dan Balsdon, and after the 9th house move of my life I find myself living in Leatherhead where I serve the South East District as an Assistant Chair and in the Dorking and Horsham as presbyter for Leatherhead and Effingham Methodist and Cobham United Church (United Reformed and Methodist Ecumencial Partnership).

I have a passion for enabling Christian communities to nurture relationships with one another, their communities, their ecumenical siblings, and with the God we worship and partner with in mission and ministry.

After sensing a call to ordained ministry in 2015, I candidated and subsequently undertook 2 years formational training at Queens Foundation, Birmingham, before beginning ministry in 2018 in the West Sussex (Coast and Downs) Circuit.

Before candidating for ministry I spent 6 years running a Christian Bookshop and resource centre, as well as serving in a wide variety of roles in local methodist churches and cirucits in Cornwall.

I live with my wife and 2 children, with whom I share a love for lego and family games. I also enjoy gardening, walking, and a good coffee – all of which Surrey offers aplenty!



Sam Funnell - Assistant Chair (Western) 

Sam Funnell July 2020Hello, my name is Sam Funnell. I grew up in Hastings with my parents and younger brother. After my A levels I started work with Lloyds Bank. After almost 12 years in the bank I left to work in a new Credit Union being set up in the town.

I grew up in my local Methodist Church — St Helen's in Ore village. Through my work there in Sunday School and both the Girls' and Boys' Brigade I eventually felt a call to the ordained presbyteral ministry. I trained on an ecumenical part-time course with SEITE (South East Institute for Theological Education). It was a great experience to train with friends from the Anglican and United Reformed Churches.

I began my public ministry as a probationer presbyter in 2001 in the Purley Circuit (now in the London District) with the care of two Methodist churches and one Methodist/URC. In 2006 I moved to the Medway Circuit in North Kent, caring for three Methodist churches that met on four different worship sites. In 2011 I moved to serve as the Superintendent Minister of the newly formed South Kent Circuit where I have spent the last nine years enjoying the great privilege of working with a great team of people, churches and colleagues.

In my 'down time' I like to walk with my dog Daisy, read, catch up on my sleep, visit friends and family and eat food other people have cooked as my own cooking leaves a lot to be desired!

And now God calls me to a new chapter in my life and ministry in the Wey Valley Circuit and as an Assistant Chair across the Western section of our District. I look forward to all that we will share together and ask you to pray for me, as I will pray for you.


Pauline Newton - District Treasurer 

Happily I am old enough to have retired at age 60 so have been able to volunteer from 2010 to 2015 as Trustee Treasurer of a Charitable Company employing ex-offenders, from 2011 to 2016 as a Circuit Treasurer and now from 2016 as District Treasurer. I am not an Accountant (but usefully have a son who is one!) but love working with numbers, finding out how to do things and implementing procedures to meet financial requirements.

I worked for Lloyds Bank for 9 years from 1964 and lived in Cote D'Ivoire at Dabou Hospital for 6 years from 1974 with husband & 2 sons. Since 1980 I have worked with children and young people, mainly as a volunteer but also in paid roles connected with this field of work. I'm currently Street Pastor, Church Council Secretary and also a grandparent, so there's never a dull moment!