What is the CNSC?

The CHARIS National Service of Communion(CNSC) England is the principal co-ordinating organisation of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) in England.

We seek to be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in both our discussion and activities, and keep in close contact with the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, primarily through our Episcopal Advisors, Archbishop Kevin McDonald and Bishop David Oakley.

Members of the CNSC work to maintain close relationships with the various expressions of CCR in England. We have a special concern for retaining faithfulness to the Catholic Church amongst these various expressions, but we also maintain links and connections with other Christian denominations and networks.

The CNSC is formed of around fifteen members, and meets four times per year, with regular working group meetings. The current Coordinator of the CNSC is Dr. Maria Heath and the current Assistant Coordinator is Fr. Simon Penhalagan.

Current CNSC Members

Dr. Maria Heath (Coordinator) has been actively involved in the Church and Catholic Charismatic Renewal for 25 years. Maria is passionate about evangelisation and holds a Doctorate, exploring how parishes can become more missionary. A gifted speaker, she communicates the gospel in inspiring and practical ways, seeking to encourage others in their call to evangelise. Maria works part time as a Pastoral Parish Worker. In her free time, she enjoys all things Italian with friends and family. Maria lives in Northampton with her husband Alex and their five children, aged 2-17.

 Fr. Simon Penhalagan (Assistant Coordinator) is a parish priest in the Diocese of Northampton. After becoming friends with Sion Community founders Michelle and Peter Moran, he stayed at Sion's centre in Brentwood, near where he worked as a Careers’ Adviser. "The Community invited me to prayer," he says."Whilst I found the worship and use of the gifts of the Spirit a bit over the top, they spoke of Jesus as a friend and radiated joy. I aspired to the same and asked to be prayed with. In a very quiet, low-key way, I was baptised in the Holy Spirit. With a new sense of purpose, I joined the Sion Community and spent ten years with the youth ministry." Fr. Simon then felt a call to priesthood. He was ordained in 2008, and ministered with Sion Community for ten years. He now serves as a full-time parish priest at St Martin de Porres parish in Luton.

Jones Bediako, from Ghana, moved to The Gambia in 1996 and became a member of a new charismatic prayer group. After joining and leading a praise and worship ministry, Jones joined the National Core Group-the Gambian equivalent to the CNSC- and was heavily involved in evangelisation and parish CCR prayer groups. In 2007, Jones moved to Leeds and was sad to find there was no CCR prayer group. After consulting with the DST and parish priest, he started one in 2011, serving as coordinator and joining the DST in the Diocese of Leeds. After serving his term as coordinator, he has moved on but is still a member of the DST and core group.

Vicky Bunting is Spanish and has been involved in CCR since she was 14, when she was invited to a prayer group. Since then she has been involved in various evangelisation activities. As a member of Spanish covenant community 'Bethany', she helped bring parishioners into a personal relationship with Jesus. She also sang and played guitar in her local region. Married to Andy since 1998, she and Andy then ministered together in a regional youth ministry in Spain. In 2003, Vicky and Andy joined Sion Community in England, where she worked in school and parish missions and served as Community Leader for 8 years. She is now an Associate Member of Sion, working in youth ministry, and earns her living as an interpreter. She has been a member of the CNSC since 2020.

Eddie Drozdziak, from Dundee, moved to England in 1971 and was baptised in the Holy Spirit in 1985 at a Life in the Spirit Seminar. He has attended Living Waters prayer group, Timperley, ever since. A CNSC member and CREW Trustee since 2012, Eddie and his wife, Ann, have attended the New Dawn Conference since 1988. Eddie is on the organising committee for events such as Moment of Opportunity and Shrewsbury Diocesan conference. He is a gifted worship leader and occasional speaker at days of renewal and Life in the Spirit Seminars. Married for 49 years, he and Ann have three children and five grandchildren.

Russ Fairman has been involved with CCR for several decades. He is passionate about leading people to a personal relationship with Jesus through Baptism in the Holy Spirit and street outreach missions. In 2019, Russ organised an unforgettable intercessory sailing prayer mission for Celebrate around Britain, which was extensively covered by the BBC and the national Christian press. Russ loves helping people step into their God-given purpose. He serves as chair and MC for Celebrate Southampton and is a founding member of the ecumenical Healing on the Streets (HOTS) Southampton. He is also part of Harvesters Men's Network core team. 

Jose Kuriakose has been a full time lay evangelist since 2010. He is a member of Sehion Ministries UK, where he is currently serving as UK Coordinator. Jose is involved in youth ministry, as well as preaching and healing ministries. He is married to Rino and has three children, Grace, Rachel and Emmanuel.



Archbishop Kevin McDonald, from Stoke-on-Trent, was ordained priest in 1974. Starting as parish priest in Sparkhill, he then spent eight years at the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity in Rome and taught at Oscott College, Birmingham. He was appointed Bishop of Northampton in 2001 and Archbishop of Southwark in 2003, a post from which he resigned for health reasons in 2009. With responsibility for Catholic-Jewish relations and interreligious relations in the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, Archbishop Mcdonald is the liaison Bishop for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in England and Wales and lives in London.

Duncan Mitchell is not originally from an active faith background and was received into the Catholic Church in 1991 whilst a student at university. He has been involved in CCR since the late 1990’s. Duncan graduated in Law before qualifying as a social worker, specialising in the field of drug and alcohol use. He has an MA in Biblical Studies from Heythrop College and runs regular Bible Conferences. Duncan is a member of the Cor et Lumen Christi Community, based in Surrey. He is a gifted teacher and speaks regularly at Cor et Lumen Christi events. He is married to Joanna and has six children.

   Bishop David Oakley Information to follow





Frank O'Neill was baptised in the Holy Spirit aged 17 at St Mungo's prayer group, Glasgow. Studying Theology and Religious Studies in London with a passion to teach Religious Education, he taught mainly in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, where he became a headteacher. Married to Christine for 33 years, they have four grown up children. Ordained a permanent deacon in 2005, Frank ministers in Catholic education and parishes in Washington, Tyne and Wear. Now retired, he serves as Operations Director in the Youth Service for the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

Abhy Thomas, from India, moved to the UK in 2007. He  has been involved with Catholic Charismatic Renewal for 20 years through international Catholic movement Jesus Youth, and was the first UK Jesus Youth(JYUK)  youth coordinator. He also served as National coordinator of JYUK and a member of the Jesus Youth International Council. He joined the CNSC in 2020 and currently serves as formation coordinator and mentor of the youth ministry for JYUK. He has led and spoken at various evangelisation events for children, youth, and families both in the UK and across Europe. He has a great passion for creative and new ways of evangelisation in a digital world and a heart for forming young missionary disciples. Abhy is married to Saumya, and has three young children, Nathan, Isabelle and Jake.

Sonia Tissera grew up in Sri Lanka in a Buddhist environment. Her life changed when she was 17 through a Life in the Spirit seminar programme at school. "Jesus became real to me," she said. She came to the UK in 1985 and married Marlon in 1988. They have two sons.  Sonia works as a cake artist and freelance florist. She points to her eldest son’s miraculous healing as a turning point in helping her realise the power of prayer, and was influenced by the preaching of Lalith Perera, the founder of the Risen Lord Community. From his visit to England, a prayer community grew, with Sonia serving as its coordinator. They have met regularly since 2008 for praise, worship and teachings.

Helen Wells, from Hertfordshire, was baptised in the Spirit in the Summer of 1979 without really knowing what it was about! Helen moved to Brighton in 1980 to study and has lived there ever since with her husband Nick. She has been a member of the CNSC since 2014, part of the Brighton Celebrate weekend team since 2008 and a regular Celebrate attendee since 1997.  Helen has also helped lead the Catholic Charismatic Leaders Formation Course and assisted in setting up a Parish Mission Council at St.Joseph’s in Brighton, where she leads the Alpha Team. She and Nick have been married for 32 years and they have three children.


Our Three Themes

Three themes are especially reflected in our prayer, discussions and activity:

- Firestarters: how do we encourage and equip more people to experience Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

- Fanning the Flame: how do we help those who have experienced CCR to live out the fulness of their charismatic identity in a mature and holistic way?

- Spreading the Fire: how do we serve the Church and engage with wider society more effectively to help transform our world?

The CNSC is supported and enabled by a charitable trust for Charismatic Renewal in England and Wales (CREW Trust), registered charity number 277425.

If you would like to make a donation to support our work, please click here.

Areas for which the CNSC are particularly responsible include:

  • Provision of a local and national directory of CCR activity.
  • Organisation of occasional national / regional meetings and conferences.
  • A series of leadership training events within CCR.
  • Linking with the international expression of CCR on a UK/Ireland, European and Global basis.
  • The support of Network, the youth expression of the CNSC.
  • The promotion of CaFE and the wider work of Catholic Evangelisation Services.
  • Contacts with the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
  • Publication of this website.