What is the NSC?

The English National Service Committee (NSC) 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 Advisor, Archbishop Kevin McDonald.

Members of the NSC 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 NSC is formed of around twelve members, and meets three times per year, with regular working group meetings. The current Chair of the NSC is Maria Heath and the current Vice-Chair is Jenny Baker.

Current NSC Members

Maria Heath (Chair) 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 four children, aged 3-14.

Jenny Baker (Vice-Chair) was baptised in the Holy Spirit in 1995 through the Alpha course. As regional  coordinator of the thirteen Celebrate weekends, Jenny spends much of her time travelling in England, Wales and Scotland, supporting regional teams. She also organises Celebrate’s young leaders' programme, Release. She previously worked for Catholic Faith Exploration (CaFE), presenting and producing their popular DVD resources. She speaks at CCR events throughout the UK and beyond at conferences and in parishes. Married to Paul for over 30 years, Jenny has twin daughters, who also serve CCR.

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. An NSC member and CREW Trustee since 2012, Eddie is the NSC contact for Diocesan Service Teams. He 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 46 years, he and Ann have three children and five grandchildren.

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.

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 and is currently preparing a conference for educators involved in CCR in March 2019. 

Father Soji Olikkal was ordained a priest in India in 2001. Initially serving at Sehion retreat centre, Kerala, he arrived in the UK in 2009 to look after the Syro-Malabar Catholic UK residents. He served as parish priest of St. Robert Grissold, Balsall Common, until 2015, when he was transferred to St. Gerard's, Castlevale.  Fr Soji is director and spiritual director of Anointing Fire, a Catholic Charismatic ministry from the Archdiocese of Birmingham, leading a team of lay people and priests and conducting retreats and conferences for all ages. Fr Soji serves as chairman for the new evangelisation in the UK Syro-Malabar eparchy.

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 NSC 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.

Charles Whitehead and his wife Sue began the Celebrate Catholic Charismatic Family Conference. Charles wears a number of hats in the many areas for which he has responsibility: Chairman of the International Charismatic Consultation(ICC); Past President of International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS)  Life Member of the English National Service Committee for Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR); Co-chairman of the Charismatic and Pentecostal Leaders Conference. He has also been made a Papal Knight of St. Gregory the Great.

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 NSC 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 NSC 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 NSC.
  • 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 the GoodNews Magazine.
  • Publication of this website.