Poplars is led by a team of four leaders, who serve the church and local community in a variety of roles, helping others to grow and develop in their lives and journeys with God. Over the last few years the emphasis of the leadership team has shifted, as some of the founders of Poplars have stepped aside to encourage a new leadership team to build for the future.
The leadership team is supported by a team of dedicated trustees who work together to ensure our part of the church continues to meet its mission.
Our leadership team includes Pete Hardy, Matt Bellingham, Sarah Hemsall and Stephen Archer. You can find out more about them by reading their biographies below.
Pete has been part of Poplars and its story since 1970. For ten years he was part of the Faith Group and the fellowship that grew up around Faith’s musical ministry. He has been involved in the leadership of the church since 1977. Trained as a primary school teacher, he taught for more than 25 years in secondary schools, including holding the role of Head of Special Needs Education and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) at both Portland School and the Portland Family of Schools.
Pete still works in schools, mentoring children, delivering assemblies and supporting staff. He currently works in almost 20 schools in and around the Worksop area.
Currently, he is building a leadership team “for now and for the future” and is driven by the knowledge that “there has to be more to it than this” – the Kingdom of God being without walls, and God consistently refusing to be put in a box! He is not looking for, nor waiting for revival, but believes that we are in revival as the Holy Spirit is allowed to run free in the church and people respond to the song He sings over them.
The prophesy that Jesus fulfilled in the synagogue at Nazareth has not changed today “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
Pete is married to Ruth (the famous ‘lovely Mrs Hardy’). They have two grown up children, Mark and Laura, and four wonderful grand-children, Addie, Edward, Scarlett and Seb.
Matt grew up in the Worksop area before moving north of the border to study Management at the University of St. Andrews. In 2008 he married Debbie and the couple lived in Dunfermline for a year while they finished their studies.
After graduating the pair moved back to their hometown and Matt has been actively involved in Poplars ever since, first as a worship leader before joining the leadership team in 2013. He is a keen songwriter and plays both the guitar and cajon.
Matt also works as a part-time primary school teacher at Norbridge Academy, in Worksop. For two days a week he teaches music to classes and groups of children and is also the co-ordinator for Music in the school. He and Debbie have a son, Joseph, who was born in July 2014.
Throughout his journey, Matt has experienced the faithfulness of God time and time again, and that “nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God revealed to us through Jesus.” He is excited about the future of Worksop and longs to see the town transformed by God’s abounding and unfailing love, grace and freedom.
Among her many talents, Sarah is a Teaching Assistant at Norbridge Academy. She likes to keep (very) busy and fills up her free time with a variety of other activities, including singing, drama and dancing.
She is a keen amateur dramatist and has produced or appeared in a number of productions with Lindrick Players and the Worksop Light Operatic Society. She also dances at the Donna Pressley Dance Academy, in Worksop.
Sarah grew up locally with parents Steve and Ann, and has two younger brothers, Matt and Tom.
Stephen is Worksop born and bred and loves the town that he grew up in. He joined Poplars at the age of 16 and even when he moved away to University it was still his home. Stephen and his family moved back to Worksop in April 2014.
Stephen married Selina in 2006 and are now the proud parents to three wonderful children, Milly, Henry and Edie. Also in 2006 he graduated from University with a degree in Music and Music Technology. Since then has worked in many different roles within thriving local music communities from teaching at colleges and schools to owning his own recording studio. When not working, family time is the first thing on the agenda and he also loves a round of golf or a good evening in with a board game.
Stephen and Selina have been involved with youth work together since they met, which has taken them to many areas of the UK. They’ve a passion to see young people fully realise their potential in life and especially in God. Worship also plays a key part of their life together and they’ve led people in worship for over 12 years.
Together they’ve known a Father full of grace who has always provided their needs. Their move to Worksop was a huge step for them and they know they will continue to see a town and district being transformed and restored.