Chris Beales has been the Vicar from September 2008 to Christmas 2016 of St Michael’s Church Woburn Sands, near Milton Keynes, 50 miles north of London, England and recently moved to north east England. He also works in East London with Alpha Building Services Engineering, a construction training company. With Alpha BSE, the University of East London, Thames Water, Costain, Skanska, Fujitsu, Lego and others he is a founder member of the London Design & Engineering University Technical College, which opened in September 2016, providing vocational skills training alongside academic studies for 180 students in the first year, rising to 600 students and 150 apprentices by year 3. Chris represents the Diocese of Chelmsford on the Board.
Ordained in 1976 as a Church of England minister, he worked in West Leeds, Yorkshire from 1976-1979 as priest in charge of a daughter church and as an industrial chaplain.
From 1979-84 he was a full time industrial chaplain with Teesside Industrial Mission, based in Hartlepool in northern England, a coastal town with the country's highest unemployment. There he set up the Hartlepool Co-operative Enterprise Centre, working with the local Churches, the local authority and the Government's Co-operative Development Agency. He was a founder member of the Cleveland Co-operative Agency and also set up Respond!, an adult education programme addressing mass unemployment across Teesside.
From 1985-91 he was Secretary to the Industrial & Economic Affairs Committee of the Church of England and was responsible for briefing and advising Bishops and the General Synod, engaging with Government, business and trade unions and supporting the network of industrial chaplains across the country. He was Secretary to a working party which, over 2 years, examined the work of Industrial Mission and produced the report Industrial Mission - An Appraisal. From 1992-94 he was seconded to the British Government to set up the Inner Cities Religious Council, Government's first structured engagement with faith communities in England.
From 1994-98 he worked in northern England, setting up the Churches' Regional Commission in the North East, addressing economic, social and cultural issues and co-ordinating the various specialist ministries of the Churches. During this time, he was involved with the Churches' national working party looking at unemployment and, in response to its 1997 report Unemployment and the Future of Work, he set up the North East Employment Forum and, in 1998, Employment Forum UK, which worked across the country with faith communities of all faiths on employment, training and enterprise development.
Out of this came work with Alpha Building Services Engineering and in 2003 he met a group of Afghan refugees which led, eventually, to the formation of Afghan Action.
He and his family had moved back to London in 1998 and in 2008 they moved to Woburn Sands, where Chris became the part time parish priest. He is married to Angela and has three children and five grandchildren.