Dr Rachel Holdforth
Tel: 01223 272967
Rachel is Chaplain, looking after the spiritual and pastoral care and accompaniment of staff, students, spouses/partners and children at Westcott House. She supports and facilitates worship in Chapel and growth in spirituality.
Prior to joining Westcott, Rachel worked as a Workplace and Further Education Chaplain for the Churches Industry Group in Birmingham (CIGB) and as a Chaplain in a Methodist Home for the Aged (MHA) in Buckinghamshire. While in Birmingham, she completed her postgraduate certificate in Chaplaincy at Newman University with distinction.
Rachel is a Professed member of the Third Order of the Society of St Francis, since 2011. As a Franciscan, Rachel is interested in looking for and fostering the gifts of God in all, particularly those who are marginalised and in situations of injustice, peace and the care of God’s creation. She also has particular interests in disability theology (as a disabled person), spirituality and creativity and faith. After completing a PhD in Materials Science from the University of Cambridge, Rachel worked in disability support at the University of Cambridge and Brunel University, providing Specialist Mentoring support to students and carrying out needs and assessments for Disabled Students Allowance. In 2013, she trained as a Spiritual Director which led to a year’s internship with the Simeon Centre for Prayer and the Spiritual Life based at Ridley Hall. While at the Simeon Centre, Rachel had her first taste of giving chaplaincy support, and became interested in Disability Theology, running a Disability Theology discussion group with Ridley students. More recently, Rachel has been involved as a speaker with HeartEdge disability theology series: ‘Shut In, Shut Out, Shut Up’ (June 2020).
Rachel enjoys accompanying people in their faith: taking a holistic and inclusive approach which incorporates mind, body and spirit. She finds it fruitful to explore faith through creativity, particularly developing lino prints representing Christian themes such as the representation of disabled people in Christian art.