MMAC Management Committee

John Newton Gibbs   

John's career has been in science - as a researcher on tree diseases - but his interest in modern art goes back to the family home in Penarth where he grew up surrounded by 20th century paintings acquired by his parents.

It was his father, John Morel Gibbs, who took the lead in creating the Methodist Modern Art Collection in the 1960s. When the Managing Committee was appointed in 1998 to maintain and promote the Collection, he took on the role of Chairman, in which position he continues today. He says: 'It has been a most interesting and rewarding experience.'' 

John has published scientific papers on many tree problems including Dutch Elm Disease and was awarded the OBE for services to forestry. At present he is Chairman of the Brecknock Society and Museum Friends.



Graham Kent

Graham has been involved with the management and tours of the Collection for many years. He has worked in London, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester in urban, rural and ecumenical settings.

He studied Theology at Kings College London and later took a Masters' Degree in Art History at Leeds.

Graham is currently Superintendent of the Shaw & Rawton Circuit of the Methodist Manchester & Stockport District. He is a member of the Methodist-Anglican Panel for Unity in Mission.





Bob Williams

Bob initially worked for a Commercial Art Studio in Holborn, servicing the needs of London's top Advertising Agencies. A career re-think prompted him to explore teaching as a more fulfilling option.

He undertook professional training at Westminster College of Education (now the Westminster Campus of Oxford Brookes University) currently home to the Collection. A former Deputy Headmaster and Head of an Art Department, with a special interest in ceramics, he is now retired but keeping a 'finger on the pulse' on happenings across a wide spectrum of the art world.

His appointment as a committee member coincided with the launch of the Friends of the Methodist Modern Art Collection and in November 2008 he became Secretary to the Friends and editor of the twice yearly Newsletter.



Sarah MiddletonSarah Middleton

Sarah is a freelance Arts Manager and a Methodist Local Preacher. As part of her MA Arts & Cultural Management degree at Sussex University she evaluated the Methodist Modern Art Collection's impact in British churches and galleries from 1962-2007.

She developed these studies as Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes University in 2011-12. More recently she has conducted a consultation for the Collection's committee members called 'Shaping A Future Together', centred on strategic planning.

Among Sarah's publications is the 2014 booklet The Methodist Modern Art Collection in Wales, and Praying with Art - an article for the Methodist Church website based on the popular Creative Spirit DVD/CD worship resource which she co-authored with ecumenical partners. Sarah has led a number of retreats and study days using the Collection. She currently lives in South Wales.


Paul BayleyPaul Bayley  

Paul Bayley is a freelance curator and project manager. He is currently Director of the Florence Trust, an emerging artists' studio and mentoring programme. Since graduating from Leeds University Paul has worked for over twenty years in contemporary visual arts, from the mid-1980s at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, then in the Exhibitions Department at the Tate Gallery through to becoming Director of Visual Arts at Cornerhouse, Manchester.

Since moving to London in 2002 he has also worked with Art & Christianity Enquiry and as a visual arts officer for Arts Council England. As part of the Acquisitions Group of the Methodist Collection he has been instrumental in a number of the recent purchases, including the works by Maggi Hambling, Craigie Aitchison, Susie Hamilton, David Jones and Clive Hicks-Jenkins.




Meryl DoneyMeryl Doney 

Meryl is a freelance fine art curator, specialising in presenting exhibitions in cathedrals, churches, festivals and other challenging spaces.

She has curated over forty exhibitions and performance pieces, including 'Moon Mirror' by Rebecca Horne in St Paul's Cathedral and 'Presence: Images of Christ for the Third Millennium', a series of thirteen different exhibitions involving 50 contemporary artists.

Between 2006 and 2011 she was Director of Wallspace, a 'spiritual home for visual art' in All Hallows on the Wall church in the City of London. 

Meryl is a member of St Paul's Cathedral Visual Arts Policy and Planning Committee, former leader of the Visual Arts Group of the Greenbelt Festival, an Editorial consultant for Third Way Magazine and 'Art in Focus' Editor for Reform Magazine. 


Ann SumnerAnn Sumner

Ann is a senior museum professional with 30 years' experience. She is a former Director of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts (2007-12) and Barber Professor of Fine Art and Curatorial Practice. Prior to that, she was Head of Fine Art at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff (2000 - 2007). She has held curatorial positions at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Holburne Museum, Bath and Dulwich Picture Gallery.

She was educated at Kingswood School, Bath, the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London and studied for her PhD at the University of Cambridge.

Ann is currently Historic Collections Adviser at Harewood House Trust in Yorkshire, where she is leading the Chippendale 300 programming for 2018 and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Leeds, where she specialises in public art research . She sits on the Curatorial Advisory Committee for the Ironbridge Museums Trust and the Advisory Committee for the School of Art Gallery & Museum, Aberystwyth University. She is a Trustee of Leeds Art Fund and of the Museum of Bath at Work.


Ruth Gee

Ruth has been Chair of the Darlington District of the Methodist Church since 2008. Formerly she served in the West Yorkshire District as a circuit minister and also as Ecumenical Officer and Synod Secretary. Before entering ordained ministry, Ruth had a career in teaching and still enjoys opportunities to follow this aspect of her calling.

Ruth is enthusiastic about the collection and has used it often in worship and in leading retreats and quiet days. She has experienced and is excited by the significant missional opportunities offered by exhibiting the collection both within the Darlington District and further afield.

Ruth served as President of the Methodist Conference (2013-2014), and among other responsibilities is currently Chair of the Methodist Council, a member of the Faith and Order Committee and Moderator of the Forum of Churches Together in England.


Peter Forsaith is Research Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History, within which role he acts as the Collection's Custodian.  Further details at

Jo Hibbard, Director of Engagement in the Mission & Advocacy Cluster, liaises with the Management Committee for the Connexional Team. She aims to ensure appropriate management support and resources available, and to share opportunities for collaboration on the promotion and use of the Collection.

Liz Millard is the Collection's part-time Administrator, in addition to her role as Senior Administrator for the Mission & Advocacy Team of the Connexional Team.