Our Minister & Team
Reverend Carla Maurer grew up in St.Gallen. She studied history and philosophy in Berne in 1999. During her first years as a student, Carla became particularly interested with the relations of society, church and politics in Europe and she developed a passion for Christian theology – intellectually, as well as spiritually. In 2007, Carla graduated in Reformed Theology.
She then moved to Strasbourg in France to work for the Church and Society Commission of the Conference of European Churches and became engaged in ecumenical cooperation which became an important part of her theology. Carla was a board member of the European Forum of European Christian Women (EFECW) from 2010-2014 where she coordinated the first Pop Up Monastery.
Before becoming the Minister of the Swiss Church in London in 2013, Carla worked for the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church as executive officer on a property and mission project.
Theologians such as Teresa of Avila, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Peter Rollins, and Ruth Epting who was the first woman to be ordained in Basel and founder of the EFECW are an inspiration to her.
Carla is married to Julian Simmons, a London based record producer. They have a son, Yuvi Mark, born in 2018.
In her spare time, Carla loves to read, to take advantage of London’s rich cultural life (especially museums and theatres) or to enjoy a cool pint of ale down at the local pub. You might see her on one of her runs or stretching her body in a yoga class. In a previous life, Carla was the singer in a band. She still enjoys going to rock concerts, but she leaves the majority of her own singing to church hymns now.
Mobile phone: 07968 530 380
Emily Rose Simons is a North Londoner. She is also a composer-lyricist for musical theatre. Her work has been performed around the UK, Off-West End, Off- and Off-Off Broadway and even in Israel. Her work tends to have a strong spiritual focus, as well as feminist spine – so The Swiss Church in London feels like a very comfortable extension of her creative sensibilities.
As well as writing musical theatre, community building and religion has always had a strong presence in Emily Rose’s life. Less than six months after her Bat Mitzva (when she no longer had to attend Jewish Sunday School) she was singing in Notre Dame Cathedrale on All Saints Day with the Finchley Children’s Music Group. During her time studying Music at the University of Bristol, Emily had active roles in the Jewish Society, a regular presence at the Multifaith Chaplaincy and even her choral conducting style always focused on building a supportive community through music in each of the choirs she conducted. After university she spent a year or so reviewing synagogues for an online Jewish magazine.
Throughout and after a stint in New York, musical theatre, the arts and community are still important parts of Emily Rose’s life and she is very excited to have the next chapter of her life in some way interwoven with the next chapter of The Swiss Church in London.
Phone: 07590 879 201
Director of Music & Organist
Peter Yardley-Jones FRSA BMus(Hons), is a first-class honours graduate in music from the University of Glasgow. From 2006-2008 he was University Organ Scholar and in 2008 he was appointed Assistant Organist at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Glasgow and Organist at Houston & Killellan Kirk. During his time in Glasgow, Peter studied organ with Kevin Bowyer and renowned Bach scholar, Prof. John Butt OBE. Widely respected as a performer, Peter was awarded the Muriel Thorne Hague Memorial Prize, by his University for achieving the greatest distinction in performance and in 2005 won first prize in the nationwide Geoffrey Spiers Organ Competition.
As a recitalist he has performed at many UK Cathedrals and Concert Halls and has performed on many solo USA tours. In addition Peter has been organist for several BBC Radio 2 and Radio 4 broadcasts and for BBC Television’s Songs of Praise.
Anina Smith grew up in Berne and visited London for the first time in 2004 during a gap year. In these three months she worked with her local church in Woolwich and the youth organisation XLP. Back in Switzerland she studied at the Swiss School of Tourism in Sierre/Siders before moving to London for good in September 2007. She first helped opening and running the first tibits restaurant outside of Switzerland and then joined LOCOG to deliver a successful 2012 Summer Games.
The position as Office Manager at the Swiss Church combines all her previous experiences and training as well as offering an opportunity to be linked with her home country and work in a Christian environment.
Anina is married to police constable Ricky Smith. Their have two sons, Max Noah (born 2016) and Luca Filip (born 2019).
Phone: 020 7836 1418
Heidi Holenweg grew up in Toggenburg and Fuerstenland, Switzerland. Her professional roots are in the travel industry and in the business and commercial sector. Later than she graduates in Social Work (Master of Science) focused in welfare policy and the welfare economy, and management. During her career and studies, Heidi become particularly interested in Adult Learning and Education. By 2016, Heidi had over 1,300 hours of proven records in teaching, mentoring and tutoring apprentices, trainees and students, and was therefore awarded with the Diploma of Higher Education in Adult Learning and Training.
Heidi lives with her partner and teenage daughter in South West London just a stone’s throw away from the Thames, and between Richmond Park and Bushy Park. Baking, reading and wild swimming are activities she enjoys doing in her spare time, although a former employer would describe that Heidi’s main hobby is more likely her own continuing professional development.
Phone: 020 7836 1418
Andy Palfreyman assists the church congregation with their Sunday services every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month, including the set up and set down of chairs, greeting members of the congregation, welcoming new faces and keeping the community safe during worship. Andy grew up in the North of England and moved to London at the age of 19. He was street homeless for most of his adult life. Andy is a photographer, motivational speaker, homelessness activist and a good guy. He also works as evening receptionist at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church.
Andy aka The Dapper Snapper loves fashion, Paul Weller songs, the company of the Swiss Church ladies and he would easily pass the knowledge test for cabbies with his incredible knowledge of London’s streets. He is yet to visit Switzerland, his adoptive country, which he is very much looking forward to.
Caretaker: Rupert Ackroyd
Swiss Church News Editor: James Rasa
Swiss Church London Consistoire
The Consistoire (equivalent of a Parish Council) is the Governing Body of the Swiss Church in London and administers and manages the Swiss Church in London, its property and its internal and external affairs in accordance with the constitution.
To contact the Consistoire email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Members of the Consistoire
President of Consistoire – Vacant
Mr David Hume
Member since 2015
David discovered the Swiss Church searching for a suitable hall for his community dance school which takes place every Tuesday evening. David says: “My contact with the Swiss Church has warmed my Christian faith and it seemed like fate when I was asked to become a member of the Consistoire.” His Methodist upbringing in central Manchester showed him how Christian values could help those in the community achieve fulfilling lives and he sees that affinity with the Swiss Church today.
David was working for a period in Zurich, Geneva and Basel and his son lived there for a time.
David’s aim is to assist the Consistoire build a strong governance team and develop robust fundraising strategies to ensure the long-term future of the 250 year old Swiss Church so that “Church, Community, Culture” can be enjoyed for generations to come.
Mr Marco Mambelli
Member since 2017
Marco is a financial analyst active in the Asset Management sector, currently pursuing an MBA at the Cranfield School of Management where he chairs the university’s Consulting Club. Over the past five years he has covered a number of sectors both on the equity and fixed income markets, meeting with a smorgasbord of EU-based companies and executives, and progressively moving his focus to global equity markets.
Marco is originally from Milan and over the years he has had the pleasure to visit Switzerland on numerous occasions, particularly in the Canton of Valais and had the opportunity to appreciate different facets of Switzerland’s culture and values.
Marco’s decision to join the Swiss Church stems from his desire to help the local community in London and to building and maintaining a “home away from home” both from a cultural and spiritual perspective. Marco always wanted to be part of charitable activities for the local community.
Mr Colin McIntyre
Adviser to the Steering Committee
Colin’s family links with the Swiss Church date back almost a century. His relatives emigrated from Neuchâtel in the 1920s, married at the Swiss Church in London, christened their children in the Church, and were members during all their lives.
Colin started attending Sunday services at the Swiss Church in 2009, following the spectacular renovation of the Church by architects Christ & Gantenbein. Gradually, he became more involved as a volunteer- in various Church social activities such as 1st August celebrations, fondue evenings, and cultural events.
From 2016 to 2018 he worked in the Church office, as maternity cover. This enabled him to acquire a broad knowledge of the challenges of managing the unique institution that is the twenty-first century Swiss Church.
Colin considers the Swiss Church to be much more than a parish Church. The renovation enabled the Church to become a social hub for the Swiss Community in London, to stage a wide variety of arts and music events, and offer commercial hire-crucial for providing income for the Church to meet the running costs of operating in a Grade 2 listed building.
Colin is keen to work with the Consistoire, Minister Carla Maurer, and all the members and friends of the Swiss Church, to create a strong and vibrant Church that we can pass on to future generations for them enjoy and cherish.
Ms Barbara Wachter
President of the Steering Committee
Member since 2019
Barbara grew up in Langenthal, Switzerland and Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. After completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Zurich, she moved to London in 2017 to read Conflict Studies at the London School of Economics. Today, Barbara is working as Communications Officer at a small London-based NGO.
Barbara has always highly valued community service and volunteering. In Switzerland, she has been a scout leader for a decade, was vice president and violin player at a Youth orchestra in Basel and also held the mandate of Swiss UN Youth Delegate in 2015. Since moving to London, Barbara has worked as a volunteer visitor for immigration detainees at the Colnbrook Immigration Detention Centers.
When Barbara first got to know the Swiss Church, she was impressed by its beautiful building in the middle of Covent Garden, and by the valuable work the team carries out to tackle homelessness, the severity of which is increasing. Barbara decided to join the Consistoire to assist the local community and to stay in touch with Swiss living in London.
Mr Hassan Mohanna
Member since 2020
Hassan grew up in Lebanon, where he attended the American University of Beirut before starting a consulting career in the Middle East and North America. He later attended New York University and lived for several years in the United States, working on civic technology and innovation.
Hassan moved to London in 2019 with his wife for her masters, and first heard about the Swiss Church when they were looking for opportunities to volunteer in their new city. Avid lovers of walking and architecture, they now make a point of passing by the Church on their long weekly walks into the city. Hassan has been an adviser to the Consistoire’s Steering Committee since March 2020 throughout the coronavirus crisis and is excited to serve on the Consistoire as a trustee and to get to know the community.
Mr Philip Maillardet
History and Archives
Member since 2009
Mrs Cécile Mistry
Catering Manager, Food safety
Member since 2009
Mr Yvon Tse
Acting Company Secretary
An accountant by profession since 1970 working both in private practice and commerce. He has had connections with Switzerland and the Swiss Church in London, since 1972 and 1985 respectively. On standby since 2012 for the role of Acting Treasurer when the Honourable Treasurer’s post is vacant and while the Trustees undergo their search for an appropriate candidate. Company Secretary in 2015.
Counsel General Mrs Manuela Ferrari
Since 2018. Ex-officio observer from the Embassy of Switzerland in the United Kingdom.