Meet the Team

Whitchester is run by a community of two families who take responsibility for the day to day goings on of the house and ministry. If you are interested in supporting us in any way, please visit our Friends of Whitchester page

Nigel, Joan Kinnings-Smith, Head Wardens

Amy Kinnings-Smith, Animal Lover

Nigel, Joan and Amy

As a family we have known God’s call to Whitchester….and continue to sense His call here. Whitchester is such a special place, not only as a lovely building but also there is such a wonderful spiritual atmosphere which we know is caused by people’s prayers over the years.

A selection of facts about our family:

  • We have both not too long ago hit our half centuries, except Amy, who is 10.
  • Been Christians since we were young – which is not too long ago for Amy!
  • We married 13 years ago. Nigel’s roots are in Norwich and Joan’s in Southport….we still have a parent in each of these places. We met at a Christian Rambling Club event.
  • For 9 years prior to working at Whitchester we were living in Suffolk, most recently in Lowestoft and previously in Quiet Waters Christian Retreat (where we were Team members and then Trustees)
  • We have a heart for Retreat Centres and have continued a role in Prayer Ministry in our Church in East Anglia and wider.
  • We are both licensed members of the Order of Jacob’s Well (an organisation set up by Rowan Williams in connection with the healing ministry).
  • Nigel trained mainly as a carpet fitter and cleaner and more recently as a CBT counsellor and Joan trained as a chartered accountant, youth and children’s worker and lecturer.
  • Amy loves living at Whitchester, making friends with many of the guests, and also loves the local school, brownies and swimming lessons, and she loves the new hens….all named by Amy.
  • We have two dogs, Ruby and Dennis; 6 chickens, 3 bantams, a hamster, 3 budgies and an aviary full of birds!

Kiran and Amy Lotay, Deputy Wardens

Kiran and Amy

Amy was brought up in a Christian family in Newmarket and Kiran grew up in London, becoming a Christian at the age of 15. We met whilst studying at university.  Amy studied forestry because she wanted to work somewhere where she could make space for others to meet with God; Kiran studied Theology as an undergraduate and Biblical Interpretation as a postgraduate, which he puts to use writing study materials for our led retreats. From the first few months of our marriage we felt a call to show hospitality where possible to whoever needed it, so we set up an open house where people could come to eat food, play games, pray and just spend time together. The idea was to create a space to encourage deeper friendships and community which can be hard to fit into busy lives. We firmly believe that God has called us to serve at Whitchester and are excited to play our part in what he is doing here. We have a passion for encouraging and blessing the church, and are eager to see the fullness of how God wants to use Whitchester to that end.