The Revd. Jo Winn-Smith

The Revd. Jo Winn-Smith

Jo Winn-Smith is a Church of England priest and studying part-time for a PhD, she is also a member of General Synod, and is a passionate advocate of inclusivity.

Jo read theology at Oxford. Having come to an active faith in her teens in the charismatic evangelical tradition she met her husband-to-be at university, and with his anglo-catholic roots, they ended up finding a warm welcome in the liberal/progressive catholic church.

After university, they moved to London and following a brief flirtation with accountancy, she ended up working at the Church Commissioners in the Redundant Churches Department. Working in various policy roles for the C of E national church institutions for over 13 years, her final post was as Policy Advisor for Marriage and Family Life, advising bishops in the House of Lords, writing reports for General Synod and responding to government consultations and liaising with other charities and NGOs.  Alongside this, she became a Deanery Lay Chair, and had two children.  

Jo loves studying, or as her husband says, collects degrees. In her 20s she trained as an LLM(Reader) in Southwark Diocese, and after a taster course during maternity leave, and on moving back to Surrey, she went on to complete a degree in psychotherapeutic counselling and qualified as a member of BACP in 2015. She had planned to leave the NCIs and build a counselling career, but having done some visiting lecturing, she was invited to be a year tutor on the Local Ministry Programme: Guildford, where she trained LLMs and OLMs/SSMs for 6 years. This prompted further personal vocational reflection, and in 2017 she was accepted for ordination training, and went to Ripon College Cuddesdon, part-time, to study for an MTh in Applied Theology. Her academic interests and specialisms are around practical and pastoral theology, from a liberation/feminist perspective, particular looking at gender and sexuality. 

She is chaplain to the bishop of Guildford, alongside studying for a PhD in Theology at Chester University. Her studies are in vocation and identity, particularly looking at motherhood and priesthood and how the former impacts the latter, challenging traditional assumptions conflating priesthood with the alpha male leader. 

In her ‘spare’ time, Jo enjoys keeping fit, gin/wine and cooking, dancing, piano/singing.

Over the last 20 years Jo has found that many dear friends and colleagues, as well as mentors and ministers, have been in the LGBT+ community. She is a passionate advocate for inclusion, using her academic and institutional contexts to reflect on and promote Jesus’ radical inclusive love and welcome to all. From 2011-2019, as an LLM in Surrey, she was very involved in running ‘Rainbow masses’ at her parish church. In October 2021 she was elected to General Synod, standing on the Inclusive Church slate. She hopes her knowledge and experience will aid her in serving OBOF in their continuing important work.