Passiontide 2017

Chapel: People

The Revd Canon Dr Simon Jones
The Chaplain

The Revd Canon Dr Simon Jones has been Chaplain of Merton since 2002. As well as being responsible for the day to day life of the Chapel, Simon also co-ordinates the various College welfare bodies and convenes the College's Student Support Committee and Chapel & Patronage Committee. He is always happy to speak in confidence with any member of College (regardless of religious affiliation) concerning any matter.

Email: Simon Jones
Telephone: 01865 276365.


Before coming to Merton, Simon served his curacy at Tewkesbury Abbey in the Diocese of Gloucester. He trained for ordination at Westcott House in Cambridge and, as a member of Selwyn College, completed a PhD in Syrian baptismal theology. His current research interests include recent revisions of Anglican baptismal rites, Gregory Dix and the origin and development of marriage rites. He is a member of the Church of England Liturgical Commission, and the Oxford Diocesan Liturgical Committee. He was installed as an Honorary Canon of Christ Church in 2015 and as a Wiccamical Prebendary (Honorary Canon Theologian) of Chichester Cathedral in February 2016.

The Revd Dr Melanie Marshall
Associate Chaplain and Career Development Researcher

The Revd Dr Melanie Marshall is Associate Chaplain and Career Development Researcher, and is the first woman to hold a chaplaincy at Merton. She serves as a pastor to the Chapel community, leads discussion groups and other activities in College, and develops new initiatives for the flourishing of the communal life of the Chapel. She is always available to support students and members of College regardless of their participation in Chapel or religious affiliation.

Email: Melanie Marshall
Telephone: 01865 276297.


Mel joined Merton in September 2020. She shares Chapel duties with Simon and helps build community around College through book groups, discussion groups and friendly cups of coffee.

Before coming to Merton, Mel was Chaplain of Lincoln College. She was a curate in West London, following her theological training at Westcott House and Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Her life before ordination was as a classicist in Oxford, and she retains teaching and research interests in classical, especially Roman, historiography.

During her time at Merton, Mel will be continuing her theological education with research on Augustine of Hippo and Paul of Tarsus, as well as contributing to some small projects in renaissance English studies.

Benjamin Nicholas
Reed Rubin Organist & Director of Music

Benjamin Nicholas is responsible for all the music in Chapel, directing and training the College Choir and the Choristers. Ben is also a College Lecturer in Music teaching undergraduates in all year groups. As Director of College Music, Ben encourages music-making across the College.

Email: Benjamin Nicholas


Benjamin Nicholas is Reed Rubin Organist & Director of Music at Merton, and Principal Conductor of The Oxford Bach Choir. As a conductor he has appeared with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The BBC Singers and The Holst Singers in works such as Elgar’s The Apostles, Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony, Holst’s Savitri and Verdi’s Requiem.

During Benjamin’s time at Merton, the annual Passiontide at Merton festival has been established, the Dobson Organ has been installed, and the College Girls’ Choir has been founded. He was elected a Bodley Fellow in 2018. 

Benjamin has been involved in the commissioning of a great many works, and conducted the premieres of Charlotte Bray’s Bach RE:Imagined in Southwark Cathedral with the City of London Sinfonia, Howard Goodall’s Veni Sancte Spiritus in Westminster Abbey and numerous choral works by Kerry Andrew, Birtwistle, Chilcott, Dove, Jackson, MacMillan, Martin, Muhly, Tabakova, Weir, and Wilby in Tewkesbury and Oxford.

Benjamin was a chorister at Norwich Cathedral before being appointed Organ Scholar of Chichester Cathedral at the age of 17. He went on to hold organ scholarships at Lincoln College, Oxford and St Paul's Cathedral before becoming Director of Music at St Luke’s Church, Chelsea in 2000. Prior to moving to Merton, he was Director of Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum and Director of Choral Music at Dean Close School. From 2011 to 2016 he served the Edington Music Festival, firstly as conductor of the Schola and then as Festival Director.

Chapel Administrator and Verger

Chapel Administrator: Lizzie Casey. Lizzie is the Chaplain’s PA and provides administrative support for the Chapel and Choral Foundation.

Verger: Leah Collins. Leah is responsible for the daily running and upkeep of the Chapel. She helps with the organisation and setting up of services, as well as overseeing concerts and outside events.

Chapel Officers

A number of students assist with the running of the Chapel. Chapel Wardens welcome people to services, arrange readers and servers for the main Sunday evening service and send out the weekly Chapel email. The sacristans light candles and ring the bells before services and often serve at the Sunday evening Eucharist. The Chapel Clerk arranges the rota of weekday readers. This year's officers are:

Student Chapel Officers: Victor Ajuwon, Antonia Anstatt, Luke Bateman, Pax Butchart, Molly Clark, Lizzy Down, Margaret Frainier, Henry Grub, Lucas Haugeberg, Tom Heywood, Lachlan Hughes, Liv Jenkins, Jamie Judd, Rachel Jung, Francesca Lovell-Read, Beth McCullaugh, Gian Piero Milani, Ollie Shaw, Audrey Southgate, Charlie Tolkien-Gillett, Silvia Trinczek, and Rowan Wilson.

Pastoral Assistant: Oliver Wright.

Livestreaming technicians: Sebastian Dows-Miller and Henry Grub.