The Howdles, married in 1972, are the first married couple who have both been elected to the Vice-Presidency - in 1993 and 2002 respectively.
Susan Howdle (née Lowery) was born in Sunderland, the only child of the Rev. Ralph Lowery and his wife Nancy. After schooling in Pontefract, she read Jurisprudence at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford and was called to the Bar by Lincoln's Inn. She lectured in Law at Bristol and Sheffield Universities and served as a chairman of tribunals, before being appointed by the Lord Chancellor as a member of the Council on Tribunals. She was the first woman to serve on the connexional Law and Polity Committee and in 1988 became the first lay person to be a member of the Conference Secretariat (which she served as Journal Secretary until 2007). She was Vice-President of the 1993 Conference and from 1996 to 2002 was Chair of Methodist Homes for the Aged. She has chaired a number of connexional committees and working parties, including recently ‘Larger than Circuit’ and ‘Same sex marriage and civil partnerships’.
From 2009 to 2019 she has served as Chair of Westminster College Oxford Trust Ltd and as a Governor of Oxford Brookes University.
She is a member of Roundhay (known from December 2013 as Oakwood) Church in the Leeds North and East Circuit and became a local preacher in 1993. In 2018 she delivered the Methodist Sacramental Fellowship annual Conference lecture entitled 'Polity and Grace; the Life and Times of a Methodist Lawyer'.
Peter Howdle, BSc, MD, FRCP, was Vice-President of the Conference 2002-03. He was born in Pontefract in 1948 and introduced to Methodism through his parents. His father, George Henry Howdle was a professional musician and the church organist; his mother, Mary Jane, the sister of the Revd. George Baugh (1918-2005 ; e.m.1945). He was educated at The King’s School, Pontefract and the University of Leeds Medical School. In 1948 he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and worked for a year as a research fellow at Harvard Medical School. He was on the staff of St. James's University Hospital for 37 years, becoming a consultant in 1987 and was also Professor of Clinical Medicine, University of Leeds. He retired in 2009.
Apart from a year spent as Visiting Lecturer at Harvard, 1984-85, he devoted his entire professional career to St James’s University Hospital and the Leeds University Medical School, specialising in gastroenterology, particularly the treatment of coeliac disease. He has been a Trustee of the Medical Council on Alcohol, a Governor and Trustee, and Chair of the Medical Advisory Council, of Coeliac UK, and a Chair of the Guidelines Committees of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. A member of Roundhay (now Oakwood) Church in the Leeds North and East Circuit, he became a local preacher in 1975, the fourth generation of his family to do so. He was the Leeds District Stationing Committee representative from 1991 to 2001 and has been a member of the connexional Medical Committee and Chair of the Fernley-Hartley Trustees. From 2003 to 20143 he was the Methodist Co-Chair of the Joint Implementation Commission of the Anglican-Methodist Covenant and in 2017 was awarded the Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism. From 2012 to 2019 he has served as Chair of the Strategy and Resources Committee. His main interests are music (cello and piano), modern English literature, medical ethics and cricket. In addition to professional volumes, he has contributed to Euthanasia and the Churches (ed. Robin Gill, 1998) and written on 'ethical and theological issues in contemporary medicine' in the Epworth Review (2004).
The Howdles are joint authors of Childlessness (1993).