Born in Chedburgh, Suffolk, and educated at the City of Norwich School and Downing College, Cambridge, where he graduated in physics in 1963. After a year researching in ionospheric physics he trained for the ministry at Wesley House, Cambridge, and in 1966 was stationed as Assistant Tutor at Richmond College. This was followed in 1970 by appointment as Ecumenical Lecturer at the Anglican Lincoln Theological College, where he taught New Testament. In 1974 he was stationed in the Maidstone Circuit and in 1980 appointed to Wesley House, Cambridge, as Tutor to teach pastoral theology. After a circuit appointment in Bristol (Clifton and Redland), 1988-92, he was appointed General Secretary of the Division of Social Responsibility until the end of the church's divisional structures in 1996, when he became Co-ordinating Secretary for Church and Society in the newly-created Connexional Team. In 2003 he became the first person to be appointed to the newly-created combined post of Secretary of the Conference and General Secretary of the Methodist Church. He became a supernumerary in 2008. He delivered the Fernley-Hartley Lecture of 1980 on The Lukan School at Ephesus. He was involved in the preparation of a number of Conference reports, including The Ministry of the People of God (1986), A Statement on Political Responsibility (1995), The Essence of Education (1999), Our Calling (2000) and Priorities for the Methodist Church (2004). In 2008 he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws by Roehampton University (of which the Methodist Southlands College is a constituent part).
Publications: Calling, God? (1976), Pastoral Theology: An Inquiry (1987) and chapters in Doing Theology, ed. J Stacey (1972), Forty-four Sermons to Serve the Present Age, edd. A Shier-Jones and D Reisman (2007), and with A Shier-Jones in Children of God: Towards a Theology of Childhood, ed. A Shier-Jones (2007).