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Sunday 21 July
Chaplaincy > Our Chaplains


Our Chaplains

If you would like to contact one of our chaplains, please visit our contact us page.


Reverend Canon Nigel Cooper MA CEnv MCIEEM MArborA FRSB FLS

Nigel Cooper

Nigel is a priest in the Church of England, but is responsible for the chaplaincy service in Cambridge to people of all faiths and none.

Nigel was born in Sussex and first came to Cambridge to the other university in the city to read Natural Sciences, concentrating on ecology. He taught in Romford for a few years, before going to Oxford to train for the ministry. He served his title curacy in Chelmsford and was rector of Rivenhall and Silver End in Essex for seventeen years before coming to Anglia Ruskin University in January 2005.

Nigel has an interest in applying the Christian faith to the modern world. He is fascinated by the process of reading the bible and how different interpretive processes lead to different understandings. He also believes in the application of faith to the big issues of our day, particularly those of justice, peace and creation. So he has a particular interest in sustainability and in inter-faith relations.

Our inner lives are the base for our activism and Nigel has trained in counselling, but these days he concentrates more on the spiritual aspects of our lives as, from experience, he has found healing here. Together with laughter and exercise, this can lead to the healing of much other pain in people’s lives. He has led a number of nature and spirit retreats, helping people find God through their relationship with nature. Nigel has maintained his interest in ecology and a concern for the environment, writing on subjects such as churchyard conservation and the philosophy behind natural history. He is a Visiting Fellow of our university’s Global Sustainability Institute. His current research work is in the economics of ecosystem services and has contributed to the National Ecosystem Assessment. Nigel has responsibilities at diocesan and national level for environmental issues in the Church of England.

View Nigel's publications.

Nigel is married to Bridget and they have an adult son. They share a love of Scottish Dancing and gardens.


Sidra Naeem – Muslim Chaplain

Sidra Naeem is a qualified teacher specialising in supporting and coordinating provision for students with Special Educational, social and emotional, Mental Health and wellbeing needs for the past 18 years. Additionally, she has been a Muslim Chaplain at Chelmsford College since 2007 offering pastoral and spiritual care, mentoring and advice to students and staff.

Sidra is the Islamic representative and public speaker on three interfaith forums, one of which is the Mid-Essex Interfaith Forum based in Chelmsford. She is the Islamic Representative on SACRE (Standing Advisory Council of Religious Education) for all schools and educational establishments in Essex. She also acts as an Islamic Advisor for various organisations including the Local Authority, schools, hospitals etc.

Sidra is a member of multiple networks related to faith and mental health and has been secretary of Essex Mind and Spirit (EMS) since 2007. This is a voluntary organisation that raises awareness of spiritual care in mental health recovery. She manages a Women’s Group, which aims to integrate vulnerable women from different backgrounds into the community. This is achieved by organising coffee mornings with craft activities, and she delivers lectures on topics related to interfaith. Socialising in a friendly manner allows her to listen empathetically to their personal problems, and provides opportunities for advice and help to women who have English as an additional language.

All this experience has raised her awareness of different issues in society and strategies on how to support students from diverse backgrounds as well as the wider community. Sidra says, ‘I am enthusiastic to pursue my new role as a Muslim Chaplain at the Chelmsford Campus and believe it is the only career offering a unique combination of my zest for faith with my caring nature, while making a tangible difference to peoples’ lives. I am confident I have the necessary ability, qualities and insight in succeeding and becoming a dedicated, hardworking chaplain.’

Please feel free to contact her whenever necessary.




Direct Telephone: +44 (0)1245 684436
Mobile: 07525 902804
Visit: Student Services, Tindal Building (Usual days on campus are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Friday mornings)

Guild House, Peterborough

Steph Pedlar

Steph Pedlar

Steph is a Christian but covers all faiths and none.

I am married with 3 children, one now grown up and married. This can't be held against me though as I am actually a big kid at heart. I love Disney and would live there if given half a chance! I try to constantly smile and laugh and love nothing more than making people smile back at me!

I started my working career as an auxiliary nurse (now known as HCA's) and went onto train as a qualified nurse. I worked at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon and Papworth Hospital in Papworth. As I enjoy being young I went on to work with young people at a local secondary school as their nurse and changed careers to work as a youth worker in my local church for 8 years. I then decided I would like a new challenge and became the Chaplain at Peterborough.

I am part time at Guild House as I work across 3 campuses in Peterborough so I am easily contactable on my mobile across all sites and move venues as many times as I need to in a day. As you probably guessed, I love talking and listening to people and their stories and I specialise in pastoral work. I am never too busy to listen and nothing you tell me is ever too silly to talk about.

I am easy to spot as I wear a purple t-shirt and hoody with the words chaplaincy team on the back.

Never be worried to contact me, if you see me in the corridor please say hello. If you ever need me contact my mobile or reception at Guild House and they will find me.