Chris Beales is a member of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Commission on Housing, Church and Community (from April 2019). He is a Visiting Fellow at St John's College, Durham University and from 2017-19 was a William Leech Research Fellow in Applied Theology at the University of Durham, looking at new housing developments across the 12 local authorities in the region.
He was Vicar from September 2008 to Christmas 2016 of St Michael’s Church, Woburn Sands, near Milton Keynes, 50 miles north of London, England and moved to north east England in 2017.
He has a strong link in East London with Alpha Building Services Engineering, a construction training company where, in 2010, the idea of setting up a University Technical College first began to develop. The London Design & Engineering UTC opened in September 2016; the University of East London, Thames Water, Costain, Skanska, Fujitsu, Lego, the Diocese of Chelmsford and others are now heavily involved in the College, which provides vocational skills training alongside academic studies for 13 - 19 year olds. It also has its own apprentice training centre. Chris represents the Diocese of Chelmsford on the Board. The Diocese provides a chaplaincy service to the students and staff.
Ordained in 1976 as a Church of England minister, Chris worked in Leeds, West Yorkshire from 1976-1979 as priest in charge of a daughter church and as an industrial chaplain.
From 1979-84 he was a full time industrial chaplain with Teesside Industrial Mission, based in Hartlepool in northern England, a coastal town with the country's highest unemployment. There he set up the Hartlepool Co-operative Enterprise Centre, working with the local Churches, the local authority and the Government's Co-operative Development Agency. He was a founder member of the Cleveland Co-operative Agency and also set up Respond!, an adult education programme addressing mass unemployment across Teesside.
From 1985-91 he was Secretary to the Industrial & Economic Affairs Committee of the Church of England and was responsible for briefing and advising Bishops and the General Synod, engaging with Government, business and trade unions and supporting the network of industrial chaplains across the country. He was Secretary to a working party which, over 2 years, examined the work of Industrial Mission and produced the report Industrial Mission - An Appraisal. From 1992-94 he was seconded to the British Government to set up the Inner Cities Religious Council, Government's first structured engagement with faith communities in England.
From 1994-98 he worked in northern England, setting up the Churches' Regional Commission in the North East, addressing economic, social and cultural issues and co-ordinating the various specialist ministries of the Churches. During this time, he was involved with the Churches' national working party looking at unemployment and, in response to its 1997 report Unemployment and the Future of Work, he set up the North East Employment Forum and, in 1998, Employment Forum UK, working across the country with faith communities of all faiths on employment, training and enterprise development.
Out of this came work with Alpha Building Services Engineering and in 2003 he met a group of Afghan refugees which led, eventually, to the formation of Afghan Action.
Chris is married to Angela and they have three children and five grandchildren.