Lay woman takes over as new General Secretary of Conference of Religious

 Valerie Nazareth

Valerie Nazareth

The former Head of Editorial Legal Services at the BBC, Valerie Nazareth, has this week started work as the new General Secretary of CoR, replacing Br James Boner, OFM, who stood down in August.

 Valerie on the front row at the General Meeting in November

Valerie on the front row at the General Meeting in November

Valerie attended the general meeting in early November and is looking forward to making contact with many other members of CoR in the coming weeks: “I hope to be able to meet many of you soon and to introduce myself in person. In the meantime, I would like to ask anyone who is organising a meeting, such as one of the regional meetings of CoR, if you would be kind enough to let me have the details, as attending such meetings is one of the ways I will be able to meet members and better understand how CoR can best serve your needs. Please do get in touch, I am looking forward to getting to know you.”

Valerie is a lawyer who spent over 25 years at the BBC and was introduced to CoR by one of the members: “Two years ago I decided it was time for new challenges and I left the BBC to study for an MA at Heythrop.  I was lucky to be one of the last students admitted before their doors closed. After that I spent a few months in Rwanda, volunteering courtesy of the Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre. This summer I visited the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh as part of a small research project. Now, after what feels like a gap year, I am refreshed and ready to start work here at CoR.” 

Valerie was born in Kenya and educated at Island School in Hong Kong before coming to England to read law at University College London, qualifying as a solicitor in 1987. She has two grown up children.

The CoR President, Fr Paul Smyth CMF, said he was delighted Valerie had chosen to share her expertise to serve the Religious of England & Wales: “Valerie will bring her experience and many skills to the role and she is keen to get to know the members and to listen and learn from them what they would find helpful from CoR. She has excellent legal and media knowledge and will be able to provide advice and support to Congregations from within the CoR office. “

Fr Paul added: “Our hope as an Executive is that the new team that has been created will be able to serve as an instrument to help Religious in England and Wales to create spaces where we can come together, and through sharing of ideas and resources find ways to better respond to the challenges that face us. To be able to achieve this we need to be able to network with others who share our concerns and interests.”