Meet The Team

We will be kicking off the start of our next year in September and have a whole lot coming up in the months that follow. Ahead of that, we thought it’d be great to have a blog series called ‘Meet The Team’, to introduce everyone that has been at the heart of our church thus far – this is our temporary solution thanks to Covid, until we’re allowed to have a BBQ all together.

This week we’re excited to properly introduce our two Church Leaders, brand new Curate and Administrator & Communications Lead.

Sam & Anna Pollard – Church Leaders

Anna Pollard

I became a Pollard in 2008, marrying Sam and have 2 children Leo and Cora. I’ve moved around middle England a lot but never north of Nottingham or south of London. We most recently arrived in Thames View last summer and now into the latest builds at Barking Riverside. Before that we spent 8 years in the land of The Only Way is Essex in Loughton, which helped glam me up, but I’ve still never had a mani. Leading a church is a first for me, my background is science, health, ethics and community engagement. But I’m passionate about how faith impacts our whole lives and world.

Lockdown Hobby: Trying to stay sane in a house of noise. At the start of lockdown some worthy efforts of morning exercise with Joe Wicks, now reduced to jumping on the kids’ trampoline after dinner.

Sam Pollard

Born and bred in Birmingham and a long-suffering Aston Villa fan, I’m married to Anna and dad to Leo and Cora, that have just turned 5 and 2. Brought up in a Christian family I’ve tested faith through studying Philosophy and living through major challenges in finance, health, and mental health in myself and those around me. I’m passionate about the reality of Jesus in every life and situation, having fun on the way and seeing the best in every person. That’s what has led me to Barking Riverside and all that’s ahead.

Lockdown Hobby: A daily dose of Biscoff spread on toast 🙂 Plus finally getting my guitars out of storage.

Urbain Yombe – Curate

We’re an international family; I am originally from the Republic of Congo while my wife, Ivanete Gama, is originally from Brazil. We met in Portugal where our Portuguese daughter Rebeca was born. We moved to the UK in 2008, where our British son Jesse was born. We have been living here, in Thames View, since 2010. We have been a part of the Church at Barking Riverside since July 2020, and will be ordained as Curate in September 2020. I look forward to serving our community.

Lockdown Hobby: I have been walking around our neighbourhood as I have never done before. For the 1st time in years, I have discovered Barking Creek Park (Creek Barrier) and the Wild Riverside path at Barking Riverside.

Zahra Awani – Communications Lead & Administrator

A North Londoner through and through, but originally from Ghana and Dominica, and married to a Nigerian. My husband, Dee, and I are fairly new to East London – East Londoners since 2016, Barking Riversiders since Jan 2020 – and loving it. I recently left the world of marketing for a more fulfilling, close to home role. I’m so excited to work with Church at Barking Riverside to help support and grow our community.

Lockdown Hobby: Coding, blogging ( and crafts: knitting, cross stitching and jigsaw puzzles (if framing completed puzzles count as a craft…?)

So that’s us; the core team at Church at Barking Riverside and we can’t wait to meet you all face to face in the near future, if we haven’t already!

In the meantime, we’ll also be introducing other members of our church and the different Hubs so you get an idea of how you can get involved with us.

If along the way you’d like to get more information or get involved, join in here, send us an email to or check us out on our social platforms:

2 Comments on “Meet The Team

  1. Exciting times ahead as you follow Jesus all the way!

  2. How exciting so very excited for you as you adventure with God

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: