When I introduced myself at the National Conference in 2017, I reflected that my haphazard CV didn't make sense, unless all roads had been intentionally leading to my appointment at the LCF. Four years later, I concede that my time at the LCF has been equally haphazard, with three roles in three years! But as I prepare to leave, I do so with an even greater conviction that there is nothing haphazard about God's plans. Here are three themes that have underpinned my time.
Prayer. As an unexpected Acting Executive Director, I learnt to pray like never before! Big prayers, small prayers, constant prayer. Having never attended a prayer breakfast as a member due to my aversion to early starts, they became one of my highlights once on staff! Each morning when we met for team prayers, I was humbled and challenged that – as per Martin Luther – the busier we were, the longer we took to pray.
Provision. Oh, how God answered those prayers! When our finances were depleted, a surprise legacy helped us to not only balance the books but to expand the team. When our carol service venue was cancelled, another church was found that better suited our needs. But most often, God's provision was His people. Trustees working at the SYL Conference when illness reduced an already depleted staff team. Temporary staff providing admin support in time for GDPR deadlines and the Berlin Conference. And members stepping up time and time again – speaking at prayer breakfasts, hosting Essential Truths seminars, drafting WFTWs – always at short notice, never once grumbling. Finally, I must mention my husband Kevin, who turned his hand to running tech, playing guitar, driving students, taking photographs – whatever the event needed, he took on the role! Thank you to everyone who supported our ministry in so many ways.
Privilege. What a joy it has been to be a part of this ministry! I leave with a deeper understanding of theology because of my collaboration with the Word for the Week editors – thank you especially to Dom and Graham for your careful considerations. I leave with a broader perspective of justice because of my time in East Africa – thank you Mhairi, and thank you to my very patient and gracious mission team! And I leave feeling blessed to have had so many incredible opportunities – to meet LCF groups around the country, to attend the Berlin Conference, to speak at partner organisations' events, and to launch the Christianity in the Workplace guide.
Finally, it has been a particular privilege to work alongside the LCF staff team. Everyone should have a team that point them to Jesus and ply them with cake in equal measure. Two special mentions though. Thank you, Mark Jones, for guiding me with compassion and humour as I learnt on the job; and thank you, Mark Bainbridge, for creating my dream job and then allowing me the freedom to develop it.
So, what's next? Well, away from work, things have been equally 'haphazard'. In August 2019, Kevin and I relocated to Newcastle, where we knew no-one, to join a church plant. Eight months later, despite thinking we were unable to conceive, we found out we were expecting a baby. And in December 2020, amidst the chaos of a global pandemic, and hundreds (and thousands!) of miles away from both our families, our baby boy, James, arrived safely. And it is at home, with James, that I hope to spend the next few years. I expect parenthood will seem equally as haphazard(!), but will equally encapsulate prayer, provision, and privilege.
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