I am standing for the Church of England General Synod, as a member of the laity, in the Diocese of Winchester. You can find out information about the other Laity and Clergy candidates in the Diocese of Winchester here. Find out more about the General Synod here.
The Diocese of Winchester has a tradition of sending to General Synod experienced men and women, with many years of service to the Diocese and considerable understanding of a range of issues. I hope to complement that experience and understanding with my own fresh perspective, and links to young people across the Diocese. Currently I am a lay member of the Lyndhurst Deanery Synod, the Diocesan Synod, and one of the five lay members of the Bishop’s Council.
I believe strongly in a representative group of both lay and ordained sharing in the governance of the church. I am passionate about collaborative ministry and have experienced, and can worship God through, the rich diversity of churchmanship across our diocese.
My Faith Background
Having been brought up in a Christian family I have always been involved in, and enthusiastic about, church. I became aware of the need to make a response to Christ as a teenager at the Sheffield Alliance Music Festival in 1997 where someone spoke on the need to not be an armchair Christian. This sparked something in me, I realised that Christianity is about being an active disciple of Jesus, not just knowing Bible stories. Support and follow up from my youth leaders led me to make a commitment to Jesus, and to be Confirmed in 1998.
I greatly enjoyed my studies in 2001-2004 at Exeter University in the Theology Department. I felt that this was positive and challenging and that it deepened my understanding of the Bible and the Christian faith. Theology gave me the skills to both ask questions about faith, but also to answer other people’s questions.
Children’s & Youth Work
Over the last 11 years since leaving university I have worked as a Children’s & Youth Worker for three different churches. Currently I co-ordinate a team of over 60 volunteers who run the programmes and activities for nearly 250 children and young people aged 0-18 for St. Andrew’s Church in Dibden Purlieu. I am passionate about encouraging children and young people to engage with their faith in a holistic way.
I am involved both in the church and the local community. I was a Local Authority Governor and Vice-Chair for a Federation of Schools (2012-2015), I chair the Partnership Board for the local Children’s Centre. I also sit on the New Forest Local Children’s Trust Board developing strong links with statutory bodies.
I was privileged to attend Cape Town 2010 – The Third Lausanne Congress as one of 4,000 delegates, where I led a small group of six people from four continents, and was the Lead Blogger for the Congress. In the summer of 2016 I will be attending the Younger Leaders Gathering in Jakarta.
Key Issues for General Synod
A Missing Generation: I am eager for children and young people to have life changing encounters with Jesus. I am passionate about people discovering that they are loved by God and the holistic hope that can bring them. I want people to realise that faith has an impact now and not just in eternity. We are missing a generation in our churches and so we must keep mission and evangelism as the highest priority for the Church, facilitating the new and ancient ways of sharing the hope and the life transformation that the gospel brings.
Safeguarding: We can barely comprehend the terrible damage that has been inflicted on those vulnerable children and adults for whom the Church should have been a place of safety and hope. In my role working with some of the most broken youngsters in our local community I understand how crucial it is that nationally, and locally, we continue the great strides in improving our safeguarding practices, training, and policies so that the church truly can be a place of safety and hope for the most vulnerable in our communities.
Poverty & Welfare: Through my work I am sadly all too aware of the need of an increasing proportion of our communities for basic necessities. It is essential that everyone works together to highlight these issues and that the Church focuses its resources towards the communities most at need.
Lay Leadership: I long to see the Church committed to making disciples and releasing its members to serve Jesus in the church and in the world. To enable this I want to see clergy and local lay leaders supported and developed so that every congregation is encouraged in maturity and growth. The Archbishops’ programme for Reform and Renewal will be critical for this, and I will support initiatives that free up the laity to live out their Christian potential.
With all issues that will be discussed at General Synod, I will prayerfully consider each on merit. Listening carefully to all sides of the argument, both locally and nationally, whilst at the same time seeking to be obedient to what I understand the Bible to be saying and the Holy Spirit to be prompting.
Your vote is important in this election. I ask for your first preference vote and should I be elected, your prayer in the months ahead.
Do please contact me if you have any questions or would like to discuss any issue.