A new member of the Joint Public Issues Team introduces herself.
I’m Hannah, JPIT’s new full-time intern. I recently graduated from the University of Nottingham, where I studied English Language and Literature. I have spent the last three years surrounded by books and getting stuck into student life with the Christian Union. Since September, these have been swapped for a daunting but exciting new adventure, living and working in central London for the first time.
Having grown up in a lively Methodist Church, I was lucky to inherit a faith where social justice was placed firmly at the centre. Equality and inclusion were offered directly from the hands of the Jesus who stood confidently in the margins, despite having power and privilege on his side.
Impressions of this are firmly embedded into my early memories. I recall accompanying Church family to protests and demonstrations, on door to door fundraising endeavours and to deliver food bank collections. Most significantly, my awareness of social injustice began to take shape as I met people whose lives looked significantly different to mine.
Quickly, I was faced with a society where our response to the displacement of our neighbours was fear, and our action towards increasing financial disparity was to gather more for ourselves. Not only could I see this in society around me, but also in my own responses to injustice. I began to ask where the responsibility of the Church lay in challenging a system which fails to advocate equality. Working with local churches in Nottingham and York on community engagement, I have begun to explore what it looks like spiritually and practically to offer radical welcome in increasingly divided communities.
However, this journey has certainly been a mixed one. I do not admit to finding it easy to hold this focus at the heart of my daily faith. In fact, I have become increasingly anxious of my own internal bias, as I close my eyes to issues I find hard to see. I repeatedly fail to act when I notice, or speak when I hear silence.
I don’t believe I am alone in this response, or in my desire to change it. Consequently, this year as JPIT intern is as much an opportunity to be challenged myself, alongside learning how we can enable and empower the Church to step forward in acts of hope, inclusivity and change.
During my time here, I am particularly interested in exploring social issues raised at home in the UK. I am keen to understand how inequality is built into both our governing systems and our social mind-set, and how we can respond by standing firmly in the margins, amplifying the voice of those silenced instead of our own.
I look forward to being challenged by my time with JPIT, and to learning from the widespread experience of the team and the churches we work with. With much more still to learn, and plenty to change, it looks like an exciting year ahead.