It is a privilege to join the Joint Public Issues Team as interim Methodist Team Leader and Deputy JPIT Team Leader. I am a Methodist Presbyter who has served city-centre, inner city & suburban congregations in Manchester and London. I have also worked for Christian Aid as Senior Regional Coordinator in the North West.
I experienced my call to discipleship and ministry with one foot in the church and one foot on a march! As I attended church, I experienced God’s grace offered to me personally; joining a protest, I witnessed God’s grace offered to the world. Central to my understanding of Christian faith, and I believe the Methodist heritage in which I stand, is the expectation that the transforming love of God is not limited to change within individuals but within communities too.
For me, the mission of the church – locally, nationally and internationally – can be a vehicle for this transformation. During my ministry, I have been actively involved in churches and projects which, among other issues, have sought to tackle food poverty and climate change, which have engaged with youth issues and homelessness, and which have worked with community organisations and politicians. This kind of work, which we see in so many of our churches, is a fantastic example of loving our neighbour, and therefore sharing God’s grace, and responding to local and individual need.
Throughout my ministry, I have experienced marvellous projects and the sacrificial giving of resources and time by individual Christians and congregations. On occasions, I have also witnessed in the same churches a reluctance to engage with politicians and politics! Ask a church to support an appeal and you see the donations roll in, yet when you invite the same people to write to their MP about the issue there can often be hesitancy. It is exciting, therefore, to be part of JPIT, recognising that political engagement is part of discipleship and that the prophetic Christian voice needs to raised to attempt to influence policy. It remains a challenge though, as to how, as a team working across several churches, we can develop and encourage the vision of political engagement as a key part of discipleship and the furthering of God’s Kin-dom.
I am looking forward to my time working with a dedicated and knowledgeable team who are committed to influencing public policy and therefore to sharing the unconditional love of God with all. In addition, I am excited at the opportunity to work with churches in their local communities, as together we continue to live out Our Calling to serve.