When did life become even more hectic than usual? There are changes afoot and God is on the move. The Rothbury vision is closer than we thought and our house is up for sale. But that is a whole different blog post.
My pioneer study is taking a lot of time – in a good way – and I am learning so much. But between those two tensions there seems no time to blog.
This is the transcript I wrote for an article for CMS (Church Mission Society).
I was born into a non-Christian family which was very dysfunctional. I became a Christian in my late teens, and for the first time, knew that I was loved.
I actually mattered enough for someone to not only notice my existence but to die for me. God cared for every part of my life and his heart broke for the rejection I carried deep inside me
When I fell in love with Jesus, I pledged to let my heart break for what broke his.
As I matured over the years in my Christian journey, that promise has matured also. I have always been an activist for the marginalised and longed to act as God wanted me to respond.
I grew up without the experience of proper family love and was determined that my own children would always know how much they were loved and wanted. This led me to set up a Christian youth homelessness charity in the early 2000s.
Since then, I have worked for Frontier Youth Trust on a project for young adult offenders and also managed a foodbank which was founded to respond to the needs caused by the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent austerity measures.
I guess that seeing the world through God’s lens is part of my DNA. I love being part of a church family but am constantly aware of those who feel they don’t belong inside a church.
My vicar searched for four years to find something that would ‘scratch the itch’ of my thirst for deepening my theological understanding, while promoting the call to activism that God placed on my heart.
I went to a Church Mission Society/Chelmsford Diocese pioneer ministry conversations and taster day, and found the way I am wired has a name: Pioneer!
Becoming a student at the St Cedd Centre for Pioneer Mission has enabled me to grow in theological understanding while continuing to practise in the mission field of my local community. More than anything, it has helped me to understand that God is already at work there and I am blessed to be able to join in with what he is doing.
Pioneering is often a lonely journey, so meeting regularly with likeminded people is a huge encouragement.
The Turquoise Table
The St Cedd’s course coincided with my latest venture. I live on a relatively deprived housing estate and we have placed a picnic table in our open plan front garden which we have painted bright turquoise. It has a sign on it, which says: “The Turquoise Table. You are welcome here. A community gathering place.”
It is around the Turquoise Table, that we do ‘church’ in a variety of different ways. There are large community events such as Halloween, Christmas carol service, summer street party and storytime week for the children. But it is also a place for peace and gentleness, where one-to-one conversations take place over a cup of coffee and a piece of cake. It is where the Turquoise Table team meet to pray for our community and to fellowship. It is where those who would not go to church get the opportunity to meet with the Jesus who sat at the Samaritan well and met the needs of a marginalised woman who in turn introduced her community to Jesus.
The Turquoise Table is the meeting hub for the whole community. It is a place of reconciliation where two feuding neighbours came together to sing Christmas carols along with 40+ others and where I can look out of my window and see a bunch of children spending an afternoon doing craft activities organised by their mothers. The community taking ownership.