I was born and raised in Cornwall, and though I left it aged eighteen, I still love the wild beauty of that stunning county. I emigrated to England to train as a secondary school teacher and worked in two inner London comprehensive schools teaching R.E., English and Drama. There are many stories from those years, both funny and sad, and I loved it. I also learnt unexpected skills such as training for football refereeing for under 11’s, to give me a point of contact with the lively boys in my form class at Camberwell! This qualification led to a conversation about the offside rule one day in a pub with the then goalkeeper of a local team, now my husband of nearly forty years!
Although not raised a Christian, I came to faith aged sixteen, much to everyone’s surprise including mine, and so after teaching I worked in various ways for Streatham Baptist Church, initially in their bookshop on Streatham High Road, Manna Christian Centre, which has survived the demise of many an independent high street shop and is still there. Reading new books coming out was part of the job description, which was a huge perk! Together with others I set up and ran the coffee shop outreach and Manna Counselling Service which were part of the work there for many years, the latter winning a Whitbread volunteering award.
In time I moved on to become a pastoral worker and trainer at the church, and then trained for ministry, first being an associate minister still at Streatham Baptist Church and then a co-minister at Carshalton Beeches Baptist Church, where I am still. I love ministry with its joys and challenges and the privilege of walking with people at different stages of their lives never ceases to amaze me. God has a sense of humour though, as I am a shy introvert, albeit people are always surprised when I tell them that. Speaking to people in a meeting is easier for me than meeting people at a party, so I’m usually found washing up!
All that of course, is what I have done, and that is never the measure of a person. So what is important to me? My faith, first of all. I am at times quiet questioner, but it has been the thread running through my life from those early years and I love to share it in different ways. My family next: my husband, grown up children and their spouses, and my grandchildren who are a delight. I love the bones of all my family more than I can say and I’m immensely privileged to have them. My friends matter too, both “old” and more recent. A talk with someone who knows and accepts you over a coffee is one of life’s great joys. I love nature in all its forms, from the gentle peace of a garden to the wild exhilaration of a stormy sea.
And I love stories, which is how the book, without which I would never have dreamed of a website, came about!
What matters to you, I wonder? Let me know!