Introducing the New Church Administrator
Chris has asked me to give a brief pen picture of myself before I start working at Holy Trinity on 25th June 2018.
Many of you will know my enthusiasm to evangelize and my contribution around children’s work both at Holy Trinity and as a Higher Level Teaching Assistant in primary schools – most recently at Knaresborough St Johns – but there is a bit more to my story!
I can’t contribute to the Yorkshire / Lancashire divide – being a soft southerner from Portsmouth, but you do need a bit of steel in you if you follow the trials of Pompey – which I do from a distance now. My career has been diverse, to say the least. On leaving school I served a three-year apprenticeship as a carpenter and joiner and continued to work as a tradesman and then as a chargehand and finally a building technician. I continued my studies at Building College and after 10 years of study obtained a place to study for a degree in Building Surveying.
During my post degree training to become a Chartered Surveyor I spent a short time in Cyprus attached to the British Forces – which is where I first met Allison. On my return to the UK I had my first taste of living in Yorkshire, working as the Estates Director for a Further Education College in Leeds and then moving on to the University of Durham where I became the Director of Estates.
Allison was successful in obtaining a position back in Cyprus, so we returned in 2001 – supposedly for a three-year appointment. We landed back in the UK fourteen years later! This was an eventful time for us as a family, Lilian arrived safely, and this prompted myself and Allison to follow Jesus again. Prompted is a gentle word and probably not the most apt way of describing how Jesus grabbed hold of and led me, and then Allison, back to Him. For a short time, I had an amazing opportunity to help the United Nations (UN), run a programme of construction and engineering projects designed to benefit the people of Cyprus but more importantly to bring reconciliation between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots.
I gave up my role at the UN to look after Lilian when Allison returned to work as the teacher in charge of the Foundation Stage at Akrotiri Primary School. This is where I developed skills I didn’t know I had!! I became involved with various groups: Little Teddies, Story Time Monkeys, and Mother and Toddlers – which was quickly re-named Parent and Toddlers! I was also tasked with re-establishing the children’s church at the Anglican church on RAF Akrotiri. I soon became involved with Akrotiri School and it wasn’t soon before I was employed as a Teaching Assistant. I had two nicknames in Akrotiri. At the Foundation Stage Building I became known as John the Jobman (aka Bob the Builder) because Allison often had me fixing and building things. In the rest of the school I was known as John the Baptist because of my enthusiasm to tell people about Jesus!
Whilst living in Cyprus we came across the Scripture Union Beach Mission in Southwold in Suffolk, where we holidayed most years. It wasn’t soon before I was putting my name forward to help – thinking I’d like to work with the teenagers on this annual two-week mission. However, God had different ideas and I was put to work in the kitchen – which is basically a tent on the middle of Southwold Common. I do now work with the teens, although each year I lead the kitchen team on one of the weeks cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner for up to 90 volunteers!
Other interests include: a belated enjoyment of amateur dramatics initiated by being asked to play the role of pantomime dame by North Stainley Arts Society two years ago, and the need to get out on my bike. And so, I arrive here as Administration and Facilities Assistant via working as a TA in local Primary Schools. I hope you will see my serving heart in the work I do for you, the congregation, Chris and the rest of our leadership and of course the wider community of Ripon hoping to show how Jesus is King. Please, I would appreciate your prayers asking God to protect and guide me in serving you all.