Sphere of work
I run my own consultancy – valoro.co.uk
Why did you become an SSM/MSE/WP?
It took a very long time for me to hear the call, largely because I had it fixed in my mind that ordination meant being a parish priest. It was only when I realised that I could be an MSE that it began to make sense. Even then I had many doubts along the way, right up to and beyond ordination. It was only when I celebrated the Eucharist for the first time that it all made sense and it’s gone on doing so ever since.
What's best about what you do?
Challenging people to see the church as an institution that exists to resource its members for living out the gospel in their daily lives rather than something that exists in and for itself. It’s marvellous when the penny drops and lay people come to see they’ve got an important role in this and it’s not all down to the clergy. The energy and enthusiasm that is unleashed when this happens is a joy to behold.
What's the most challenging?
Keeping my motivation up in the face of a church hierarchy that seems obsessed with itself and the internal workings of the church.
If the church asked, what would you say are the three most important things you have learnt from your work-focused ministry?
If the church asked, what would you say are the three most important lessons for it which have emerged from your work-focused ministry?
See my answer to the previous question
Why do you think the SSM/MSE/WP development within the CofE has, to date, been so lack lustre?
I see no evidence that anything other than a handful of bishops “get” what we do and understand its importance. The same could be said for a good many stipendiary clergy that I come across.
What is it that SSM/MSE/WPs can contribute to the mission of the church today?
An understanding and appreciation of the lives of those for whom the church seems an irrelevance; the challenge to look outward and relate the gospel to days of the week other than Sunday.
What do you think SSM/MSE/WPs need to receive from the church in order to be effective in their unique ministry?
A true understanding of its value and a commitment to encouraging those considering ordination to see this as a valid way of expressing vocation. Effective training to support those who plan to be MSEs would be a big and very necessary start.
Would you do it all again?
Yes, without a doubt.
Faith and the workplace
A talk given by Mark Wakefield (MSE, London Diocese) to the Leicestershire Far and Near Club