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5 minutes with ...

- Tell us a little about you

I live on the North Shore of Sydney.

I've been married to John for 23 years. It seems to be going quite well so far. We have five children. Apart from the 21-year old, they are all teenagers. Mostly boys. Our food bills are enormous. It's by God's grace that they like Weetbix!

I never learnt grammar. Teaching it was out of fashion in the 70s when I was at primary school, and out of fashion again in the nineties when I was at teacher's college. So, spot my mistakes!

I love to read. My mum reminded me the other day that one Christmas when I was a kid the only presents anyone gave me were books: 37 of them. Enid Blyton featured highly.

I've been studying theology for a very long time, I'm pretty sure more than the allocated nine years for a part time BTh. That's because I'm always trying to fit it in around other things. For the last ten years I've been working as a Ministry Worker (Assistant Minister) in a little Anglican church plant. My role included direction setting, preaching, teaching, pastoring, praying, writing all manner of stuff, leading the music team, leading bible study groups, leading services contemporary and traditional, leading the church when we were without a minister for eight months, drinking coffee, door knocking, being creative, being part of lots of teams, running courses, pioneering stuff, making videos, photocopying, cleaning toilets, and that sort of thing. It was a hard, energising, fun, stretching and totally amazing job. I absolutely loved it.

Now I'm having a rest!

One of the best bits of that job was that I got to be part of an initiative for our church to partner with a remote indigenous community. Somehow it became my baby. I went on fifteen trips to the Northern Territory with small teams from the church and the church now has an agreed-on partnership with a little Aboriginal church near Arnhem Land. The goals of our church in the partnership are to support the local church in such a way that they are more empowered to be light and salt in their community; for us to learn from them and grow in our own relationships with Christ and as a church; to be true partners in a relationship of equality that might in some small way contribute to reversing the established paradigms of paternalism and white supremacy; to obey Christ's call to care for the marginalised in our society; to do all this through much prayer and by building relationships- not by doing stuff that just ticks boxes.

Easier said than done!

It was a real wrench to hand over this ministry when I left my job but the cool thing for me now is that I have friends in the community- brothers and sisters in Christ, and know I am welcome in their country whenever I want to visit: no small thing... praise God for their patience and generosity.

- What's your favourite bible passage & why?

Hmmn... that's hard- there are so many!

My long term favourite is 1 Peter 2:9:

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light."

Wow! And then verse 10:

"Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."

I love this because it states so definitely and so extravagantly the identity that we have received through Christ- what we were and what we've become- not in isolation but as a community. And it proclaims our whole purpose- to respond to God's lavish love for us in worship. I come back to these verses all the time.

A more recent favourite is Psalm 27:13-14:

"I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

For years I have had a theology that says Christians suffer and it's only once we're in heaven with God that we'll experience the fullness of his goodness. This is true, of course, but David's prayer here inspires me to expect to see God's work for good in my life here on earth- in this life and on into eternity. I find this enormously exciting and comforting.

- How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus?

With lots of stops, starts and stumbles. The first thing I do every morning is make a coffee and read my bible. That's my favourite part of the day, and it helps keep me on track. I would never ask for them, but the hard times of my life have been the richest times in my relationship with Jesus.

- What would you like the next generation of Christian women to know?

That the Bible is for everyone, not just for people with a theological degree. That every Christian has the Holy Spirit, and therefore is well resourced and empowered to minister in all sorts of ways, using their God-given gifts: no exceptions! That Christian community is important, no- vital.

- What's one thing that you love about your local church?

I love its potential. I agree with what Bill Hybels says about the local church- "The local church is the hope of the world". I believe that God's plan for the redemption of humankind is to work through his people-the church- to draw them to Christ. And (this is not an original thought!) when I look at the church, local and universal; I am perplexed, vexed, dismayed and confronted! But when it works, it's SO good.

- What did you learn about God at a time in your life you found hard?

That God will let me sink lower than I would ever willingly go. And that in those depths he shows that he's real and that he's good, that his favour is not based on my piety: he just loves me, flawlessly. That he listens to and answers prayer even when the prayer is no more than, "Help me, God."

- What are you passionate about?

Everything! (It must be so annoying for my poor family and friends). I care a lot about being authentic. Being light in darkness. Being part of a community that is so jaw-droppingly different (in a good way) that people ask why. Being Christ followers and Christ reflectors. Having relationships that are real and deep and honest and that sometimes hurt. Taking risks. Actually doing what Jesus tells us to do and not just learning about it... Amen sister! (that was to myself)

And, BTW, it frustrates me about myself that I don't live up to those things: I want to- passionately!

- What do you enjoy doing when you rest?

Anything that's not nothing! My greatest enemy is boredom. I need to learn to be OK with being still. I like gardening, reading, patchwork, baking, eating aforementioned baking, hanging with my family and our best friends, going to places I've never been before, teaching whichever kid who's the right age to drive, swimming, boxing, canoeing, walking the dog, running, going to the beach, dining out, redecorating my house, surfing (badly), playing piano (badly), singing (well), finding kindred spirits, watching movies (but only short ones)... you see? I need help!

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