5 minutes with Hannah
Tell us a little about you
I’m Melbourne born and bred. I spent about 13 years at university studying philosophy, politics and theology, in between working and having kids. I now work as an Anglican minister in a church in North Carlton - on the fringe of Melbourne city. We are working hard at connecting with our neighbourhood and getting our minds thinking and our bodies working at what church looks like OUTSIDE of our buildings.
I’m married to Tom. We’ve been married for ten years and have two children: Liam (6yo), and Amber (3yo). One of the great mysteries of life is how two quiet people like ourselves got two such talkative children!
I am a passionate feminist and resister of patriarchy.
When I get home at the end of a day my first priority is to put on my trackies and slippers.
What's your favourite bible passage & why?
A verse that really sticks in my mind and comes up again and again is Psalm 37:4 -
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
When I was in high-school my youth leader wrote this verse out on a little piece of paper, framed it and gave it to us. It stood on my bedside table for years. And one day I really got it. So many of our desires are just insatiable - they can never be filled. You get what you think you want, and, well, you just want more. Or something else. But turn your desire to God. And you will be filled.
I often find need to repeat these words to myself!
How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus?
I definitely need other people for that. I need their example, their encouragement, their teaching, their prayer. I also find music really helpful. Often it makes me cry - but I consider that a form of prayer!
What would you like the next generation of Christian women to know?
In recent years I’ve been really encouraged by Jesus’ words in this exchange in Luke 11:
27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”
28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
As women, we can so easily be defined in relation to other things or people. To our husbands, our children (or lack thereof…), whether or not our appearance, our bodies are pleasing enough to others…. There’s all kinds of voices coming from everywhere telling us who and how women should be/look/feel/do. It’s easy for the performance of the roles that we fill to overshadow or overtake us.
But here, Jesus refuses to define even his own mother in relation to her mothering. That means that even if you gave birth to the Messiah, that’s not the only important thing you’ll do in life! It doesn’t overshadow your own relationship with God, and the need for you to respond to and obey him - on your own two feet.
Jesus draws us back to our identity in him, and in so doing enables us to grow and enlarge ourselves - ourselves! - outside the bounds of daughter/wife/mother/sex object etc.
What's one thing that you love about your local church?
I love the faithful service of its members.
What did you learn about God at a time in your life you found hard?
One of the hardest times in life for me was after the birth of our daughter. Breastfeeding was very very difficult for an extended period and she didn’t really sleep for about 18 months. I would sit up with her at night, and sleep on the floor next to her cot… all the things so many of us have done.
But many times I felt truly helpless. I felt like I had given her everything - given her all I had - and yet, it wasn’t enough. I truly felt like I had emptied myself, poured myself out, for her. But I was powerless.
One night, in the dark, and totally empty, I felt that God showed me a little of his heart for us. God who emptied himself. God who gave himself up. Poured himself out.
God, who was broken for us.
What are you passionate about?
Equality, opportunity, and flourishing for women.
Honesty in our conversations about faith.
Grace in all things.
What do you enjoy doing when you rest?
Mostly I like reading. Apart from Jesus, I think my book club may be my favourite thing in life!