As I take on a new role in both Oxford Community Church and across the Oxfordshire Community Churches charity the leadership team thought it might be a good time for me to tell you more about myself.
My name is Lyn and I continue to be married to Stuart after nearly 30 years. We arrived at OCC in November 2003 having moved here for my job at Oxford University as an IT administrator. If you know me, you will have heard a number of stories how I came to Oxford, and my seemingly disastrous interview (when asked what I would do in a technical emergency, I said I would make a cup of tea!) And whilst everyone was initially stunned, despite that and knowing that I needed an operation 3 months after starting, I got the job. Before I started, and for quite a while after, I felt I wouldn’t and didn’t fit in within the Oxford context - amongst a team full of PhDs and bright, well-educated people (my phrase was stuffed shirts, though I came to realise that my assessment of both them and myself was wrong). I could say much more both about my spiritual and career journey during my working life at the University. I am so grateful for the process of God getting us to Oxford and feeling called to do so, despite my reservations and fear that I would be simply a fish out of water. I am glad to report I learned to swim, and perhaps to change the pond a little too!
One of the things that we often ask guests as they come to our house is about how they came to follow Jesus closely. Throughout my life, there have been times, even as a child, of being aware of God, and I am thankful to God for his faithful endless persistence to get my attention. The beginning part of my story is about coming from a rather dysfunctional family, which shaped my life and beliefs. I was trying to fill a God gap in really harmful ways, including spiritually. So, I have a very interesting story to tell which is much longer than a blog post. I also realise that the older you get the longer the story gets, and the more I see God’s battle for me and his restoration, transformation, and redemption over time.
The short version? I became a Christian whilst I was studying at Portsmouth Polytechnic. It was a chaotic time; as was my life at that point. Mine was a dramatic conversion, which involved standing up in a large lecture hall and wondering why if all these Christians were so keen on God, why they were not standing too! I remember being angry with them, accusing them of hypocrisy, then from the middle of the row and at the back of the room, finding myself face down at the front of the stage. I do not know how I got there. That was for starters… the next steps and stages were equally eventful but that is for another day, maybe over a cup of tea or several! In short, God has taken all I was and made me as I am now, a work in progress.
So, what will I be doing? For Oxford church, I will be leading the Pastoral Team and looking at ways of encouraging more people to offer to be personal pastors, and offer more effective pastoral care, from how we welcome people for the first time through, to and beyond into membership and service in the church. Sound a bit grand? It isn’t. The pastoral team is just one of the Focus teams, each of which is needed to see any and all of our hopes happen jointly.
I am also employed by the overall Oxfordshire Community Churches Charity to bring about the changes needed to achieve good governance, good practice and good culture so that the various churches, schools, and other ministries can flourish across the charity.
And what am I doing? I am still learning that I am a human being, not a human doing and that I most please God when I am simply being the fullest version of who He created me to be, and that is my whole life’s purpose. Anything and everything that comes out of that is a bonus and hopefully a blessing. Though I also have to say I do love a good action plan and task list! But, as one of my activist friends said “prayer is also an action” … So that would be me in a nutshell. I trust I will get to know more of you better and vice versa over time, and looking forward to doing so. If you are interested in travel stories, you can always start by asking about the photo - I would be surprised if you could guess the country in which we were traveling…