My name is Pauline
Where do you work?
Ipswich borough council
How long have you been there?
Far too long… over 20 years!
When you first started was there a Christian Fellowship group there?
I wasn’t a Christian when I first started there but now I lead the group.
Oh right, so when you became a Christian and discovered the Christian fellowship group what difference did it make to your workplace or work?
I just found it really helpful to know there were other Christians around to be able to talk about workplace issues in the workplace with the Christians and it helped me take my faith to work.
If the group closed tomorrow what difference would it make?
That is a tricky one. I think after a while I would really just missed that ‘taking God into work’ and having that time and that space to bring God into work - it’s just really special.
What have you recently been doing in your workplace group?
We’ve recently been running a Lent series of meditations based on the hands of Jesus.
What has been quite special recently?
It was lovely just sharing quiet and having times of silence in those sessions and in the last session we broke bread together. It’s about recognising Jesus in the breaking of bread and it was just lovely to do that.
Has your group grown or diminished over the years?
I think it’s probably stayed relatively stable over the years not a bad achievement really. We’ve had people leave and new people come on board, which has been great.
Are all the people that come to your group from the Anglican church?
No I think I might be the only Anglican. They tend to be from more of the ‘free’ churches – but fairly broad!
So how do you keep everyone happy?
I don’t know if I do that? I send around e-mails and send round info from Christians at Work and the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity and I send round reminders of stuff we’ve got going on… what’s happening at the offices over the road with the County Council and their Chrsitian group and also there’s a workplace group more in the town centre based at one of the Churches that we link into as well.
Does your employer know about the group?
Yes, oh yes… we run our carol services, we’ve moved offices so we can’t hold them in the local church where we used, so we’ve held them actually in the council offices the last couple of years. I put stuff out on the bulleting board and use the e-mail system and no one has said anything about it. I always get permission to have the carol service so that’s been fine.
Are there other diversity support groups in your council?
Not in our building and it hasn’t been an issue.
How can TWUK help your group?
Would be interesting to see what other people are doing around worship in the workplace. It’s a whole area that I’ve been trying to think through a little bit and the Lent meditations was an element of that but actually bringing worship in small groups into the workplace where you can’t make a lot of noise – that would be interesting.
Can I just clarify what you mean by ‘worship’ - praise or singing?
Yes praise, prayer some form of liturgy - so it’s not just about speakers coming in. we do have times of chat and prayer but how do we make it much more of a worshipful experience!
Anything else you’d like to say?
I have been exploring the possibility of ordained ministry focusing on workplace to look at bringing the sacred into the secular and how to break down the secular / sacred barriers. Taking the scared into the workplace. It’s still a journey to be explored.