Emma, a 2014 Tempo participant, now works as the School Chaplain to Wilson’s Hospital Boarding School and Diocesan Youth and Children’s Officer in the Church of Ireland Dioceses of Meath and Kildare.
What are you doing and why are you doing it?
Emma: I’m currently working in dual roles as School Chaplain to Wilson’s Hospital Boarding School and Diocesan Youth and Children’s Officer in the Church of Ireland Dioceses of Meath and Kildare. At the time of Tempo I was a secondary school teacher and I’ve moved into these roles for a couple of reasons. I became more convinced that I wanted to be involved in youth and school’s work, but in a more unconventional role than teaching. I felt very restricted by the Irish examination system and since I can’t single-handedly bring it down, my new role allows me to a bit more creative in how I come alongside pupils as they navigate these difficult years. Another reason I went for this job was that I was curious to see how I would get on working in a more explicitly “Christian” job where I could be a bit more straightforward in conversations about faith and letting people know they are loved. The main reason was that, in spite of myself, I knew I was being called into the roles as I came from a rural Church of Ireland and Boarding School background and I knew I would be able to “speak the language” and hopefully be of some use in building the Kingdom in that context.
What impact has Tempo had on your work and/or life?
Emma: Tempo provided inspiration and direction at a time when I was really in doubt about what I was doing with my life professionally. The single most important question I have ever been asked professionally was at the centre of the Tempo experience: how would your context look different if the Kingdom of God came? That reflective question was the catalyst for so much of the activity I began in my last year as a teacher in a secondary school. At the time I was heartbroken when, during the Tempo course, it became clear my time at the school was coming to an end (career break cover that had always been uncertain). Looking back now I see that a great future was around the corner and that in the meantime I lived so much more confidently, meaningfully and faithfully because of the dreams and plans that the Tempo course caused me to put into action in work. Even though some of the projects never had a chance to develop into what I had dreamed, the experience I gained by starting them, and the relationships that I built because of those “start ups” were so invaluable – both personally and professionally in my new roles. I know I would have stayed in the comfortable rut that year if I hadn’t had the input from the course and the encouragement and accountability of the other participants on Tempo. Tempo also linked me in with the work of Innovista in general and I really benefitted from their Leading for Life event as a kind of top up of inspiration after Tempo had been done for a while.
What have you put into practice from the Tempo content? What has stuck with you since the training?
Emma: Listening to your context was an important principle that has been useful in the move to a new part of Ireland and a new job. I’ve been navigating the difficult terrain of trying to pitch in to “the way we do things round here” and at the same time, injecting some energy and new perspectives, so the listening piece has been great to help me do that more sensitively. I do struggle with throwing myself into different opportunities as they arise, but I constantly have the Tempo lessons about vision and strategy floating around the back of my mind. That knowledge has been making me really determined to set aside some time to think about the bigger picture and think more long-term.
How can we and others be praying for you?
Emma: In terms of prayer my biggest problem is definitely that the jobs can be all-consuming, because they require so much creativity and energy. This coupled with the fact that I can become a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to a project I care about, is a bit of a recipe for fatigue and losing your sense of purpose. I am always happy to be prayed for about discipline, forming healthy routines, taking space to spend time with God and remember what it’s all about!