Author Archives: annebaenziger

Where are they now? – Andy

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Andy, a 2012 Tempo participant, now teaches in a primary school in Northern Ireland.

What are you doing and why are you doing it? 

Andy: I am currently teaching in a primary school as a key stage 2 learning support teacher for a class of eight children with moderate learning difficulties. I have always been passionate about working with children and young people on the fringes and this job gives me the opportunity to do that daily. It is incredibly challenging at times, but the rewards outweigh the struggle!

What impact has Tempo had on your work and/or life? What have you put into practice from the Tempo content? What has stuck with you since the training?

Andy: Tempo gave me the opportunity to develop my leadership abilities and organisation skills. As a teacher, I now am responsible for casting a vision in my planning and preparation for the year. I also need to delegate constantly, working with and managing additional classroom and learning support. These were all skills I learnt over the course of the Tempo programme.

How can we and others be praying for you?

Andy: Pray for me as I seek to continually learn from others on my journey as a teacher. There is so much still to learn and I make mistakes daily, yet, with reflection and planning I know I can stretch and challenge myself to be the best leader and role model for the children in my classroom.

Where Are They Now? – Emma

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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!

Tempo: Where Are They Now?

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Over the past 5 years more than 42 leaders have participated in Tempo in Ireland, with an impact that is truly global. From Cork to South Africa and the Caribbean they are leading in a wide variety of jobs, roles and ministries.

Over the next few months, we will highlight some of those who have completed Tempo (such as Joel, Laveda and Emma who are quoted below) and how they have taken what they have learnt and experienced to where they are now. So keep your eyes peeled.

“Tempo helped me answer some of the big questions. What is mission? How do we do it? What is my context?” Joel, Dublin

“I’m leading a team of nine people and if it wasn’t for the lessons I learned at Tempo I would be completely clueless. Tempo gave me practical tools to handle conflict, and to assess, challenge and encourage my team” Laveda, Cayman Islands

“The single most important question I have ever been asked professionally was at the centre of the Tempo experience: how would you context look different if the Kingdom of God was fully present” Emma, Mullingar

Tempo equips churches and leaders with the practical skills for effective local mission in their community. If you have a dream to see change happen in your community, a mission idea that you aren’t quite sure how to get going, then Tempo is for you. You will take part in Tempo alongside what you are doing, implementing your learning in between workshops, getting feedback, support and encouragement from Innovista trainers and your fellow Tempo participants.

To find out more – contact us.

The seven,  day-long workshops cover topics like teams on mission, what mission looks like in your context, getting clear on your purpose and vision, identifying and overcoming your biggest challenge, and more.

We currently have Tempo groups running in Dublin and Belfast.

Remembering RISE

As we (Ashleigh and Anne) walk in to Mount Carmel Secondary School not far from O’Connell Street in Dublin, we are feel at home. The teachers passing by say hello, we chat about our summers and wave to the principal as we sit in the staff room. We’re grateful and excited to be back in the school for another year of our RISE Programme.

As we head from one Transition Year class to the next, we meet Chloe and Sarah in the hallway. They both took part in both our Leadership and Mentoring Programmes last year and their faces light up when they see us. In a brief conversation they are quick to update us on the goals they made in last year’s mentoring sessions. Chloe has joined a local basketball team and Sarah has started writing a novel, a goal she has been working towards for a long time. It is amazing to see the two of them so excited about getting more involved in their communities whether through sport or extra academics.

We let them get on to class and then also run into Hannah who was one of our first mentees when we piloted the programme two years ago. She is now a sixth year and settling into her final year of school well.

It’s these conversations, smiles, and enthusiasm that make us see what a difference both the Leadership and Mentoring Programmes makes in the lives of Dublin teenagers. It’s these interactions that keep us going with our RISE programmes and why we can’t wait to share with you more stories of change when we finish this current programme before Christmas

Looking back on Leading for Life One Day

“easily the most equipping thing I’ve done this year. Amazing content.. ..can’t wait for more”

“the first session stimulated a conversation between myself and a co-worker that proved challenging but oh so helpful”

“I have a new ministry idea. I will investigate it now!”

“I feel refreshed and have been reminded that better leadership is possible”

“I’d like to have a conversation with church team and leadership people about how we can strive to make the team that I’m a member of the best that we  can be to follow God’s mission for us/the church/community”

A selection of the feedback from the 30 leaders from across the island (Dublin, Drogheda, Belfast and even Donegal!) who gathered at the fabulous Riasc Centre in Swords for the first Leading for Life One Day in Ireland.

We were stretched and inspired to get clear on our vision by Innovista’s International Director Jason Lane, in addition to dealing with the elephants in our rooms that we’ve been avoiding. Kate Bowen-Evans passionately reminded us that bad management in Christian organisations and churches is a pastoral issue as she led us through building teams and managing people well.

The afternoon saw a change of pace and the opportunity to be inspired by stories of mission in very different contexts from Ruth  Garvey-Williams of Vox magazine and Pam Rooney who founded Paradoxology – a Christian prayer space at Electric Picnic.

With plenty of time for reflection, discussion, sharing insights and ideas and to work on applying the sessions to our contexts, even the torrential rain didn’t manage to dampen spirits. We’re excited about the impact the leaders at Leading for Life are having and will have in their communities, and look forward to sharing some of those stories as we follow them up. Check out some of the photos below.

In 2017 there will be two Irish Leading for Life One Day events – in Dublin and the North-West.

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Introducing… Karen

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We are delighted to have Karen Buttimer join our team! Here’s a little about who she is and what she’ll be doing with us at Innovista…

Where do you live and what brought you there?

I currently live in Belfast. I moved here, from Cork, in 2006 to take up a job with IFES Ireland, covering maternity leave for 7 months. I never left!

How did you first get involved with Innovista?

My first involvement with Innovista was attending Leading for Life in Berlin in 2007. I never imagined that I would someday be the one organising Leading for Life… if I had, I would probably have taken more notice of how things were run! I went back to Leading for Life in 2008 and 2009, and did Tempo in Belfast in 2011/12 (Ashleigh Harrison was also part of that Tempo group!).

What have you been doing until now?

After the maternity leave cover job ended I stayed on with IFES Ireland as their Communications Administrator. In 2010, I moved to work part-time with Latin Link. And in 2014, I started my role with Innovista, working 2 days a week, alongside the Latin Link job.

Until now my main role with Innovista has been as Project Manager for Leading for Life, where my love for organisation comes in useful! Recently I was given the opportunity to work an extra day a week with Innovista, which allows me to do more work with Innovista International on Leading for Life and other similar projects, but also allows me to give some time to Innovista Ireland.

What will you be doing with Innovista Ireland?

At the moment I’m helping out with three main areas:
– Finance
– Working on policies, procedures and systems we need to have in place
– Impact assessments for our training delivery

I also get to be part of the Innovista Ireland team, joining Sam, Ashleigh and Anne for team meetings in Dublin about once a month.

And finally, what has inspired you recently or is inspiring you currently?

Over the last few months I’ve had the privilege of chatting to some of the leaders who were at Leading for Life in Berlin in 2015. I have loved hearing their stories, what they learned at Leading for Life, and how they are putting that into practice where they are. Seeing one girl come back with a real desire to do something in her situation to engage with non-Christians and take steps to make that happen has been so encouraging. Hearing that others have changed how they think about their role, are delegating more, have asked for feedback from their team or are sharing what they learned is exciting – this makes a difference not just to the leaders we train but to their teams, ministries and those they seek to reach!

Come and join us at Leading for Life One Day Dublin in Dublin on 11 June – and meet Karen!

Teenagers serving the community – RISE update

Mount Carmel (Autumn 2015)

At the beginning of the academic year we had the privilege of returning to Mount Carmel Secondary School in the Dublin’s North Inner city for the third year in a row. We love working with the students and teachers from this school; we are thankful for the relationship we have built there. This year we had the bonus of two transition year classes instead of just one and it was all systems go as we set out for another 10 weeks of developing young leaders.

The two classes worked well and within each one we began to see the development of ideas  which would positively influence their local communities. The first class decided upon a community clean-up and the second class chose to visit an elderly care home. We love seeing how teenagers can develop a passion for bringing change to the problems they see around them. Being able to equip and empower them to move into action is one of the most exciting parts of RISE.

Mt Carmel (nursing home Autumn 2015)

While the community initiative project is the end of the RISE Leadership Programme, it is not the end of a students’ RISE journey. At the end of the 10 weeks, we offer anyone who wants to be part of our six week RISE Mentoring Programme. Mentoring allows for further development of a young persons’ school or community engagement.

We were delighted that after working with two classes last term, we have 5 students who want to be part of mentoring after Easter. This one-to-one programme enables us to dig deeper into the leadership goals and dreams that a young person has. We work alongside them as they work out a plan to reach and achieve these goals. It is an exciting time as we begin mentoring these teens in the next two weeks. Watch this space for more stories of teenagers bringing hope to inner city Dublin.