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“It’s been delightfully surprising!”

Helen Harwood speaks to year 2 Undergraduate Diploma student Laura Evans

Helen: Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed again, Laura. Can you remind us about the course you are on at CMS and how you are finding it?

Laura: I am on the Pioneering Diploma. It has been a really wonderful experience; studying has broadened my horizons and given me a great foundation for what is ahead. I can’t quite believe I am coming to the end of my two years already!

What has been especially significant for you in your studies here at CMS? Any high points?

I think that a lot of it has been really – delightfully – surprising! I came with ideas of what I wanted to learn but some of my favourite parts have been unexpected.

One idea that I will really carry with me is the idea that a lot of emergence comes from conversation (as in Moynagh’s Church in Life). In conversation, it is possible to discern where the Holy Spirit is already at work and what is important to people. New life is born from here!

I understand you have just started working at St Matthew’s and St Luke’s in Oxford, can you tell us what your role will be?

The role at St Matthew’s and St Luke’s is primarily based around outreach in the local area, especially with those in their 20s and 30s.

The hope is to build community, run activities that connect us together, and reflect Jesus.

A part of this will also be built around social justice as we learn what is important to those in our community and engage with these ideas.

You are one of the people who set up and runs Hope Hour. Can you tell us about that, please?

Hope Hour was born out of the idea that it can be really hard to talk about your faith sometimes!

I went on my own personal exploration with this, asking close friends who aren’t Christian if they’d want to come to dinner with the pre-agreed intention of talking about my faith and their perspectives. I was nervous but ended up treasuring each experience; it felt like we grew to know and understand each other better.

The project has grown and changed a lot since then. At the moment, we are sending out a story of how God is connecting with someone each week with the aim of showing how diverse and unexpected this can be.

If anyone would like to subscribe to receiving these, you can find it at www.hopehour.org/blog or at instagram.com/hope.hour.

Hope is such a vital component of the Christian life. Laura, can you tell me about your hope for Pioneering in the wider church?

Recently Isaiah 43:19 has been buzzing around my brain a lot! God is the ultimate creator and he is forever working in new ways. The role of the Pioneer is to try to ‘perceive it’ and join in.

I am about to do a new thing;
    now it springs forth; do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19 (NRSVUE)

My hope for pioneering is that it will create space to show the heart of the gospel in these new and creative ways. I also hope that pioneering will reach people in a way that is relatable for them.

Finally, Laura, how can we pray for you?

Please pray for:

  • Good connections with those in the parish of St Matthew’s and St Luke’s and for ‘new things’ to ‘spring up’.
  • A place to live in the local area.
  • For Hope Hour, as it blossoms and grows, and for finishing my studies.

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