Trinity students engage with practitioners during Workshop Week

Last week, Trinity’s Student Exec welcomed several speakers to college as part of a Workshop Week. Ordinand Leah Thompson coordinated the week as part of her responsibilities as Spirituality and Leadership Rep, a new role on the Student Exec this year.

Speakers were chosen in part based on a survey completed by students last year, and during the week students could opt to attend any sessions of interest. ‘I hope this will be practically helpful for us, with people we’ll minister to,’ Leah explains.

Speakers on 19 November included co-chair of Green Christian Deborah Tomkins (pictured above) and poet/activist Sam Lindo, who discussed climate change, activism, and the church; justice advocate Chijioke John Ojukwu (pictured below), who spoke on ‘Race and reconciliation: how the church can be the answer’; Katie Ojukwu (pictured below), a pastor at Lighthouse, Leeds, who discussed ministering to those with severe mental health issues and trauma; and a team from Chanctonbury churches in West Sussex who talked about the charismatic movement in their rural setting.

On 21 November, Rev Lee Barnes and Rev Chris Bond led a session on spiritual engagement and discernment, Rev Clare Thompson discussed the joys and trials of living in community houses as a church leader, and a team from St Paul’s Church in Weston-super-Mare taught a session on ministering to those in addiction and recovery.

‘It’s been an absolute privilege to sit and absorb the learnt wisdom of ministers on the front lines in their various fields—to be challenged, equipped and filled with the hope of God through their walks in ministry.’  – ordinand Josh Bradshaw

‘I was really struck by something in the session on ministering to those in addiction,’ says ordinand Jon Ball. ‘The conclusion used the beginning of Isaiah 61 (also quoted in Luke 4), summarising the people whom Jesus came for—the poor, broken-hearted, captives, prisoners. It then goes on to say that it will be these people who will be called “Oaks of Righteousness” and it is they who will “repair ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated”. This struck me as a real call for the church to minister to those on the margins of society, and it will then actually be these people who restore the church, too.’

Ordinand Nic Harris says, ‘I went to the “Ministering to People with Severe Mental Health Problems” workshop. It was an eye-opener and also really helpful to consider with them how we come alongside and love people in the midst of their deep darkness and mess, seeking to be Jesus to them and see Jesus in them. Particularly for me it was helpful to consider how we make this a long-term walking alongside people, when transformation can be a very long and bumpy road for some and, for others, it seems it does not happen at all—how do we stick with people in these situations like Jesus sticks with us?’

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