Support for our priest, Rachel

As many of you already know, Rachel, our priest has Autism and ADHD. Many of the gifts we appreciate in Rachel, are related to these conditions – her huge creativity, enthusiasm and energy, her connecting of ideas and people, her analytical ability and logic. However, alongside these gifts, Rachel experiences some very particular challenges. She finds it very hard to be aware of time, to estimate time, or to predict how long things will take. She sometimes struggles with detail, and with prioritisation, and can get overwhelmed. Rachel typically works very long hours to compensate for these challenges, often missing her day off, and many of us will have received emails from Rachel late into the night.

Earlier this year, we found that Access to Work, a government fund, offer support to people that have a physical or mental health condition that makes it harder for them to do their job. Rachel had a workplace assessment, and Access to Work are funding several things to make things more possible for Rachel.

This week, we are very excited to announce that Access to Work have agreed to fund a part-time Personal Assistant and Support Worker, to work with Rachel. We have been through a recruitment process, where we received some great applications. We had the hard task of choosing which of the excellent candidates to invite to interview, and from those interviewed we are delighted to let you know that Jane Nicholson has been appointed to this role.

Jane Nicholson
Jane Nicholson, support worker and personal assistant to Rachel

Many of you already know Jane, a member of our PCC and one of our worship leaders with the BCM worship earlier this year, who has also been supporting the work of Fareshare Larder from our community hall car park each week. However, you might not know that Jane also has extensive experience working with neurodiverse adults, in coaching and development, she has founded her own business, she has worked in training, in hospitality and administration. We are so fortunate that Jane is now bringing her diverse experience, her passion for developing people, her attention to detail and her commitment to supporting the work of this church and community. Jane will be starting in this new role from the beginning of August.

As with many organisations, we are working through a challenging season. 18 months ago, alongside Rachel, we had our Associate Priest Anne Elliott, our Licensed Lay Minister Phillip Attwood, and our Parish Administrator Jackie Paul. Anne and Phillip have moved on to new ministries elsewhere, and sadly last year we had to face the difficult decision that we were no longer in the position to afford an administrator. Much of the work of these three individuals has fallen on the shoulders of our priest, Rachel, and our churchwarden, Teresa.

Jane’s new role, as PA / Support Worker, is a role that is there to support Rachel. This is not a replacement for the parish administrator role. As a church community, we need to continue to find ways to work together, and to share the responsibility for the mission and ministry here in the community of Pennington.

How you can help

Although Access to Work will fund the salary for Jane in this new role, they are not able to fund the set up costs or equipment that will be needed. We are purchasing a printer / copier that will be based at church, and we are buying a laptop that Jane will use for her work. If you are able to support with the costs of these items, please do donate to our fundraiser for this equipment.

If you are able to volunteer some time to support our administration too, please do get in touch with Rachel, Teresa or Jane. This could be something like offering to print the noticesheet each week (on the new printer when it’s set up!), helping to distribute letters when we write out to the congregation, offering to look after the church enquiries mobile phone occasionally, supporting our work with baptism families and funeral families by writing cards to families after the event, writing grant applications to support the work of the church, looking after our church noticeboards to ensure they are up to date, informative and attractive to visitors. If you’re missing our parish magazine, and would like to see the magazine in circulation again, could you offer to edit the magazine, so that we can continue connecting with people across our community?

Are you wondering when we might to start meeting together in other events? Would you like to organise an afternoon tea or coffee morning, a litter pick or a picnic? If you’d like to see something happen, and would like to organise something, please do get in touch with Rachel, Teresa or Jane. We are so fortunate to be a part of this great church and community, as we share our gifts and energy, our skills and friendship, to build this community together, inspiring love for everyone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.