New Children’s Advisor back to what she “knows and loves”
For Helen Williams, her new role as the Diocese of Exeter’s 5-11s Children’s Mission Advisor, means she is back on familiar ground.
Helen grew up on her family farm in Hemyock, near Cullompton.
She has spent the last four years working for a church in Richmond but says she is glad to have returned to the South West.
“It feels really lovely to be back here again in our beautiful county, to what I know and love.”
Helen says her biggest desire in her new job is to “encourage and support people”.
“What I am most looking forward to is the relationships with people and helping them reach out more to children and families.
“Perhaps that speaks to some of my own previous experiences of not being sure I can do it, and actually, yes we can!
“We can actively help each other as a broader church family across the county.”
Helen went to church from time to time growing-up and says she had “Christian values” but only became “active in faith” after she did an Alpha course in a neighbouring village in her twenties.
“I had suffered a couple of bereavements and had questions about life. I did the course and made a commitment after that.”
Helen said she found comfort in a small rural church community after visiting lots of different types of church.
“The larger churches did everything right. They were exciting and fun and lively but I felt lost there.
“I had experienced bereavement and wasn’t where I thought I would be at that point in my life, so actually I found a safe home in my little rural church of 12 or 15 people.”
Encouragement to get involved
Helen says she really values the fact that, as a new Christian, she was encouraged to get involved and given responsibility.
“I was motivated, given space, trusted and given opportunities and supported to do new things.
“I was also encouraged to go and do things with other churches even though that must have felt like a loss at the time for my church family.”
Helen is starting her new role at a key time for children and families in Devon, with pupils returning to school over the next two weeks after months away from the classroom.
She said “It is important there is a sense of us all working together and doing everything we can to look after one another as we move into this ‘next normal.'”
Helen will be working three days a week alongside Clare Cooke, the 0-5s Mission Advisor and Rev’d James Grier, the Mission Enabler.
The team have been working on an online Back to School service, featuring children from across Devon. It will be available to view here from 1000 on Sunday 6 September.
If you would like to subscribe to the Children and Families’ weekly newsletter please email Mission and Ministry Team administrator Jenny Beesley.