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JUL - SEPT 2014 • £3.50

Wendy Beech-Ward

Kiss and tell

from kissogram to pastor


things you heard wrong about feminism

talking with

The courage to live well

Indecent Exposure

this summer’s coolest swimwear

When stress is good for you


Entertainment • Fashion • Health • Interviews • Movies • Shopping • Sex • Travel • TV

64 LIBERTI features 2 6 K i s s a nd tell

LIBERTI living

LIBERTI culture

19 Exerci se


20 Li f ecoach

1 1 A pp A le r t

Exclusive interview with actress Tamsin Grieg

24 Leadershi p

1 2 Ch e c k o u t Gadg e t s

4 0 Th e ligh tb ulb moment

62 Fi nance

59 M u sic t o o u r e ar s

from kissogram to pastor

3 3 Ta m s in G re ig

Busting the myths of feminism

61 A t t h e Cin e m a

5 2 Ne s s W ils on

LIBERTI women 5

Fi rs t W ord

8 S hin ing a light on c orru p tion

St o r ag e Galo r e


64 I n de c e n t Ex po su r e

47 A word i n Season Fl ouri sh

© Hemera | Geri-jean Blanchard

48 Prai se ami dst the pai n

15 G re e n mu m 57 Leoni e’s story


7 0 Las t Word Cover image © Hat Trick Productions




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Bekah Legg


Duncan Williams


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Heroes with flaws FIRST WORD:


Would I? I sat and enjoyed the sunshine at the station and positively basked in the knowledge that it happens to the best of us. So often we write ourselves off because of the people we put on pedestals. Comparison is a rotten encourager, and it rarely speaks the truth. It can stop our journey before it’s ever begun because we think we’re just not good enough; think we could never be like ‘them.’ Our pages are unashamedly full of amazing women. But they’re real women; real women who wouldn’t ever call themselves amazing. They battle with the alarm clock when it goes off early in the morning. They can’t find their train ticket at the barrier without emptying their entire handbag. And they either totally cheated or completely avoided the ‘no makeup selfie’ thing on Facebook. The one thing they do do is get on and be who they were created to be –actress, leader, writer, mum. It’s all we have to do, and we don’t have to do it like anyone else. We can’t do it like anyone else. The only person we were ever called to be is the only person we were created to be. Just us. No one else can be us like we can. Take pride in that. Take pride and get on with it. Stop beating yourself up about your flaws and failures; we all have them, and we all have to get over them. It’s tough talk, but it’s true. Talking of tough, if Wonder ever works out that I have called her Wonder in my magazine, she’ll beat me with a stick, so let’s keep this between ourselves!

Bekah Bekah Legg | EDITOR BekahLegg

© iStock | ognianm

For articles on outstanding real women see;  Kiss and Tell (pg26), From kissogram to pastor.  Talking to Tamsin (pg33), exclusive interview with actress Tamsin Grieg  A lightbulb moment (pg40), The next article in our Equality series tackles the myths of feminism.


I was due to be in a meeting with one of my wonder friends just the other day. I prepped and preened to be ready and try not to let myself down and then the phone rang. Wonder’s daughter hadn’t told her she had food tech that day (could it be possible for Wonder’s household not to run like clock work?). Wonder had nevertheless found all the ingredients in her stock cupboard (as you would expect). Wonder had taken daughter to school only to discover they had left the ingredients at home, and she had to go back and get them (had Wonder and Wonder-daughter actually dropped the ball?). Wonder was going to be late for the train and would I mind waiting?

letter from the editor

here are some amazing women in the world doing some truly amazing things. I know some of them – they blow me away. I know multi-tasking, job juggling women who make super heroes look lame. I’m in awe of them. Sometimes I feel intimidated by them. But there’s one thing I have learned; when it boils down to it, they’re not that different to me.



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Summer 2014

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Summer 2014


Shining a light on

corruption by BEKAH LEGG



Today I am a mother of too many who works on a laptop in the dining room and takes the dog for walks in the rain. But once upon a time, in a land far away I went on an adventure. I lived in Africa and, together with my husband, drove from Kenya to Malawi. We stayed overnight at the foot of Kilimanjaro and stopped on the highway to allow a herd of elephants to pass. The sun rose over the Savannah as we put the miles behind us. And as the sun reached its peak we stopped again in a forest of baobab trees - to bribe a policeman.

Š iStock | Guenter Guni

We know, because the Bible says it’s true, that darkness cannot overcome light But corruption isn’t always so obvious. In fact, it surrounds us without us ever knowing it. It’s in the shops and banks that we use; it’s in the companies that are ‘investing’ in the developing world, it’s in our cupboard and wardrobes. It’s in tax havens and avoidance schemes. We’ve read about it, briefly boycotted Amazon (until we desperately need that thing, by tomorrow) and we’ve felt let down by Gary Barlow.

© iStock | Lucian Coman

But it’s much bigger than Gary Barlow. In 2008, developing countries lost USD160 billion through corporate tax dodging. Put into context, that is significantly more than the USD120 billion in aid those

We’re talking about companies who move into, say, Zambia and set up a copper mine. But they register the company in the Cayman Islands or Switzerland or somewhere else they don’t have to pay any tax. So although they make billions of dollars in Zambia, and some people will get employment (but they often ship skilled workers in), the millions of dollars that the Zambian government should receive in corporation tax will never arrive. It means this is about more than money. It’s about lives. If the Zambian government doesn’t receive taxes it can’t pay teachers, employ midwives or supply vaccinations to its children. It is predicted that illegal tax evasion will have been responsible for the death of 5.6 million children between 2000 and 2015. With 18 months of that time frame left, most of those children are already dead.

a light on a global taxation system that allows the world’s richest people to get richer at the expense of the most of the needy. They are partnering to call on the world’s leaders to combat bribery and tax avoidance. And they’re calling upon you and me to help. The EXPOSED campaign plans to take a million signatures, from all around the world, to the G20 when it meets in Brisbane this November to expose and call an end to the scandal of corruption.


It’s what we think corruption looks like. That or dodgy men in a pub doing a deal in whispers. Or maybe its politicians, we’re trained now to think they’re up to something, especially ones from certain countries.

countries received in the same year. It doesn’t take an accountant to work out that that doesn’t add up.



nd so the fairy tale ends with corruption. With a man who supplemented his income by stopping travellers and telling them they were travelling too fast and saying it could all go away for a ‘cup of tea.’ Expensive tea.

We might be afraid of the dark, but if, instead of cowering in the shadows we choose to switch on the light, the darkness will flee. You can shine a light by signing the petition at

These are horrifying statistics, but there is hope in the horror. You see the light, so nearly extinguished by the darkness, is that these countries that seem so hopeless, so desperate, actually have the ability to provide for themselves. It turns out there is good news in the bad news. We just need to change the way the world economy is run. And with that, the darkness comes back – it seems an impossible task. But we know, because the Bible says it’s true, that darkness cannot overcome light. Micah Challenge has brought together a coalition of organisations to shine

Summer 2014


2 thousand years ago


went out of his way

Honour, Restore and Release women He still Does. to


It’s time to RING THE BELL for women to live in freedom.


e have a dream to reach women all over the country with the liberating message that Jesus is good news for women; we’d love you to help us.

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Become a subscriber. Every subscription enables us to give copies of Liberti away to women in the armed forces, women in refuges and women in prisons. Become an ambassador. Tell the women in your church about us and encourage them to subscribe too. Become a distributor. Buy a bumper box of 50 magazines for just £50 to give away to the women in your community. Become a sponsor. Take out a subscription for a girl who needs to discover release for herself. Become a prayer supporter. Sign up to receive regular emails so that you can pray for us as we determine to take this Liberti news to more and more women. © Dule964 |

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Band Together A new kind of Lemmings…but so much better! Little creatures, called ‘bandies’, need you to figure out how to get them to safety. They need to stay well-lit and unharmed through 30 intricate cardboard scenes from thumbtack death machines, fatal chasms and boulders. Wonderful graphics, cutely addictive and brain activating! Released for iPad £0.69

Gesundheit! Unique and brilliant, stacked full of fun and cheeky retro-animation. At first glance you may think it’s for children, but believe me, your ability to think tactically will be challenged! Essentially you are helping a green pig with allergies to rid his village of invading monsters, using only his intellect and sneezing-juice…hence Gesundheit! Award winning! Released for iPad at £1.49 and free for Android

World of Goo Visually and sonically brilliant, intensely enjoyable and gloriously tactile - the idea is to get the required number of Goo balls to an exit pipe by constructing bridges or towers to overcome gravity and terrain difficulties. Sounds a bit physics, but it’s ingenious! Four levels, an epilogue and an additional chapter where players compete to build the highest tower! Go on…Goo it! Released for iOS, Android, Blackberry, WiiWare, Mac and PC from £2.99

Candy Crush Saga Light-hearted, satisfying and frequently perplexing… there are many reasons why this candy switching game is popular. Colourful, easy to pick up and play in those spare moments and if like me, you resist paying extra to conquer difficult levels, you may take 3 months to pass level 169! Released free for iOS, Android, Facebook and Kindle Fire.



The Tiny Bang Story


Grab yourself a Latte Macchiato, a bowl of marshmallows, shred the to-do list and put your phone on silent. No guilt, no shame…sometimes you just have to seize a drop of ‘me-time’ and play games. But in an over-crowded playground…which ones?

When the cats away...

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PawTrax Micro v Loc8tor Pet PawTrax Micro – GPS Cat Tracker Sounding like the lion of all cat trackers…a 58mm x 23mm x 11mm dongle weighing 23g, housed in a water-resistant pouch, it attaches to a safety collar and is intelligent enough to enter sleep mode when inactive. Web platform access in OSM, Google or Bing maps costs an extra £25 per year and shows real-time location, today’s locations, battery level and allows you to set zones that if broken, alerts you by email. The tracker needs a compatible SIM - costs vary according to the amount of mobile updates requested. After following clear instructions, charging and pairing the dongle with my mobile, fitting Mia with her wearable tech was easy. It was fascinating to monitor her travels - the tracker performed excellently (even when wet) and the web platform was illuminating. I’m also glad to report, Mia is not eating out! Available £125 -

Loc8tor Pet The Loc8tor mini-tag device is less comprehensive and consequently wields less of a financial impact on the household budget, but triumphed in finding Mia and attracting her home every time. The box includes a 6mm-slim handset, 2 minitags weighing 5 grams each, batteries and all the accessories needed. Registering and assigning the tags to the handset is well explained, and once the tag is attached to the collar, your detective work is straightforward. Press the assigned number of the required pet on the handset and as you get closer, the lights on the handset change colour and the pitch and frequency of the beeps increase. A range of up to 122 metres is estimated but with Mia, as soon as the tag was activated, she simply appeared from nowhere and came home. Result! If mapping your cat’s expedition is just a little too ‘Marco Polo’…then the Loc8tor is a suitable choice! Available £64.99 -


Summer 2014

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Summer 2014




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Š Thinkstock | iStockphoto

The two (faeces and flooding) are more firmly linked than you realise. According to the Make Space for Water report by Leeds University, water companies are permitted to run foul waste from combined sewers (pre-war pipes that contain both rainwater and household effluent) directly into rivers and the sea after intense rainfall to avoid foul waste backing up in homes or hitting the streets through overflowing drains. Yep, you heard me right: everything you flush floating past you at your local beauty spot or joining you for a paddle at the seaside. Even reading about it is making me do a Janice from Friends. ‘Oh. My. Goodness!’ So first up: don’t flush those tampons! How many times have we been told that? Bag them. Bin them. Same with baby wipes, condoms, ear buds, dental floss. © ThinkStock | Geri-jean Blanchard

Right, with that out the way, let’s get on to more appealing ways of dealing with the problem.

The report says localised flooding (which gives rise to the need for emergency combined sewer discharges, i.e. poo in the water) wouldn’t be half so bad if stormwater could actually GO somewhere other than down the drain: ‘Just by having a garden you are making an important contribution to stormwater control in your neighbourhood.’ The most valuable thing you can do is to avoid increasing the impermeable area of your property footprint. Adding a bit of flagging here and there might seem trivial and a solution to all your garden maintenance problems – and I’m totally with you on the barbecues and lazy days dream after all the mowing and weeding I’ve done on bank holiday ‘rest’ days recently – but when everyone hard landscapes, the loss of urban greenspace (and permeable drainage) can be substantial.

In London it’s estimated that around 32km2 of front garden has been converted to hard standing for off street parking, equivalent to the combined area of the boroughs of Islington, Hammersmith and Fulham, and that several million tonnes of raw sewage are pumped into the Thames each year following heavy rainfall.


Everyone’s got a ‘poo in the pool’ story; one where everyone clambers out of the water screaming like there’s a great white after them, while the lifeguard strides towards the deep end with a gigantic net. Stories like these are ensconced in the psyche of every human being that owns a Ducklings 10m certificate as firmly as stories of a worldwide flood are in ancient literature.


greenmum: That ain’t no boat accident

So next time you’re tempted to curse and spit about mowing the lawn, polish your halo instead and weather the storm. You’re a faeces fighter! The dude with the net. Making it safe to go back in the water. @emmajgreenwood Emma Greenwood is the Green Columnist and Fashion Editor at Liberti magazine. She joined Greenpeace protests aged 8 and has been wearing pre-loved vintage chic since she was 14. She eats the end of the cucumber, boycotts slave-chocolate and restricts meat to weekends. When she’s not writing for Liberti, she writes fiction for young adults and has mentorships with two publishing houses. Emma is married to comedy guy Mark Greenwood and has two young crazy-girl children.

Summer 2014



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Summer 2014





When drains get full during storms, water companies allow combined sewers (pre-war pipes carrying rain water and raw household sewage) to flow untreated into streams, rivers and the sea. The way we plan our gardens can make a significant difference to local flooding. Our choices directly impact the water quality we all desire! Use permeable materials for garden landscaping (e.g. bark, gravel, grass, porous paving, resin bound aggregate). Disconnect your impermeable surfaces (patios, greenhouses, paths, etc) allowing water to drain between them (e.g. by leaving gravel channels). Use one of the many permeable options available if planning a driveway. Catch roof runoff in water butts or stormwater planters or direct it to planted areas, lawns or bog gardens using rain chains or impermeable gulleys. Fit a ‘green roof’ on the garage or outhouse. They’re easy to install and you can buy pre-grown sedum mats ready to roll out. Green roofs reduce annual runoff by 50-85%. For more ideas and information, take a look at and click on Water Story. You can also sign up to be a Garden Ecosystem Champion!

© iStock | peefay

Summer 2014



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A recent and rather painful trip to the physio, highlighted even further the importance of stretching. Being a Personal Trainer, I did of course know, but, in honesty, often just paid it lip service at the end of the session, preferring a longer shower or breakfast. There’s a reason we feel stiff in the morning; the same reason a cat arches its back and has a good stretch when it gets up. As we rest and don’t move, a layer of ‘fuzz’ (to keep things simple) develops between our muscles, making them stick together slightly. The longer this goes on without being broken the more it causes our muscles to get knotted up, restricting movement and causing pain. It is reversible at any stage, with the help of a good physiotherapist and a painful foam roller, but it’s cheaper and healthier to prevent it getting to that stage in the first place. For those who exercise more, having DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) constantly forming on top of previous DOMS can lead to tension and restricted muscle movement hindering your sport and taking you out of balance in all other areas. For me lots of ‘fuzz’ in my quads from squats, running, cycling and lunges led to painful knees, feet and toes. So incorporate stretching after every workout and consider dedicating a session to it during the week too. General light movement, even after a tough session that leaves you in pain, will help too and prevent too much ‘fuzz’ from forming. Even if you don’t do any exercise, you will still reap the benefits of stretching and be more supple and flexible and less likely to stiffen up. To find out more about performing these stretches and get some ideas to follow yourself, then have a look at the Fitfish flexibility video on this page:

Gaynor Burton is the founder of Fitfish, a Christian fitness organisation that helps people find a balance between the physical, spiritual and emotional. Retreats, recipes and the organisation’s popular ‘Your Plate of Plenty’ personalised eating plan are all things that Gaynor is massively passionate about. She loves seeing lives changed! Follow Fitfish on Twitter: @FitfishTweets.

Summer 2014



THE GOOD STRESS Stress, at whatever level, is not harmful in itself, what makes it so is our belief that it is.

Š iStock | Pogonici


Summer 2014

When you choose to connect with others under stress, you can create resilience. We know that a certain amount of stress is good, but too much stress, we believe, is bad for our health. According to health psychologist and Stanford University lecturer Kelly McGonigal, however, it’s not the level of stress which matters, but our perception, our belief about stress that is the deciding factor. Independent studies by the University of Wisconsin, Harvard University and the University of Buffalo into the physical and psychological effects of stress have all come to the same conclusion: Stress, at whatever level, is not harmful in itself, what makes it so is our belief that it is. Conversely, if we see stress and our physical reactions to it in a positive light, it literally becomes ‘good stress’.

And here is how you can turn your own stress into ‘good stress’: Believe that stress is good!

Reach out for support


Nobody likes to feel their heart beating faster, their hands getting sweaty, and their nerves strained. We think this puts unhealthy pressure and strain on our hearts. When monitoring participants’ hearts in times of induced stress, the majority of respondents showed restricted blood vessels, but those who were told stress was a “helpful” reaction to a threat showed relaxed blood vessels.


I am under a bit of stress right now. Today is crowded with too many meetings, clients, phone calls and emails; there is dinner to prepare, band practice to go to, and the deadline for the article you are reading is tonight. As you would expect of any respectable Life Coach, I do a great deal to prevent such situations through careful planning, but life and people get in the way, in a good way.

This is not the time to be a lone ranger. During times of stress your pituitary gland releases oxytocin, a hormone that compels you to seek support. Oxytocin is also released when you hug someone, and it is an anti-inflammatory that allows blood vessels to stay relaxed under stress. When oxytocin molecules react with the heart’s receptors for this hormone, heart cells are compelled to regenerate, and thus recover from any stress-induced damage. Help others Studies have found that every major stressful life experience increased an adult’s risk of death by 30% - unless they also spent a significant amount of time helping loved ones and neighbours. Then, there was 0% increase in risk of death. According to McGonigal “When you choose to connect with others under stress, you can create resilience.” The astonishing conclusion is that stress viewed and handled positively produces courage, resilience, connection and community. I don’t suppose he knew about all the scientific research, but the writer of the book of James was spot on when he said: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1,2-4 (NIV) So next time you feel stressed, smile and relax, it’s good for you!

Heike Prentice is a direction and leadership development coach and currently exploring ordination in the Church of England. She likes to think through new ideas, concepts and strategies and believes it’s important to have a laugh! Contact Heike:

Summer 2014



01932 836490

Poverty had taught Angelito that he didn’t matter. His father wanted his mum to abort him and then left. His mother used to verbally abuse him and, sometimes, beat him. One day she threw a knife at him. He needed stitches.

TOLD ANGELITO “I’M HERE FOR YOU” Angelito’s life changed when Tom sponsored him for £25 a month. He learned to smile again as he and his mum received the support they needed. He goes to school and gets regular health checks. Angelito looks forward to visiting the Compassion project in his local church where he is loved and taught about Jesus. He treasures the letters and pictures he receives from Tom and his family that tell him he is never alone.

There’s a child like Angelito waiting for you to sponsor them. Will you tell a child I’m here for you?


One child supported by one sponsor through Compassion is a powerful and enduring way to tackle world poverty. Compassion, through the local church seeks out some of the world’s most vulnerable children and through individual sponsors provides them with the means to break the cycle of poverty and create a viable future. Working exclusively through local churches in developing countries, Compassion ensures that there is financial integrity, long-term commitment and the opportunity for every child to hear and respond to the good news of Jesus Christ.


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The courage to live well


Summer 2014

Š iStock | Stacey Newman

I’ve been struck recently about how important and necessary courage is. So many people I know live their lives with almost tangible courage.

I’ve got a friend, Sandra, who is one of the most amazing people you could meet. She has a serious illness which means she has to use a wheelchair to get around. She’s always smiling, always the first with a kind word and always the one who notices when others need a helping hand or a bit of support. Her life is hard but she’s courageously living it well.

felt like to be accepted, understood and loved. It was incredibly healing. Katherine Center says: ‘You have to be brave with your life so that others can be brave with theirs.’ Sometimes life can knock us so hard it feels impossible to get up again. Being brave can be very hard work. Together, in that room, we discovered that courage is contagious. And that it’s much easier to be courageous when others are cheering you on. As I reflected on our time together, I realised that we need a Sisterhood Revolution. We need women to become better at being sisters to each other, to commit to cheering other women on, to being there for others and to be the friends we all need and long for.

Recently, I met with some women leaders to talk about leadership and how we can support younger women leaders. As we talked it became clear that for all of us being a Woman Leader had been tough, that we’d all been hurt along the way and that some of us were still carrying that hurt.

So what stops us if we all need this encouragement?

Some of these women had seriously considered giving up leadership because they’d found it so tough and so isolating. Many of them said that they’d been deeply hurt because they felt misunderstood, badly treated or just plain criticised. What was terrible was that, often, the fiercest critics were other women.

A former President of the USA said: ‘Comparison is the thief of joy.’ It is so easy to compare yourself with other women. It is so easy to view other women as the competition especially when they have similar talents and skills as you. It is so easy, but comparison is a trap; be careful you do not fall into it.

As we spent time together, one woman would talk about her experiences while the rest of us listened. When each had finished talking someone else would cheer her on, giving wise advice or great encouragement. These women who had been beaten down by their experiences were being cheered on and celebrated. It was a life-giving time.

Next time, you see another woman doing something well, encourage her, celebrate her, tell her that you’re cheering her on. You never know what being ‘brave’ like that will mean to her. Or to you . . .

When we left that room the loneliness, discouragement and criticism were still real. But now, alongside that, we had also experienced something new. We’d experienced what it


Maya Angelou says that ‘Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because, without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.’




Wendy Beech-Ward is the Events and Ambassadors Director at Compassion UK. She is passionate about justice; equality, leadership and seeing people fulfill their God given potential. She always wears Converse. You can follow her on Twitter: @wendybeechward

Summer 2014


LIBERTI feature

Š iStock | claire norman

Summer 2014


LIBERTI feature

Kiss tell and

I’m standing on the flat roof of Elim Church Northampton with Lynda Heron, church leader, conference speaker and exkissogram. It’s the first hot day of the year; the sun’s baking the asphalt and the air smells of roof tar and tree pollen. We lean over the parapet and watch the traffic pass by below. On the wheel-rutted verge outside the church, a blossom tree showers petals across the pavement and, from somewhere in town, a siren wails, stops, then wails again. by EMMA GREENWOOD Photos DAVE SHARPE

Summer 2014


LIBERTI feature

Lynda smiles. ‘It didn’t start particularly well. I got chucked out of a church service when I was 18. The youth group had hired me for their vicar’s birthday. They’d planned for me to do my stuff on him during his sermon. My gorilla tried to talk me out of it, but – ’ Hang on just one moment! I get her to hit the brakes. Was that gorilla she just said?

‘I love that,’ Lynda says as the police car appears and chicanes in and out of traffic, its blue lights flashing. ‘Makes me feel alive.’ And I totally get what she means. I grew up in London to a constant playlist of urban noise. There’s something amidst the chaos and grime that’s full of energy and life. Talking about this makes me wonder where Lynda grew up. ‘We moved around a lot,’ Lynda says. ‘But I ended up in Blackpool when I was 16 and lived there until Jason and I went to Bible College.’ Jason is Lynda’s arrestingly charming ‘Blackpool Gypsy’ husband. I want to know how they met – was he a ‘kissing client’? ‘No,’ she laughs, ‘I was working as a travel agent. The kissogram stuff was evenings. Jason didn’t know about it then. We met in a nightclub and I liked him straight away. He’s got Romany blood and has these lovely dark eyes.’ So what did Jason work as? ‘He ran a joke shop and had a pitch on Blackpool Prom.’ I’m trying to work out how a Sam Fox wannabe and a gypsy version of Del Boy got to run a large church in Northampton. ‘So how on earth did you get Godded?’ I ask.


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Lynda nods airily, as if discussing ethics with primates was an everyday occurrence. ‘All the girls had one – a bodyguard – a heavy wearing a big hairy monkey suit, making sure the punters behaved.’ Right, so Lynda and some bruiser go into this church during the evening service, he’s wearing a monkey costume and she’s wearing...? ‘Oh the usual: basque, suspenders, stockings. It didn’t go down very well.’ That may well be the understatement of the year. So what about Jason? Was he into church? ‘Most definitely not. Jason came from a family of fortunetellers. When his dad and brothers converted to Christianity, it put the whole family in jeopardy: no crystal ball, no money. Jason went down to the church to smash things up and confront the pastor but ended up meeting God there instead.’ And how soon after did Lynda meet God? ‘I went along to the church the following week and the message hit home with me as well. Then we got married and decided to go to Bible College. All within a space of 18 months.’ I ask her what put Bible College on the agenda. ‘I think we both had a growing awareness that it was what we should do. A few people had mentioned it to us, but we’d never talked about it to each other. Then one day I came home and

Did her colourful past affect the interview process in any way? ‘No. The past didn’t come into it. The selection committee looked at who I’d become – who God had made me. They did the interview based on that.’ I get the feeling that’s how Lynda sees it too: not daunted by the past. But I ask anyway: how does she feel about it now, the kissing men for money? ‘I never really thought about it like that. It just seemed a fun way of earning extra cash – just a kiss on the cheek. When I became a Christian, things changed. I started to dress differently, act differently. It wasn’t a conscious thing. No one told me to change. I just didn’t want to do those things anymore. But I’d never put anyone down for doing them. It’s just, when you’re a Christian, God leads you into a different way of living.’

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Jason said God had spoken to him. Jason told me to go upstairs and pray and see if God said the same thing to me. But by the time I got to the top of the stairs I knew what God was saying.’

X-rated) that made her volunteer to go. ‘Not really. I don’t see any correlation between myself and those girls. I wasn’t an orphan. And I chose to work as a kissogram, chose to go to the parties. At the time it felt fun. I didn’t realise I was on the wrong side of the fence. These girls have no choice, no say in things. Their lives aren’t fun.’


Recently, part of that ‘different way’ has been to raise awareness of the plight of young women in Eastern Europe. In 2011, Lynda visited Moldova, Europe’s poorest country and one plagued by sex and organ trafficking. Her trip was organised by the charity Stella’s Voice and involved visiting orphanages and meeting teen girls saved from a future in the sex trade.

Lynda tells me about the conditions in the orphanages she visited, about the lice, the shorn heads, the filthy clothes and tidemarked skin. I’m saddened by this, but intense media coverage has, I’m ashamed to say, de-sensitized me a bit. Then Lynda tells me about the trafficking...

I ask Lynda whether it was her history in the sex trade (albeit not

‘We’ve all heard about the terrible state of ex-Eastern Bloc children’s

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homes,’ she says. ‘But what we don’t hear is that there are men working for traffickers waiting outside those orphanages for girls to be discharged. At sixteen, the girls leave with only the clothes on their backs and a bus ticket to the town where they were born. The men hail them, pick them up in flashy cars, offer them a bath, nice clothes, somewhere to stay. Then they get them addicted to drugs, wait for their hair to grow back and sell them on to the world market as sex workers. Nearly all die of drug abuse and HIV.’

THEY GET THEM ADDICTED TO DRUGS, WAIT FOR THEIR HAIR TO GROW BACK AND SELL THEM ON TO THE WORLD MARKET AS SEX WORKERS. Now I feel sick. Angry. Ready to start a war. But Lynda goes on and tells me about Stella’s Voice. How it offers safe houses for girls when they leave. How volunteers teach them to look after themselves. How some of the girls go on to


Summer 2014

university, some find employment; all are integrated back into society; others travel abroad as ambassadors. The charity offers them a new start and I feel like there’s a glimmer of hope. As we go inside for coffee, I reflect that Lynda’s own story is about new beginnings too, about being given a chance for a different life. Lynda gets out photographs from her trip as a moth-eaten ginger tom saunters in from the kitchen. Linda rubs him between the ears. ‘Someone left him on the church doorstep in a box,’ she says. ‘There was a note saying, ‘I know you’re kind. Please look after him’. The agencies wouldn’t take him and we couldn’t just leave him, so...’ She leaves the sentence unfinished as if the rest is a no-brainer. But second chances don’t just ‘happen’. For cats or humans. They require someone acting on their convictions, someone seeing something beautiful in the mess and doing something about it. That’s what Lynda did with the cat, that’s what Stella’s Voice is doing, and that’s what God does with us: he sees our beauty no matter how deep it’s hidden; he seeks us out and offers a new start. On the way home, I think about Lynda’s career change, about the girls in Stella’s Voice safe houses and about the ginger tom. I think of how the Bible is full of second chances (and third and fourth and fifth), of how it’s full of stories of compassion, grace, and restoration; stories of God loving people despite their imperfections, rejoicing in the unique and beautiful things beneath the mess. And I think about being on the roof with Lynda, looking down on the beautiful city: cars roaring by, glinting in the sunshine; concrete and cherry blossom; grime and green places; trees and tower blocks. Imperfect yet wonderful. Just like us.

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on how to apply and who qualifies is available at the Portsmouth Business School open evening on Tuesday, July 8.

An inspirational Portsmouth student and businessman is among the first in the country to be given a Points of Light award by Prime Minister David Cameron. Danny Glavin, a teacher turned social entrepreneur, has made it his life’s mission to encourage children to find and look up to real heroes and heroines, rather than celebrities.

The Points of Light awards are a new initiative to recognise and honour the work people do to help others. Danny will receive his award from Mr Cameron at 10 Downing Street.

He has also raised tens of thousands of pounds for military charities through a national schools fund-raising campaign he started, which also won praise from Mr Cameron in 2011. His initial inspiration for this was the death of his childhood friend, Richard Hollington who died while serving in Afghanistan. In his spare time Danny has been studying towards his Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Portsmouth Business School since last September. He was among the first to win an Innovation Scholarship, offered to encourage and foster creativity and innovation and to support those who wish to make a greater leadership contribution in the future. They are funded by Portsmouth Business School and supported by the city’s Cathedral Innovation Centre, and the Royal Society of Arts. Scholarships are available to those wishing to study part-time for an MBA this autumn and more information

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LIBERTI feature

talking with


With over 20 years as a TV actress to her name, and numerous accolades picked up along the way, Tamsin Greig certainly has staying power. The same can be said for her belief system, and Liberti had the pleasure of catching up with the star of Episodes and Black Books this month.

Both personally and professionally, we all find ourselves with hurdles to face on the path to success, and Tamsin Greig is no exception. The 47-year-old has encountered her share of obstacles on the way to becoming a household name, but having now arrived at the top table of light entertainment, there is not a hint of arrogance surrounding the Kent-born star. Indeed, so likened to the shy, sometimes nervy characters she portrays, this intriguing personality carries a rather modest, apologetic view on her talent. “I always look on fame and recognition as a by-product to me really living out my passion,” she begins. “Acting, performance and personal expression has been something I’ve absolutely adored. If I did that without anyone batting an eyelid I’d still be delighted, because it has been a path to my own personal satisfaction. “The fact I can do this and it gives others pleasure and enjoyment… well, that just makes it all the better.”

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As a child, Greig’s aspiration for the stage was unrelenting. And in her teenaged years, she quipped that drama rehearsals offered an escape from the tedium of school lessons, thrusting herself into performance. Disappointment was to follow when she failed to make it into drama school, but she simply rerouted to the academic, rather than vocational route, enrolling at Birmingham University where she studied Drama and Theatre Arts. She, understandably, wasn’t filled with confidence when, after graduating, her mother encouraged her to take a secretarial course “just in case”, and has previously (if modestly) described her career thereafter as “a slow burn, but one which doesn’t seem to have gone out.” Yet in the time that followed, and having successfully combatted the much documented instability of the acting world, Greig’s self-belief – not to mention an assured acting ability – was to secure her a role in The Archers. And if her relationship with the iconic radio serial is anything to judge by, this is clearly someone who doesn’t commit to projects half-heartedly. “I went in for six months in 1991 and I’m still there,” she jokes, having now spent over 20 years on/ off voicing character Debbie Aldridge, whose business interests in Hungary allow Tamsin the ability to come and go as her schedule allows. “I’m hugely grateful for the flexibility I’ve been allowed where Debbie is concerned,” the actress admits. “Either that, or Debbie feels compelled to head to the airport whenever Episodes or Friday Night Dinner come on our screens!” From this inaugural vocal role came a cult following and a career straddling three distinct mediums: stage, radio and screen. Her foray into television didn’t materialise until 1999, however, a full eight years on from her Archers debut. Bit parts in TV adverts finally secured her the part of the neurotic Fran Katzenjammer in Black Books, the show providing a perfect sanctuary for Greig to further flex her funny bone. Soon enough, the call came for perhaps her most famous television role, appearing as Dr Caroline Todd in Green Wing.

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I always look on fame and recognition as a by-product to me really living out my passion

Now three years off her half century, it’s an admirable portfolio of work that has been gathered, displaying the actress’s long and varied take on the industry. But converting to Christianity at 30 – having been raised as an atheist - Tamsin has spoken about feeling uncertain about the potential between religious standing and vocation. “When I came to faith, I thought I would have to stop being an actor, because it’s all about artifice and manipulation. But we are living in a world where God doesn’t really have an influence unless it’s through fundamentalists, so I’ll always be an outsider because of my faith.” Any qualms about an ‘outsider’ status, however, are invalidated by what is a radiant talent, and a personality that embraces the true virtues of faith. Rather than feel held back by her religious convictions, Greig has achieved a happy union of both personal beliefs and professional ability. It’s led to guest appearances on Songs of Praise, incorporating her flair for drama into a reading of the King James Bible and bringing together both of those worlds. “Having opportunities to do something like that, something that connects my passion for faith and a love of broadcasting is really special. It’s the sort of thing I never dreamed I would be able to do,” she admits.


reig’s religious reading complements her theatrical flair, and, alongside stage-bound spells in The Diary of Anne Frank and Jane Austen’s Emma, demonstrates a talent for live performance. Being the first woman to win the Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best Shakespearian Performance as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing clearly illustrates her skills centre stage, and, like many actresses, she has spoken of the delight of stepping into a role. “When you think about it, faith and acting are all about stories, so the two are not mutually exclusive,” she explains. “I think in the modern world we’re exposed more than ever before to stories, because there are so many different mediums and so much access to people’s creativity. Anyone can be an author, anyone can

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put a video up online – it’s no longer the domain of the privileged few, and that’s really special. “Of course it means there are a lot more messages out there, and much like faith, people have to choose what they feel are the right messages for the way they live their own life, but at the heart of it we should be glad that people are, in theory, freer than ever to make these choices.” With many of the entertainment elite, both here and Stateside, practising Christians - take Alice Cooper, Tom Hanks and Mark Wahlberg as noteworthy examples - Greig is in good company when juggling that sometimes heady mix of personal conviction and public exposure. Does she see it as a burden? “Never a burden, no, and I never consciously feel I have to be one or the other. Ultimately, the two coexist, and rather happily too.”

Rather, the actress remains grounded – when she’s not doing sponsored parachute jumps, that is – and even avoids the public reception of her work until its completion. “I might read reviews after the play but not while I’m doing it,” she says. “I ignore text messages from friends saying: ‘Don’t read the review in this certain paper, they’ve got it wrong,’ because then you know it’s out there and you’re intrigued. A director once told me both good and bad reviews ruin a good performance because it distracts the actor from telling the story.”

If I did that without anyone batting an eyelid I’d still be delighted

Greig’s perchance for storytelling has made her a regular principle at the Garrick Theatre, London, and within the National Theatre as well. Indeed, her face is now recognisable to both UK and American audiences, with US telly fanatics now noting her for the presently-running Episodes, the sitcom in which she stars alongside Steven Mangan and Matt LeBlanc. With such growing global recognition, however, Greig hasn’t detracted focus from the domestic sphere. Married to the actor-cumwriter Richard Leaf, and with three children at home, this is someone who isn’t caught up in the superficialities of being seen as a public figure.

The actress’s portrayal of quirky, slightly alternative characters means it’s a body of work largely divides opinion anyway... with the exception of that boutique entertainment industry Stateside. “Someone said to me LA is a bit like death by encouragement! You can be too spoilt with affection when it comes to life in the lens over there. It’s all very nice, and of course Stephen and I have been much more exposed to it with the success of Episodes, but sometimes you do wonder when the plaudits will stop!”

But then this American mentality is intrinsic to the very storyline of the sitcom, and very different from Tamsin’s own wholesome, Christian life approach. The show centres upon a British husband-and-wife comedy-writing team who travel to Tinseltown to remake their successful British TV series, but havoc ensues. “It’s a story essentially about

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Hollywood,” she explains. “It’s about relationships, and people trying to make their way, and people making mistakes! It combines that element of drama with different types of comedy. “You know, we are in this stupid age of obsession with celebrity. It’s a crazy world and what it’s giving you is a sense that you are involved in this world of the super-famous. You think, ‘Oh wow, that’s what it’s like’ and really this is the nonfiction version and on the TV you see the fiction version. I think you’re getting something you’re not and I think that’s a very deft sleight of hand they serve up.” Greig herself, though a popular actress, has avoided ‘celebrity’ status – there’s no official Twitter feed, and her Facebook page is populated only by adoring fans. “I just don’t fit that dynamic,” she says. “It makes me feel uncomfortable, and really, who cares what I do in my spare time?!” In Episodes, though, the sitcom celebrity obsession is upped with the inclusion of Matt LeBlanc, consciously playing upon the actor’s post-Friends fame and his inarguably less successful stint in spin-off Joey. It’s a genius creation and follows very much the Ricky Gervais Extras-inspired mode of having a big name play a fictionalised version of him or herself. Tamsin’s character Beverly is required to get intimate with LeBlanc, and whilst some women may be ready to dish the dirt on an onstage kiss with an on-screen lothario, Greig is altogether down to earth. “It’s all about angles,” she laughs. “It’s not like any human form of kissing! We’ve very professional about it, although there are worse jobs out there. “But the best thing about the show is the scriptwriting. It’s very clever and very funny, and doing a programme from a writer’s perspective has been really eye-opening. Ultimately, it makes you realise that writers have to be very careful and discerning because so much of the machine is out of their control.”

With a fourth series of Episodes, regular returns to The Archers and the lure of the stage, it seems that a resolute schoolgirl’s desire to perform has been well and truly recognised. The tenacious actress is keen to build upon her Shakespearian scope, and with her faith to guide her, this is clearly someone who, amongst the madness of celebrity culture, can offer a steady presence on our screens for a long time to come, and Amen to that.

It’s the sort of thing I never dreamed I would be able to do



0800 634 0240



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A lightbulb


Faith and feminism are two words that you don’t often find together. At Liberti, we believe they are not mutually exclusive terms and are exploring what gender justice means for different people in different contexts. Natalie Collins, co-founder of the Christian Feminist Network, has been on a journey of discovery as she has made sense of her experiences of male violence.


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The event was the launch of a book called The Lightbulb Moment; a collection people’s stories about when they became feminists. The stories had been collated and edited by Sian Norris, a Bristol based author and activist. I had become involved in the project accidentally when Sian asked via Twitter for people to send her their stories. I assumed it was for a blog series and happily sent off my story. Fast forward a few

months and I was at the book launch about to read my chapter to a large group of feminists, many of whom were adamant atheists. I began by telling the group, “Before I start I would like to say I am a Christian. I love God with all my heart…” I went on to share my story of suffering abuse from my ex-husband. At no point did anyone throw fruit at me or say anything disparaging about my

© iStock | Mike_Kiev

I took a deep breath as I walked to the lectern, unsure of how my words would be received. Declaring that I loved God with all my heart in a room filled with life-long committed feminists felt both deeply important and yet as if at any moment they might begin throwing rotten fruit at me. I wondered whether to omit that part of my talk, my brain oscillating between leaving it in and taking it out with each step I took.

At times it can seem that Christianity and feminism are totally incompatible, it is a view that some Christians and some feminists agree with passionately. For some feminists, all religion is a tool of patriarchy invented to keep women oppressed and enable men to keep their power and privilege. For some Christians, feminism is deeply evil, to quote Pat Robertson, “Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” For others feminism seems extreme, while the feminist view of abortion prevents Christians from ever wanting to own the title. As a committed Christian, I have found feminist theory invaluable in making sense of my experiences of male violence. I became a feminist when I discovered that my ex-husband’s treatment of me, and in fact all male violence against women and girls, was rooted in his belief that he owned me and was entitled to treat me the way he did. That this form of male domination was part of a spectrum of acts, some intentional and some subconscious, that lead to women being unfairly disadvantaged across the globe. That disadvantage may take the form of violence and rape or of female genital mutilation. It may look like women’s lack of representation in public life, as MP’s, performers, guests on panel shows. It looks like women and girls being blamed

for being abused and the beauty, fashion, pornography and toy industries’ insistences that women and girls will never ever be good enough. I found that this entire disadvantage is rooted in “Patriarchy”, the power which maintains an unjust power differential between men and women in every country in the world. Although feminism has been misunderstood and misrepresented by many, it is simply about women and girls, men and boys across the globe at various points throughout history standing up to say that women should not be disadvantaged. It is not a cohesive political movement like Marxism or capitalism, but rather the cry of individuals and groups of women and men that gender injustice must end.

At times it can seem that Christianity and feminism are totally incompatible During The Lightbulb Moment book launch, Chitra Nagarajan spoke of her experiences as a black woman within the feminist movement. She shared how hard she had found it to fit into mainstream feminism, which was majority white and middle class. As a black woman, her experiences of oppression differed and so she worked with other women to set up a

space for black women to come together to share what feminism meant to them. This became the Black Feminist Network. As I sat there listening to her I recognised some of what she said. As a Christian I have worked with a feminist organisation who told me I could never mention that I had a faith and I have spent time in feminist spaces knowing that people are either indifferent or hostile to the parts of my life that are most important to me, namely Jesus. I began to have conversations with various Christian women, including feminist blogger Hannah Mudge, sociology lecturer and feminist writer Kristin Aune, Anglican Priest Anna Macham and Jennifer Parnham a specialist in sexual exploitation and working with vulnerable women and girls. We had been having conversations both separately and together about the need for a space where we could fit as both Christians and feminists, a space where we could show Christians and feminists that Christian feminism is not an oxymoron. And so the Christian Feminist Network was born. Over the last 18 months we have run events in London and Manchester and have participated in Million Women Rise, Europe’s largest women only march to speak out about male violence against women. We have produced a book list and blog regularly about faith and feminism. Though we recognise there is a long way to go, we hope that we can inform and inspire Christian women and men across the UK to see that feminism and the Christian faith are compatible.

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beliefs. In fact I found the space more welcoming and accepting of me than some of the churches I have been to.


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Ten myths about Feminism All feminists believe {enter belief here}


Feminism is not like Christianity; there isn’t a creed that all those who believe in equality for women sign up to. Some feminists believe pornography empowers women, others believe it is oppressive; some believe feminism is about personal choice whereas others believe it is about corporate liberation of women. The reality is that feminism is united solely in the belief that women should not be disadvantaged because of their sex.

Feminists hate men Feminists do not hate men, in fact feminist thought believes abusive men choose to behave in this way, rather than it being innate. Many feminists have sons and husbands, and fighting against power based masculinity is about making men’s and boys’ lives better. Throughout history there have been some radical separatist feminists who believed in separating completely from men, however they are no more the norm for feminism than extremist Christians who picket funerals with “God hates fags” placards are for Christianity.

Although there are more lesbians amongst the feminist population than the wider community, feminism has nothing to do with sexual orientation.


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© Hemera | Balázs Justin © iStock | adamsunny


Feminists are generally lesbians

In 1968 a group of feminists protested the Miss America beauty pageant. It was falsely reported that the group burned bras. They did not and feminists have never burned bras.

Š iStock | ppart, Samohin




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Feminists participate in bra burning

Feminists do not believe in removing body hair The removal of body hair is a societal beauty norm, and as such some feminists do not remove their body hair. This is a matter of personal choice, not corporate commitment.

Men cannot be feminists There are some feminists who state that men can only be “feminist allies� and that feminist spaces should always be woman only. However, many feminist groups are open to both men and women and believe that feminism is open to anyone willing to live their lives enabling gender justice to be realised. It is similar to some churches not allowing non-members to take communion, although this is a rule for some Christians, it is not a characteristic of Christianity as a whole.

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Feminists kill unborn babies

One of the issues feminists have always prioritised is women’s rights over their own bodies. Feminists have long pioneered access to contraception and the passing of laws which criminalise rape and sexual assault. But, there are some feminists who believe that access to abortion is paramount, as an unborn child exists within the mother’s body and as such she should have the right to decide what to do with her body. There are some feminists that are pro-life and believe in working towards a world where becoming pregnant never needs to be a negative, through campaigning for better statutory provision for mothers and working to prevent sexual and domestic violence.


A woman can only be either feminine or feminist Femininity is a social construct and differs between cultures and societies and as such femininity as a fixed entity is a myth. Feminism is about liberating women and men from restrictive gender expectations. Although for some women this may mean rejecting certain behaviours or attitudes, feminism isn’t about uniformity but rather liberation.

Women and men are now equal and feminism is no longer needed In the UK alone rape, domestic violence, stalking, harrassment and “honour” based violence disproportionately affect women. On the national UK Christian platform only 28% of the speakers are women, on average women are paid 15.7% less than men and 22.7% of UK MPs. This does not seem like a particularly equal society.

Feminism and Christianity are incompatible


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© iStock | imagehub88 © Hemera | Maksim Shebeko

Genesis 3:16 shows God saying that one consequence of the Fall was that a woman’s “desire will be for her husband, but he will rule over her.” This verse shows us that male domination was not God’s best plan for humanity but an effect of sin, similar to pain in childbirth and death. This male domination can also be termed patriarchy. In Romans 5:17 Pauls says that “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” The curse of sin and death were removed in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, therefore as Christians we must live as those free of patriarchy. This is the work of feminism, to see a world free of patriarchy, a world free of injustice.


Summer 2014



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A Word in Season by AMY BOUCHER PYE


hen I’ve been considering how I might flourish – how God might want me to flourish – I’ve subconsciously narrowed it down to one area of my life, namely my writing. And not just any writing, but specifically, getting a book contract with a US publisher. I went about my goal methodically; as I work in the publishing industry, I was able to sign a fabulous literary agent with all the contacts one would need to secure a deal. We honed the proposal and sample chapters, sent them out, and then waited. In my inbox appeared rejection after rejection. I began to think, “Lord, you call this flourishing?” But why do I define things so particularly? Why do I hinge all my ideas of growth, thriving and joy on one goal? Why do I miss the ways I have flourished over the past year – through my friendships, my circle of prayer partners, my family, the speaking engagements I got to do, my publishing work, and even how I overcame my fear of returning to group exercise classes. And yes, a book deal from a UK publisher! All these things point to flourishing, but I missed them with my laser focus. For me, learning how to redefine the word has brought growth and maturity and maybe even a sliver of divine objectivity. How about you? How could you flourish this summer? It’s not something we can engineer,


What do you think of when you hear the word, flourish? Plants and wildlife growing wildly? Students acing an exam? A promotion at work? is it, for flourishing speaks more of something that results through previous actions or disciplines we adopt. And even more so, by grace – God pouring his love into our lives. I love the verses spoken by the prophet Isaiah those millennia ago. They describe this mysterious process of life bursting forth from above: “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11). The word from God can be our hidden extra. The Lord bursting through, transforming our friendships, inspiring us to challenge injustice, helping us to love ourselves as those formed in his image. His word comes to us to water our dry ground, bringing soakings when we feel parched, and making us bud, flower, and be fruitful. Amy Boucher Pye is a writer, speaker, editor and reviewer. A transplanted American, she lives in North London with her family. She loves books, prayer, laughter, sunshine and dark chocolate. She blogs at and tweets at @ AmyBoucherPye.

© iStock | mariusz_prusaczyk

Summer 2014



Praising in the midst of pain I once heard a story about a baby girl who contracted meningitis and was rushed to hospital by her parents. They feared the worst as the doctors told them she was at death’s door. Along with their church family, the parents prayed, fasted and cried out to God for her healing and when daylight came, she had not only lived through the night but was totally healed without any sign of meningitis left in her body.


Summer 2014

He asked: “Would you still be praising me if she’d died?” It’s a deep question, with deep implications. It asks us about our motive for worship, our motive for bringing Him our praise. Are we those who bring praise and thanksgiving only when life is good or have we come to understand that God is good all the time, even when the circumstances of our lives lead us to believe otherwise? I think there’s a reason why the bible refers to us bringing a sacrifice of praise - it’s because the most powerful times we can lift our voice in thanksgiving and worship are

the times when we least feel like it. Those are the times when praising Him feels like a sacrifice, when worshipping Him costs us. Psalm 54:6 I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good. It says in Psalm 100 that we enter His gates with thanksgiving- that there is a password into His presence and that word is ‘thank you’. This doesn’t mean we are expected to be thankful for the trouble, just that we are thankful in it. We can recognise that the trouble we are facing is not good, not perfect, not uplifting but

© iStock | kjekol

As the parents drove their daughter home, the car filled with the sound of their worship, and they praised and thanked God for her miraculous recovery. It was at that moment that God spoke to the father and asked him a question that has made a deep

impression on me ever since I heard this tale.

not look any different, in my experience we will begin to see them differently.

Are we those who bring praise and thanksgiving only when life is good

heaven that ultimately breaks down their prison doors and sets not only them free but all those around them.

Circumstances have a way of looking really big and making us feel very small. They can even make God seem small. When we find ourselves facing more than we can handle on our own and when our trouble presses down on us we have to make a freewill offering - a choice to open up our mouths and lift His name above every other name. As we do so, though the circumstances may

The bible tells the story of Paul and Silas who were beaten, flogged and thrown into jail. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that their response of worship, of praise and prayer released a response from

The pain we go through, the emotions that come with that pain and the untenable situations we sometimes face, can make us feel trapped inside a prison. We can be in captivity when we did nothing other than serve God to get us there. We did everything right, and yet we still find that life can beat us, flog us and throw us into a prison of despair and depression. We can become so overwhelmed by disappointment in God and the feeling that He should’ve taken better care of us; it steals any desire we may have to worship Him.

But the truth is that God is good, and that His face is turned towards us, though we are never promised a pain free life. The truth is that we have an enemy who comes to kill, steal and destroy. The truth is that we are the victims of other people’s bad choices, the victims of our own bad choices and sometimes there is no reason whatsoever, other than the sad truth that bad things do happen to good people. When we come to terms with the fact that we’ve been beaten, flogged and thrown into captivity, when we’ve admitted our fear, our anger even, when all is said and done, we are left with a choice of how to respond.


through our gratitude to a perfect, good and uplifting God, we enter into a divine exchange. We trade our trouble for His triumph, our ashes for His beauty, our weakness for His strength. More often than not, this divine exchange has happened in my own life, when I have chosen to worship Him despite my emotions.

How we respond to pain and adversity is always a stronger testimony than anything we may do when life is treating us kindly. The community around us does not need us to show them a perfectly neat and presentable life, without a hint of challenge or trouble about it. The world needs to see the strength of believers who, despite their pain and trouble, choose to lift their voice in prayer and praise and see their deliverance come.

© Hemera | Geri-jean Blanchard

Arianna Walker is a speaker, an author and the Executive Director of Mercy Ministries UK- a Christian charity that works in partnership with churches across the UK to provide residential care for young women who are dealing with life controlling issues. For more info: Twitter/Instagram: @AriannaWalker @MercyMinUK

Summer 2014



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LIBERTI feature

The Ness-essity of Women Leaders Ness Wilson feels ‘fully alive’ when she’s leading. She has headed-up Open Heaven Church, a 250-strong community in Loughborough, for almost 20 years. She talks to Caroline Harmon about her passion for seeing other women released into church leadership, theological gymnastics, and the need to stay soft-hearted in the face of opposition. When did you first feel called to leadership in the church? I was 15 when I specifically felt God gave me a life verse, 2 Timothy 4v5: Keep your head in all circumstances, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist and fulfil all the duties of your ministry. I felt then that there was something on my life then that was going to involve some kind of leadership or full time ministry.

There were less female church leaders then than now. What did you do with that sense of calling? At the time I had no role models of women who were church leaders or church planters so I just assumed I was going to be a missionary abroad. I wrote to lots of bible colleges and said “please could I come and train?” I got letters


Summer 2014

back saying I was too young! Most wanted you to be at least 21 so I came to study in Loughborough to bide time. It was at university that God shortcut the whole process and I just found that I was leading things. I was on the Christian Union Executive, and leading small groups of new Christians and prayer across the Christian community on campus. I felt fully alive when I was operating in any kind of leadership role. Then a number of us received a prophetic word that a church would be planted in the East Midlands, by young people, for young people. We planted that church (Open Heaven). To begin with we had a fairly ill-defined leadership team; after a couple of years Steve Clifford (who oversees Open Heaven and is also now General Director of the Evangelical Alliance) met with

Summer 2014

53 LIBERTI feature

LIBERTI feature

You’ve been the main Bible Teacher at Spring Harvest’s Skegness venue. What is it like being a woman ‘at the front’ at such a high profile event?

everyone who was part of the church plant and asked us all who we were following. People said they were following me, so he gave me authority to do what I was already doing, bringing vision, leadership and direction. In terms of church leadership that was the first time I had an official role. I felt daunted by it, but it also felt very natural.

How did you make the shift from thinking that you had to be a missionary to thinking you could lead a church? I’d come from a position of thinking women should not be in church leadership and had done some mental gymnastics to work out that it would be okay to be a missionary and part of a church plant. But I’d also begun to do my homework and really thoroughly studied some of what scripture said about women in leadership. My theology started to match up to my experience and the leadership opportunity that I’d been given. Now I believe that when a church has women as well as men in leadership, together they are able to demonstrate and reflect the full glory and full image of God. If, as male and female, we are both created in the image of God then to have men and women working together; bringing their natural distinctives and giftedness; leaning into each others strengths, covering each others weaknesses; all of that for me is a full representation of the Godhead. A church without female leaders can be more one-dimensional.


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Women leaders need a dose of supernatural grace to be able to navigate the leadership journey

The thing that really struck me was the number of women who came up to me saying how much they’d enjoyed my bible teaching, but more than that, how they’d changed their opinion of women in leadership and particularly women speakers. They’d started the week prepared to give me a go, but not really expecting very much, or just unsure what it would be like to have a female bible teacher. Yet by the end of it they were wanting to tell me how much they’d enjoyed it and how that had surprised them. They’d been won over to the possibility that women can be called by God and can be good leaders and good bible teachers.

You became a female leader at a young age. What advice would you offer aspiring young, women leaders today? Allow the voice of God to be louder than any other voice, including any voice of selfdoubt. Regularly come back to the fact that you’re called by God. If there are particular moments where you have felt God’s given you something specific like a bible verse, or a prophetic word, make sure you’ve written them down and that you keep going back to them. Any other times you’ve felt confirmation, or just that sure sense of peace and conviction that you’re doing the right thing, just keep coming back to that. Recognise other people’s voices can hold

I’m in a prayer triplet with two other women who know everything there is to know about me. That’s the forum where I will say things that wouldn’t be appropriate to say in the wider church. It’s important to know I’m fully covered for things like emotional pain that I might need to process, or struggles with temptation. Women on the whole are better than men at knowing the importance of their friendship networks anyway, so I think female leaders on the whole are more covered relationally which is really good.

Don’t put token women in positions of leadership, because I think that does more damage than good. You need the right women. And what would you say to churches looking to include women in their leadership team? Don’t put token women in positions of leadership, because I think that does more damage than good. You need the right women. We also need to take a different approach with women than with men. There are potentially some more barriers in the way to

women getting into leadership. It’s a generalisation but men tend to overestimate their abilities and women tend to underestimate theirs. So the coaching journey for a woman might take longer and be a bit more convoluted. She may need much more reassurance and to hear people speaking the truth that she has leadership gifts and is called to be a leader. Expose women who are new to leadership to other women in leadership. The more they see women doing the kind of things they might be called to, the more they will have a sense of confidence and conviction. Women also tend to be much more sensitive to any kind of criticism. In the early stages maybe the first time they preach, or the first time they lead a meeting – if I was their leader I would be very intentional about guarding a female leader from criticism and feedback afterwards. I would tell people that if they had feedback then to come to me and I would filter it through to her because, for whatever reason, especially when you’re starting off in leadership, if you get criticised it can knock you back quite a long way.

Clearly not everyone in the church shares your views on women in leadership. How do you deal with this? No woman is able to go through her whole leadership journey without coming across some negative opinions. Sometimes, the way those things are said have the potential to be hurtful or to offend you. For me, one of the most important things is that my heart stays soft, that I don’t end up with unprocessed hurt that causes it to grow a little bit harder, a little bit colder, a little bit more reactive.

A number of people have been won over by my leadership and I think one of the reasons is because they’ve seen a woman who’s clearly anointed in leadership but who’s not operating out of her own reactions. People have said to me that they really appreciate the fact that I don’t ‘bang a drum’ about the issue of female leadership all the time, or that I’ve been in a room where something offensive has been said and I’ve not taken offence. They see that I have the ability to pour grace on those things. I would recommend that female leaders do this intentionally because the worst thing we can do in the cause for women in leadership is end up being reactive, hurt, cynical leaders who, therefore, become less effective in our leadership. The best leaders are able to counteract all kinds of sin, rubbish, and hurtful comments, and yet stay soft hearted. It’s not easy and sometimes you need the help of others to process forgiveness and talk out your emotion. When you come across people who theologically aren’t able to embrace women in leadership, choose to never take that personally. They’re operating out of their own good conscience, out of what they believe to be the most biblical stance that you can have, and they’re doing so because they have a high view of scripture. Women leaders need a dose of supernatural grace to be able to navigate the leadership journey without getting bitter and twisted. At the end of the day, when I to get to the end of my life I want to see Jesus face-to-face with a heart that has stayed soft and full of intimacy for him. That’s the prize we’re all going for.

Summer 2014


LIBERTI feature

sway, but that God’s voice has got to be the loudest.


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Leonie's story


My life used to be all over the place; hectic and confusing.


hen I was young, I was abused. Because I couldn’t change my past, I felt I had to find something in my life to control. For me, that was food. It was the only way that I could deal with what had happened to me. I developed an eating disorder and started taking drugs. At one of my lowest points I heard about Mercy Ministries UK. My boss, who worked for a women’s charity, told me about the residential programme they offered. When I heard about Mercy, I knew I wanted to go. But it was a battle; I didn’t know that I really wanted to give up all I’d ever known. I wasn’t sure I wanted to take responsibility and deal with things myself. And all the time that I was applying for the programme, I was slipping lower and lower and going deeper into pain. Forgiving myself was one of my biggest challenges: just learning to be free from the guilt of all the stuff I’d done. One day, I wrote out my life story. I literally wrote in detail about everything that had ever happened to me everything I had done. I bared it all. There was one part of my story that I felt I just couldn’t write, still don’t like to write, but in the end I poured everything out and gave it to my facilitator to read. I was astonished when she looked at me just the way she always had. I kept wondering if she’d actually read it and was scared, but nothing changed. It was incredible.

Knowing that someone could know my story and still love me lifted this massive weight off my shoulders. It’s been five years since I left Mercy; it’s been a long journey and at times a hard one. There’s still so much I’m working through. But it’s good. At the moment I’m just beginning to realise my dreams. I have so many. I want to realise them and go for them; to listen to God and see where He wants me to go. For me, my journey has been all about trusting God and allowing Him to carry on His work. It’s all about what He does in me. My healing has come from a place of love, and it’s the best healing I can get.

Mercy Ministries UK is a national charity which provides a six-month residential discipleship programme for young women aged 18-28, who are suffering from life-controlling issues such as eating disorders, self-harm, depression, and the effects of abuse in all its forms. The charity also works to help women around the UK find freedom and to walk in the fullness that God has for them through conferences, training and resources.

Summer 2014




A perfect contradiction - Paloma Faith

music to our ears

Candyfloss at the fair, lava lamps in the lounge, sponge fingers with your coffee…. these kind of enduring experiences of retro-revelry require suitable musical accompaniment. The third album from eccentric and theatrical Paloma Faith is a perfect fit!


Surrounded by a cast of established writers and producers, it’s not the songs, or even the musicianship, that deliver the winning strike - even though Pharrell Williams co-wrote and produced lead single ‘Can’t Rely On You’ and legendary hit-writer Diane Warren penned ‘Only Love Can Hurt Like This’. The overwhelming victor is the pleasing scent of 60’s motown-soul, and it’s a fragrance so contagious it will induce an outbreak of smiling. In a fluctuating world of favour and fan-bases, remixes and re-inventions, never knowing whether the fame elevator is heading for the penthouse or the basement, Faith appears liberated, having found an appropriate home for her character and vocal style.

Fire within Birdy Extraordinary. Gifted. Inspiring. Poetic. Only 17. Lymington-born Jasmine van den Bogaerde, known as Birdy, is an exceptional talent. Her second studio album overflows with enticing melodies, thoughtful lyrical rhyme and is swathed in atmosphere - undeniably reinforcing her stature as a ‘significant artist’. Collaborations with chart-topping writers deliver quality songs - the beautiful fragility in ‘Words As Weapons’, the epic-charm in ‘Strange Birds’ and the hope-stirring in ‘Standing In The Way Of The Light’, are all brilliant… but her solo-penned ‘Shine’, a piano ballad, radiates! A 2014 BRIT Awards nomination, songs on movie soundtracks ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Brave’, and an expanding global profile, leaves me wondering where this birdy will fly to next.

Reconstructed volume 1 - Jesus Culture Seasoned listeners to Jesus Culture need to approach ‘Reconstructed’ with fresh ears. To put it another way…if Jesus Culture morphed into the egg menu of a top hotel’s breakfast buffet, then you’ve just chosen ‘hard-boiled’ instead of the usual ‘over easy’! Remixer Lucas Hogg, a.k.a. ‘Oh Snap It’s Luke!’, has taken songs from previous albums, recreated and re-fashioned them in vivid electronic clothing. The original vocalists feature, but any resemblance to previous recordings ends there. Instead, fat sounds rave between dance and dubstep beats, digital seizures skate over pulse-tronic keys and the end result is a stirring, fun, creative wardrobe. Highlights include both Torwalt songs ‘He Is The Light’ and Florence & The Machine-esque ‘King Of All The Earth’; ‘Pursuit’ is edgy and ‘Show Me Your Glory’ looks amazing in new apparel.

Summer 2014



LIBERTI finance

Fusion There’s Only One Me In This World!

Encouraging a generation of young girls and women to rise up and discover who they were made to be... Join Emily, every Tuesday at 9pm on Cross Rhythms Tune in on computer or mobile: Or listen anytime at: 60

Summer 2014

© iStock | BlueOrange Studio


{cinema} by SOPHIE LISTER

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (4 July)


at the cinema

2010’s How To Train Your Dragon was the best kind of surprise – a non-Pixar animation with real heart, not to mention laughs, and some unforgettable airborne sequences. Now, misfit Viking Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his scaly best friend Toothless are back for an even bigger adventure. Bring the whole family and prepare to take flight. © 20th Century Fox

Boyhood (11 July) Director Richard Linklater, known for the beautifully honest Before trilogy, has taken the natural feel of his films one step further. Boyhood, which was shot intermittently over the course of twelve years, tells the story of how young Mason (Ellar Coltrane) grows up in the care of divorced parents (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke). Expect something powerful and completely unique. © IFC Films

Before I Go to Sleep (5 September)

What if you woke up every morning with no memory of who you were, or of your life up to this point? That was the premise of bestselling thriller Before I Go To Sleep, now coming to the screen. Nicole Kidman is amnesiac Christine, who is fighting to put the pieces of her past back together – but will she be able to live with what she finds? © BBC Films

© Walt Disney Pictures

Guardians of the Galaxy (1 August) Summer is always the season of the blockbuster, but this year’s screen heroes aren’t who you might expect. At a time when comic-book films are growing ever grittier and darker, Guardians of the Galaxy bucks the trend. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is a roguish pilot who steals a mysterious orb, and becomes the object of an intergalactic manhunt. He must team up with a group of alien misfits, including green Gamora (Zoe Saldana), humanoid tree Groot (Vin Diesel), and a talking raccoon (Bradley Cooper). Guardians of the Galaxy could collapse under its own silliness, or it could inject some fun back into the superhero genre; either way, it’s likely to be just as daft as it sounds.

Sophie Lister is a writer with Damaris which provides free resources for Damaris Film Clubs as well as the Damaris. Film Blog. See and

Summer 2014


The awkward question

LIBERTI finance

Money. It’s a subject many of us are keen to avoid. Personal and private, some of us fear that talking about the topic will become more heated than discussing politics. So it’s not surprising that many couples wait a long time before asking that awkward question… shall we share money? Everyone has a different view on how couples should manage their finances. What’s right? What’s wrong? And is what’s mine, really yours? It’s time to sit down, take a long, deep breath and think this through.

Don’t avoid, discuss!


Don’t run from the subject of money, run towards it. The faster you discuss cash as a couple, the better it will be in the long-term. Setting some time aside to talk through finances, and being open and honest about how you want to handle it is worth its weight in gold. Whether you want to share or separate your money, you need to discuss it with your partner and come to a compromise. If your views don’t immediately match, try to understand where your other half is coming from. Experiences and events may well have shaped their view. There is no black and white when it comes to managing finances, so take time to understand your partner’s view and ask ask why they think this way.

What’s yours is mine? What’s yours is mine, but does this apply to finances? A quarter of cohabiting partners and more than half of married couples pool





Summer 2014

Communication is key

© iStock | Viktor Gladkov

Saying that, sharing finances definitely has its benefits. For some, the principle of sharing is a way of demonstrating trust in one another, for others it’s less hassle when one person takes the financial reigns. Many people still choose to share finances and it works really well. For those sharing cash, communication is key. Keep each other in the loop and make sure your partner knows exactly where your balance stands. Rachel (married eighteen years) has always shared money. She says, ‘I feel that over the years having regular discussions about how we spend our money has actually brought us closer together as a

couple. It encourages us to be really open and honest with one another about what is important to us.’ Claire (married for seven years) suggests that couples who share finances should subdivide their money into various bank accounts, allowing them to know exactly what is going where, ‘We basically subdivide our money into five shared ‘pots’ as follows: house, car, holidays, food and long term savings. The only separation is in our final two accounts: my pocket money and my husband’s pocket money.’ She also adds, ‘These pocket money accounts immediately gave us the freedom to know that we had agreed the amount that we each had that was ‘ours’ to spend on whatever we wanted each month. It meant that we no longer felt like we had to check with the other before spending £100 on new clothes for example. Really freeing, yet still collaborative.’

Money Course is a free money management course that offers a simple structure and plan to follow – allowing couples to control their spending and save for the future. Finding out what works for you and sticking with it, and keeping communication in place along the way, will enable you and your partner to tie the knot on your finances – knowing what you do and don’t want to do.


all of their money, taking what they need from the pool. However, not all couples are eager to share finances. Louise (married sixteen years) says that, ‘If two people are using the same account, it can be hard to know what is in there and there’s a risk of it becoming a blame game’. It seems more couples than ever are choosing to keep their money separate, so if you’re thinking of taking this approach you’re not alone. Keeping your cash separate will arguably enable you both to take responsibility and be sensible with spending. It may prevent arguments and allow you to treat your partner to the occasional surprise now and then. If you’re both keen to take control, then perhaps this is the solution for you?

No matter how you decide to handle finances, talking together and coming up with a plan is vital. Set aside time each month to relook at finances and revise plans, changing with circumstances and keeping an eye on your cash.

Need Help? Dealing with money as a couple is not easy and takes time, effort and energy. There are many routes to take and a lot of different advice out there. If you need extra help getting to grips with finances, the CAP

Summer 2014


In Decent Exposure! spring fashion


Liberti love this gorgeous range of Audrey Hepburn inspired, vintage style swimwear. Who says it’s got to be itsy bitsy?

Holly in Nile Blue £47


Summer 2014

spring fashion


Marie in Candy Dots ÂŁ59

Summer 2014


From Left to Right: Caroline in Creamsicle £59 Jo in Fleur £47 Ann in Blue Lagoon £59 Marie in Candy Dots £59

spring fashion



Summer 2014

spring fashion


Prices approximate (converted from US dollars) shipping worldwide

Summer 2014


Ann in Seaspray £59

Check out Liberti fashion editor, Emma Greenwood, on Pinterest (this month’s Fashion Board: In Decent Exposure!).


Summer 2014




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Last word: Simple


last word


Steady yourselves folks. There has been a new heartstoppingly exciting development in our area. The social media buzz is extraordinary. It is the centre of animated conversation at the end of church. Yes – we have a new Waitrose store. It has free coffee and newspapers, middle class bunches of flowers and fancy schmancy sun-dried whatevers. Previously average shoppers are now to be found flouncing down the aisles clutching their lattes while considering the benefits of organic pasta. It’s all a bit beyond me. I’m a simple girl with simple tastes; I was a child in the 70s after all, brought up on a diet of Brain’s Faggots, Findus Crispy Pancakes, Smash (gag), and perfectly smooth tinned potatoes or soggy, sweet tinned carrots. Food was (in stark contrast to the interior design palette of the decade), almost unanimously beige. Every now and then we would go crazy and get something really exotic like satsumas (at Christmas, and only at Christmas) or a box of dates that nobody ever ate. I never even knew that Chinese food existed until I went to university. No – we liked our food bland, beige and bad – and all served with a good blob of tomato ketchup or its jaunty summer sister: salad cream. And goodness – what a treat it was to venture out for fish and chips in real newspaper! What indulgence! And where else would you go anyway, apart from a pub with a dark and dingy kids’ room out the back where we children would be abandoned with some cheese

and onion crisps while the grown ups had fun elsewhere? Forward wind four decades. Just consider our bright and bustling streets, full of family friendly restaurants, coffee shops galore and kids that chomp on chorizo flatbreads while they sip on their babycinos. It’s another world! And of course, it is still is another world to most of the world. Our increase in living standards has not been mirrored in the lives of so many people with whom we share this planet. I often think of the girl we sponsor in Ethiopia, her family and her house where I stood and admired their one family mattress and their donkey a year ago now. They were amazing people with dreams of an education and enough food for the day. Their kindness, their hospitality and their gratitude left me humbled and challenged.

matter what the marketeers tell us. While we live in the amniotic fluid of a culture that breathes self-obsession and the quest for more, we must maintain an awareness that we are unbelievably privileged and blessed. We are called to be disciples, not consumers, and it is good for us to be grateful, and for us to discipline ourselves too – to settle for simplicity sometimes. It is good for our soul. By all means, do enjoy that latte, and thank God it’s not the 70’s anymore. But can we also consider how to free up more of our thinking, our time and our resources in order to invest our lives into stuff that really matters? We are blessed to be a blessing. What a wonderful privilege that is.

It is important to remember that we don’t deserve luxury; we are not entitled to it – no


Summer 2014

© iStock | Okea

Cathy Madavan is a regular speaker for Care for the Family, on the Spring Harvest leadership team, a writer for CWR and is working on her first book. At home, Cathy is married to Mark, a church leader, and they have two busy and wonderful teenage girls. twitter: @cathymadavan Facebook: Cathy Madavan Speaker/Presenter/Writer page

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LIBERTI magazine : July / Sept 2014  

Liberti is a dynamic, independent women's magazine with a vision to encourage, equip and inspire women living in today's world.

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