Keep the Faith magazine Issue 129

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FANTASIA BARRINO The Star of Hollywood’s

Remake of ‘The Color Purple’



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Tutor for Discipleship and Theology – Networks & Learning Resources Full-Time, Fixed-Term [3 years] The Queen’s Foundation seeks an appropriately qualified and experienced person to take up a new post as tutor for networks and learning resources within the Centre for Discipleship and Theology. The person appointed will be able to work on the design, delivery, and recruitment for and marketing of new, non-accredited learning programmes, and will be a good collaborator, working with academic colleagues across the Foundation. Queen’s is proud to be a diverse community that particularly nurtures the vocations and gifts of Black and Asian Christians. Closing date for applications is 2pm, Monday 19th February 2024.

Produced by Terrence Higgins Trust for . © Terrence Higgins Trust, 2024. Terrence Higgins Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (reg. no. 288527) and in Scotland (SC039986).Company reg no. 1778149. Photography by George Powell.

Full details can be found on the Queen’s website at:





Marcia Dixon MBE


SUB-EDITOR Jackie Raymond

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THE PUBLISHER WOULD LIKE TO THANK: Dr T Ayodele Ajayi, Karen Allen, Milton Allen, Joy Ani, Pastor Yvonne Brooks, Gary Clayton, Akosua DF, Juliet Fletcher, Aleka Gutzmore, O’Neil Dennis, Esther Kuku, Funke Oham, Michelle Raymond, Joy Roxborough, Carol Stewart, Verona White, Olivia Williams, Yanique Taylor, Stephen Thurston, our advertisers and supporters.

The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Publisher.

Dear Readers, Welcome to the very first edition of Keep The Faith for 2024. I don’t know about you, but I have started this year running, and I’m excited about what it holds for the magazine, the wider Christian community, and myself. This issue comes out with two important dates impending: Valentine’s Day and International Women’s Day. There are articles reflecting the ethos of these special days. Check out the article on dating and finding a spouse, and another on why friendship is a great basis for building a strong marriage. Women feature heavily in this edition. I interviewed entertainer-cum-Hollywood actress Fantasia Barrino, who stars as Celie in the film musical remake of The Color Purple. She was a delight to interview. Have a read. There are also other interviews with top ladies: gospel star Kierra Sheard, daughter of gospel legend Karen Clarke-Sheard; Diana Hamilton – the queen of gospel in Ghana; and Special Olympic champion Loretta Claiborne. We have our annual spotlight on Christian women having impact within and outside the Church, and there are also articles about the importance of sisterhood, motherhood, Black women in business, and much more. We haven’t forgotten about the men in this edition! There’s a story about the forthcoming retirement of Bishop Eric Brown, former leader of the New Testament Church of God; and a profile of gospel DJ pioneer, Dave Paul. And, of course, we have articles from our regulars – Pastor Yvonne Brooks, Karen Allen, Olivia Williams, Dr T Ayodele Ajayi, Gary Clayton, and Verona White. I pray and hope you enjoy the content of the magazine and that it leaves you informed, inspired and motivated. Enjoy.

Marcia Dixon Marcia Dixon MBE Editor

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05 Keep The Faith presents award to pioneering church leader 05 Launch of refuge for women experiencing domestic abuse and violence

24 Fantasia Barrino – The artist who keeps things real By Marcia Dixon MBE 27 Turbulent priests and blessed peacemakers By Gary Clayton

05 New hair care service for Black women with cancer

30 This is my story, this is my song By Marcia Dixon MBE

06 Bishop Eric Brown announces retirement from Pastoral Ministry

32 Food for thought By Marcia Dixon MBE

08 The DJ supporting independent artists By Global Music Link

33 Nothing is impossible By Joy Roxborough

10 Diana Hamilton – Ghana's gospel queen By Juliet Fletcher

34 Children are the future By Karen Allen

13 StepFWD Gospel News By O'Neil Dennis

36 Celebrating the many faces of motherhood By Funke Oham

16 Gospel's sweetheart Kierra Sheard talks motherhood, sisterhood and new children's book By Akosua DF 18 Christian women making an impact in the Church and society By Marcia Dixon MBE

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30 40 The power of Christian sisterhood By Esther Kuku 44 The friendship factor in relationships By Stephen J Thurston

37 The who, what, when and where of setting boundaries By Dr T Ayodele Ajayi

45 A guide for spring cleaning your curly afro-textured hair By Verona White

39 Celebrating Black women in the north who often get overlooked By Carol Stewart

46 Building money confidence and financial well-being By Aleka Gutzmore


Keep The Faith presents award to pioneering church leader Leading para-church organisation Ascension Trust, the umbrella organisation of Street Pastors and founded by Rev Les Isaac OBE, recently commemorated their 30th anniversary with a special dinner at Westminster Central Hall. The charity, which started out as an organisation that led youth missions, has expanded and now runs a range of initiatives, including youth leadership programmes and health campaigns in the UK and abroad. During the celebration, attended by people from across the UK, Marcia Dixon MBE, Editor/ Publisher of Keep The Faith Magazine presented Rev Isaac with a lifetime achievement award for his work and service to the Christian community and wider society. He stepped down from his role as CEO of the Ascension Trust in 2022, and it is now led by Bejoy Pal. Ms Dixon said: “Rev Isaac is a church leader with a heart to build God’s Kingdom and serve the wider community. He has also, over the years, been a big supporter of Keep The Faith magazine, so it was an honour to present Rev Isaac with a lifetime achievement award. It is well deserved.” Visit

Launch of refuge for women experiencing domestic abuse and violence

Safe Arms, a leading domestic abuse charity based in Kent, recently opened a refuge to provide support for victims of domestic abuse and violence. The refuge is the brainchild Liz SegunKingsley, Founder of Safe Arms, and its various services will include accommodation, personalised care plans, holistic recovery

programmes and relevant cultural care for users of African and Caribbean descent. Clients will be able to live at the centre for a maximum of two years. It’s hoped that, by the end of their stay, women will be equipped to find work or start their own business. The refuge is open to women of all nationalities, and Mrs Segun-Kingsley hopes women of African and Caribbean origin will make full use of the service’s provision. She explained: “I have conducted key academic research on the issue of domestic abuse over the years, and one of my findings was that there was a great need for safe houses for victims of domestic abuse and violence within the Black community. Although there are safe houses in existence, Black women are often reluctant to use them because they couldn’t see people who looked like them on staff, and were concerned they wouldn’t get the care they need. This new centre seeks to allay those fears.”

Help is at hand for Black female cancer sufferers – and those in remission – to understand how to care for their afro hair, following the launch of C & Hair, a new project led by Lorna Jones and funded by MacMillan Cancer Support and Croydon BME Forum. Ms Jones is a qualified trichologist and, along with her team – which comprises counsellors, therapists, wig specialists, and hair loss specialists – will provide emotional support and hair-care advice for individuals undergoing cancer treatment and those in remission. The service will initially be available to women resident in Bexleyheath, Bromley, Lambeth, Southwark, Greenwich, Croydon and Lewisham. In addition to providing hair advice and emotional support, C & Hair will also provide 1-to-1 wig consultations, monthly webinars, and in-person workshops, where women can learn about scalp cooling, which can help reduce hair loss caused by chemotherapy treatments, and how to tie headwraps. C & Hair will also provide free training for salon owners and hairdressers, so they can better support their clients who have cancer. Visit or email





ne of Britain’s most respected Black Pentecostal church leaders, Bishop Eric Brown, along with his wife, Reverend Millicent Brown, recently announced their retirement from frontline pastoral leadership after 49 years of unbroken service. Bishop Brown’s and Rev Millicent’s tenure as leaders of flagship New Testament Church of God (NTCG) congregation, Brixton Community Church (BCC), ends on March 31. SERVING THE CHURCH AND SOCIETY It was in 1973 that Eric Brown, as he was then known, and his wife, Millicent, embarked on a three-year training programme for ministry at the European Bible Seminary, Germany. Bishop Brown received his first appointment to the pastorate in Hornsey, North London. Since then, Bishop and Reverend Brown have led six fellowships and served in high office.

He was National Youth Director of NTCG for eight years, and served as National Administrative Bishop of NTCG UK for an unprecedented 12 years. She was National Director of Women’s Ministries. Bishop Brown also served on the Church of God World Missions Board for 10 years, and as Church of God Superintendent for the UK, Ireland and Norway. Alongside serving NTCG, Bishop Brown held roles in the wider church and society. He was the first Pentecostal President of Churches Together in England; was a commissioner at The Commission for Racial Equality; a member of the Parole Board; Co-founder and Chairman of Trustees of Citizens UK; and Co-founder of The Peace Alliance. THE BRIXTON COMMUNITY CHURCH (BCC) Bishop Brown began his pastorate at BCC in 2015, with a strong social as well as religious purpose. Through his expository preaching and teaching people were converted to the faith and the church grew. Significantly, many leaders have emerged whose gifts are now being deployed for the benefit of the Church and community. In addition, Bishop Brown has successfully prepared the young people as the next generation of trailblazers and leaders. During his time at BCC, Bishop Brown led a number of initiatives which included a Memorial Service for deceased loved ones – and particularly for those who passed away during the COVID-19 period; a civic service and street party, celebrating Windrush 75; and a Special Family Service for all children dedicated at the Brixton Community Church over the years. Bishop Brown also oversaw the refurbishment of the church. The Family Heritage Hall is a part of that legacy. BBC DOCUMENTARY AND QUEEN’S PLATINUM JUBILEE Under his watch, Bishop Brown granted the BBC unprecedented insight into the heart and soul of the church. The documentary, ‘Life and Death the Pentecostal Way’, was the result and was rated the second-best documentary the BBC produced in 2017. He also galvanised the community in 2022, with a street party celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. After an illustrious 49 years in ministry, Bishop Brown has hinted that, following his retirement, a book is on the horizon, where he will document his life story and ministry. Commenting on his time serving the church and wider community, Bishop Brown stated: “Preaching the liberating Word of Jesus Christ, being a voice for the voiceless, standing up against injustices are what distinguishes true servants from hirelings. “Throughout the years I have strived to be a servant, and by God’s grace have avoided the entrapment of power and status. “Loving people, helping them to find and pursue their purpose in life, seeing them operating in their gifts, and making waves in their chosen fields are among the things which are my greatest thrill in life. “I am forever grateful to Almighty God for His unfailing grace, and to my adorable wife and our children for their untiring support. Now by God’s grace I can give them my undivided attention.”

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Principal The Governors of the Queen’s Foundation are seeking a Principal to succeed Professor Clive Marsh who retires at the end of the academic year. Queen’s supports ministry development, ordained and lay, in many denominations, including the Wesleyan Holiness Church. It is the home of the highly-respected Centre for Black Theology. We are looking for someone who can rise to the challenges and maximise the strengths of this remarkable institution; someone who will rejoice in its diversity, bring leadership to the Foundation as a whole, and continue to foster vibrancy and consistency across its work. If you think that might be you, please see our website for details of how to apply, plus an applicant pack. Closing date: Monday February 26. Interviews: (at the Queen’s campus in Birmingham) Tuesday/Wednesday, March 12/13.

Full details can be found on the Queen’s website at:


THE DJ SUPPORTING INDEPENDENT ARTISTS Legendary UK gospel DJ Dave P spoke to Global Music Link about his love for his work, and his support of independent gospel artists


lobal Music Link recently had an engaging conversation with Dave P, Founder and Director (together with Helen Paul) of UGN Media Limited, which is responsible for the running of UGN Jamz Radio. The conversation touched on many things and chronicled his broadcasting journey over the last 35 years. What emerged is a remarkable story about a man who has a heart for the independent gospel artists, hence Mr Dave Paul has earned the title of ‘Dean of the New Breed’ of gospel artists. As a young man, Dave always loved music and his dream was to be a radio presenter. He would listen to a variety of radio stations from the UK and different faraway places. Radio Luxembourg was a favourite on his little handset radio. Dave got his first radio job playing gospel on community station Star FM. He then moved to Station FM – a very popular community station, where he presented three shows broadcast on Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays, before joining Choice FM. Choice, at the time, was one of the most well-known Black stations in the UK, with its gospel show amongst the most popular. Whilst at Station FM, a remarkable thing happened to Dave. The station manager came into the studio, saying: “Dave, I can't believe it!

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They're listening to your show all over in the market and they are loving your gospel music. That's never happened before!!!” In Dave’s words, “For me, that was a remarkable thing, very inspiring, and it's what I really love doing.” Dave’s consuming passion for independent recording artists was inspired by his many trips to the States.

"If you want to get airplay on mainstream radio then you’ve got to be really listening to what's happening now by listening to radio stations’ formats."

stations, big guys, playing the same stuff over and over again and some of these independent artists are writing even better songs, producing better music, but not getting airplay. I love to support independent artists, especially as UGN Jamz Radio is an independent media platform. I love what we do. The way I see it, we all need support.” During our wide-ranging conversation, we asked Dave how does he engage with this ‘new breed’ of independent gospel artist. Does he nurture them? Guide them

along? Give them suggestions? He replied: “I do, indeed. I have confidence in what I say, with respect of course. Independent artists have to understand that it’s a free for all right now and you really have to work hard. For instance, if your vocals are not on par or if your production is not great, I would be honest and say you need to go and rethink this. If they respond: ‘Man, this song has Jesus, it mentions God, and mentions going to the throne’ then, with kindness, I would reply: ‘No, your music really has to be on point too, because if you want to get into mainstream radio as well, it needs to be of a higher standard.’ “If you want to get airplay on mainstream radio then you’ve got to be really listening to what's happening now by listening to radio stations’ formats. We’re not saying that you should be selling out or changing your lyrics; it’s more about thinking outside of the box when creating new songs and styles, instead of copying others. Find something inside of you and create something wonderful.” We asked Dave if he thought UK Gospel artists copy the Americans too much. His reply was: “That’s the thing with some people – they were copying too much, and everything sounds the same. I know full well that I'm not the best broadcaster in the world but, guess what? I believe I have a heart to present a radio show in a God-honouring way that is unique to me. Find that unique thing in yourself and your music and bring that to the table. You’ll find, people will like that person because they are natural.” Well, Mr Dave, we suppose that’s why you are known as ‘The Dean of the New Breed’!


He recalled: “I used to go quite a lot to America to attend the GMWA (Gospel Music Workshop of America). I met many independent artists who were very humble, and they would say to me: “You know, man, I got a CD here. If you take it back to the UK, I guarantee you’re going to like it. It’s a jam, man.” They were just grateful I took their music with me. When I took it back to the UK and listened to it, some of it was all right. I could feel the passion in their music and lyrics, and they just wanted to broaden their audience with radio airplay.” Dave continued: “When it comes to airplay, I put myself in their shoes to see it from their point of view. There are a lot of radio


DIANA HAMILTON GHANA’S GOSPEL QUEEN Juliet Fletcher talks with the multitalented, multifaceted Diana Hamilton, one of Ghana’s most loved female gospel artists


’m about to share with you an extraordinary interview with the fabulous Diana Hamilton. Despite our virtual interaction on Zoom, the absence of cameras highlighted the remarkable impact of her voice, the clarity of her story, and the insight gained from exploring her online presence. In over two hours of conversation, it became evident that Diana Hamilton is an exceptional artist within the gospel scene, evidenced by not just her music but her three-million-plus following on social media.

AN INTRODUCTION Allow me a bit more time in this introduction, as if I were on stage making an announcement… Diana Hamilton, a mature female artist at 48, stands as a testament to a multi-faceted individual – married, a mother, medical professional, singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, business owner, couture designer, charity campaigner, and an international performer. Without further embellishments, let me convey how excellence can be achieved and sustained over decades when one runs in their Godassigned lane. This piece might be your first encounter with Diana Hamilton but, under grace, it certainly won't be your last. Join me as we delve into the world of the Diana Hamilton Experience!

DESTINY, PASSION & PURPOSE Juliet Fletcher (JF): Diana, could you share details about your background and how your journey in gospel music began? Diana Hamilton (DH): I was born in Kumasi, Ghana, the third of eight children in a family deeply dedicated to the Church. My parents, Felix and Comfort Antwi, were dedicated to church ministry. My father was a praise and worship leader who then became a pastor and then an apostle in the Church of Pentecost, founded by a Scottish missionary named James McKeown. My musical journey started at 13 as a backup singer for renowned Ghanaian gospel artist Francis Agyei. Later I pursued nursing, driven by a genuine care for people which is the foundation of my ministry. While training as

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a State Enrolled Nurse [SEN], I met my husband, Joseph Hamilton, who was training as a doctor. He also knew me as an active singer, so he was familiar with my music passion. JF: Didn’t you see music as steering you away from all that medical training? DH: It wasn’t a detour; rather, my nursing journey complemented my music career. My husband and I, both in the medical field, had a clear vision for our unified work when we moved to the UK. Even amidst challenges, our strong marital bond allowed me to pursue my ministry. In 2007, my first album was produced by David Obeng Ennin, a friend known to me and my husband. David knew about my singing too, and I recall when he met me at the training school gates and said: “I’m gonna wait until you finish your training and I’ll make your first album.” And he did! This marked the beginning of my solo ministry.

MUSIC STYLES, TEAMWORK & TOURING JF: Your diverse pursuits, including music, design and charity imply a significant team effort. How does that collaboration work? DH: Surprisingly, it doesn’t require a large team. My core team comprises of my husband, Joseph; David Ennin (now my road manager); and Charles Koranteng of 316 Media, who is my manager. JF: Do you mean the man fondly called Uncle Charles, known for the African Gospel Music and Media Awards (AGMMA) and as a broadcaster of various radio shows on quality platforms? DH: Yes, he’s played a pivotal role in my

journey. Other key contributors include Sam Blankson in videography and photography, and Felicia Gyan, my PA managing administration. They form the backbone of my team. We seek out supporting subcontractors for various aspects, and the commitment from everyone remains unwavering. JF: Your music, described as Contemporary African Gospel, showcases a unique blend. How do you differentiate it from traditional African gospel music? DH: I’d say, contemporary African gospel music fuses Western popular music with African rhythms and lyrics. It transcends geographical and cultural boundaries. In contrast, traditional music centres on indigenous instruments and local languages, often tied to specific cultures or regions. JF: Well, tell me how does your music band work for you? DH: When I am in the UK, I have a UK band and singers, who are continually prepped with all my songs. For Ghana I have two bands – I just call them my PL Crew: one for the north of Ghana and the other for the south. Then a brass section. JF: I am amazed at your brass section. I have watched your videos. They don’t use sheet music to play. DH: My music director in the UK would write out the sheet music for brass. It was good of course, but the feel and expression was not the same. These amazing Ghanaian players imbibe my style and just play in harmonic unity!


JF: I see you’ve released a single ‘Shout for Joy’ with UK-based artist Wole Awolola. DH: Yes, I used to release albums. I found that with albums many of my songs were missed or overlooked, so I started to release singles with and without videos. I found each song received more traction. At a suitable time, I would compile them into albums. It’s much more effective. JF: That’s interesting because in all your videos I can see everyone singing along, knowing the lyrics. A lot of your songs are in the Ghanaian language. DH: You say that and I’m surprised. Many, if not most, of my songs are sung in English or a combination.

JF: Your annual tour, ‘The Diana Hamilton Experience’, has gained significant attention. Can you shed light on its origin? DH: It was conceived for my 10-year anniversary in 2014, held in London and in subsequent two cities in Ghana. It has become the annual tradition. Unfortunately, 2021 saw a pause due to lockdown. The sold-out shows feature my big-band line-up and my meticulously dressed ensemble. I design their clothing through, a clothing design company I co-own with my sister.


JF: Has that been an issue? Are you hurt by my question? DH: No, not hurt at all. I just see it as a point of education. It’s clear we are in worship and praise, and people just get to know and feel who is the centre of our joy and adoration. JF: I agree. I feel quite deprived and ignorant that I don’t have a second language and find remembering African lyrics and names difficult. In any case, I rejoice because we are of the same Spirit and knowledge. It’s apparent.

JF: That’s amazing. You had to give up nursing and now… (Diana interrupts me) DH: Oh no! I’m still a practice nurse and my husband is a practice GP in Kent where we live. We both fulfil our passions for people. The Diana Hamilton Foundation reflects our commitment to social causes. It focuses on health promotion and education, aiding those with potential but insufficient resources for tuition or medical needs. We are currently completing a five-storey building for students. The Diana Hamilton Foundation is a registered charity in Ghana.

JF: What about being signed to a record label? Have you ever wanted that, or don’t you think you need it? DH: To be honest I don’t know what it means to be a signed artist; I’ve never been offered a recording contract. I’ve just carried on with all I do proficiently with God’s help and my dedicated team. It’s working!

JF: Fantastic! I’m just wondering what you do with all those beautifully designed clothes. You need a house just to store them! DH: Actually, we are contemplating holding an exhibition and hopefully raising money for our Foundation, as some of the clothes are really unusual and not everyday wear. It’s

like a burden and we want to do something practical and useful with them. JF: They are amazing. I think you should contact The V&A (Victoria & Albert) Museum. They might be interested in their cultural relevance, and the original materials are astounding. DH: That’s an interesting idea. Thank you. JF: Balancing music, ministry and motherhood – the three MMMs – must present challenges. How have you managed these roles? DH: Now I always pray: “Father God, order my steps. Cause me to meet the right people from places I least expect.” And I just expect that to happen – and it has. Guided by faith and supported by a committed husband, I’ve followed the path set for me. My nursing practice and influence in the community align with my identity. With God and a consistent team for over 20 years, including my husband, I’ve navigated the three Ms with fulfilment. Explore Diana’s songs, websites and videos, and mark your calendar for her next event. Immerse yourself in ‘The Diana Hamilton Experience’, just as we have in this interview. Visit

Juliet Fletcher is the Creative Director of Green Tree Productions and Windrush Church and Music. She is also the founder of the Gospel Music Industry Alliance.



We have entered 2024 with optimism and excitement about what the year has to offer, and it’s always important to keep up to date with UK Christian & Gospel Music and some of the artists who seem set to have an incredible year. DJ Haych shares his ‘Ones to Watch’ in 2024:

From winning The Voice UK to her recent Christmas Single, ‘This Christmas’, and 2023 MOBO Award nomination, Annatoria has shown her versatility and growth as an artist and worship leader – as well as a social media influencer – through the last couple of years. 2024 feels like a year where we will get a lot more music, including a potential album that I feel will cement Annatoria as a continuous ‘one to watch’ for years to come. Connect on Instagram @annatoria__

KAYE-MARIE Christian r&b/neo-soul artist Kaye Marie has vowed to be more consistent with her music and, if you’ve listened to ‘Lives In You’ and ‘With Him’, you’ll understand why there is such a buzz around her. You can hear her music being played on any r&b stage or commercial radio station, which fills me with much excitement to see where her music journey goes next in 2024. Connect on Instagram @__kayemarie__

PGGM This duo has been giving us the amazing afrobeats/Caribbean/hip-hop-type fusion through their music for a couple of years now and, coming off the back of their 2023 album, ‘Outside, Seaside’, I expect them to soar even more in 2024. Connect on Instagram @pggmofficial

REBLAH If you know hip-hop in the UK Gospel scene, Reblah must always get a mention. Without a shadow of a doubt, he has done some great things over the last few years but, with his ANNATORIA



latest album, ‘Holy Impact’, to be released, 2024 feels like it’s going to be another spectacular year for him. Connect on Instagram @reblahgram

SHARYN Having given us the 80s-inspired ‘Divine’ single towards the end of the year, Sharyn has already hinted at a new album in 2024, and fans of her debut album, ‘In Full Bloom’, will be looking forward with eager anticipation to what she has in store for us musically. Connect on Instagram @sharynofficial

STILL SHADEY 2022 Gospel MOBO Award-winning Still Shadey has created a lane for himself that only he can run in, from his Tiny Desk-type ‘Shadey’s Room’ to his music being featured on BBC Radio 1Xtra, it’s exciting to see what stories his music will tell us in 2024. Connect on Instagram @stillshadey PGGM



TOFUNMI ADORNA 2023 Premier Gospel’s Best Newcomer, Tofunmi, blessed us with her EP ‘All In Good Time’ and really gave us a bit of an insight into the amazing artist she can become. Although, as with any newcomer award, it can feel daunting on what to produce next, I have no doubt that Tofunmi – now with a MOBO Award nomination under her belt – will show her growth in all aspects of her artistry and her music in 2024. Connect on Instagram @tofunmi.adorna


This collection of musicians and singers has been putting on live worship events throughout the UK, where they have had surprise special guests, including the likes of Becca Folkes, Ryan Ofei and Sinach. After starting in 2022, 2024 feels like a year where Warehouse Worship will start to release their own music and I am looking forward to it. Connect on Instagram @warehouseworshipuk There are a lot more artists I could mention, and that fact makes 2024 a very pivotal year for gospel music in the UK.

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AStepFWD and UK Christian Charts mark their 10-year anniversary in March 2024


emember back in 2014? You were probably rocking out to the Christafari remix of Hillsong's ‘Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)’ (which, let's be honest, you’re still belting in the shower). But somewhere within the UK's vibrant Christian music scene, the seeds of innovation were sown, birthing a movement that would amplify talent, celebrate creativity, and inspire countless individuals across the United Kingdom and beyond. As we approach March 2024, AStepFWD and the UK Christian Charts proudly commemorate their remarkable 10-year journey – a decade defined by unparalleled dedication to showcasing the best in Christian and gospel music. Over the past 10 years, AStepFWD has evolved into a dynamic community, fostering connections and collaborations among artists, songwriters, musicians, producers, industry experts, music enthusiasts, churches

and other organisations. Its commitment to supporting and uplifting the Christian and gospel music industry has been unwavering, propelling talent into the limelight and providing a platform for diverse voices and music genres to be heard. A pivotal component of AStepFWD’s legacy is the UK Christian Charts. This innovative ranking system has been instrumental in spotlighting the top Christian music releases, serving as a barometer of excellence and influence within the industry. The UK Christian Charts has not only acknowledged established artists but also provides emerging talents with a pathway to recognition and success. As we celebrate this significant milestone, the team behind AStepFWD and the UK Christian Charts express their heartfelt gratitude to the talented artists, dedicated supporters, industry partners, and the vibrant community that has been the



Sandra Godley honoured with OBE for charity work in King Charles III’s Honours list Singer, broadcaster and community champion Sandra Godley has been made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for charitable service to the community in Coventry. Sandra is a BBC CWR presenter, a trustee of Christians in Media, and an ambassador and advocate for the charity AtaLoss, which helps bereaved people find support and wellbeing as well as being a trustee of community station Radio Plus. “I’m so deeply moved to receive this award but it’s also a signal for me to do more. I hope this award encourages young people to live out their lives creatively. It’s time more women were helped to break the glass ceilings that exist in the music world. My Christian faith motivates me to love with no limits and pass on whatever I’ve learned.” Sandra Godley OBE

driving force behind a decade of success. Together, they have contributed to shaping a vibrant ecosystem that continues to thrive and evolve. To mark this extraordinary anniversary, a series of special events, exclusive releases, and collaborations are in the pipeline. Expect thrilling announcements, engaging content, and opportunities for artists and fans alike to celebrate this momentous occasion throughout the year. AStepFWD is not only celebrating a journey of milestones but also gearing up for an exciting future. The commitment to nurturing talent, promoting creativity and fostering a sense of community remains as strong as ever. As March 2024 approaches, join the celebration and be part of the journey as AStepFWD and the UK Christian Charts continue to pave the way for the next generation of inspirational music and creativity. For more information and updates about the 10-year anniversary celebrations, visit and stay connected on social media. Here’s to another decade of building bridges and stepping forward together.

University Gospel Choir of the Year back for 12th annual competition Get ready for a night of soul-stirring melodies and electrifying performances! The 12th University Gospel Choir of the Year is set to ignite the stage on 16th March, 2024, in Oasis House, Croydon. Join us for an unforgettable celebration of talent, passion and harmonies, as university choirs from across the nation showcase their vocal prowess and musical abilities. Get your tickets now at and be part of this exhilarating musical extravaganza that promises to uplift spirits and inspire hearts! “I can't wait to be back for our 12th year with some new choirs, new sounds and new challenges! Oasis House this 16th March is the place to be, as we come together once again from all over the country. Warm up your vocal chords as you will definitely be singing along!” Lorraine Wright MBE

26th annual MOBO Awards heads to Sheffield this 7th February The stage is set, and anticipation is at an all-time high as the prestigious MOBO Awards gears up to honour the brightest stars in music of Black origin. Among the nominees who shine brightly are the incredibly talented gospel artists, whose soulful voices and inspirational messages have captivated audiences worldwide. This year’s nominees are Annatoria, Limoblaze, CalledOut Music, Guvna B and Tofunmi Adorna. The winner will be announced at the MOBO Awards in Sheffield at the Utilita Arena on 7th February 2024 and, as always, it will be a tribute to the power of gospel music to touch hearts and uplift spirits across the UK and the globe. “The MOBO Awards Gospel category, in partnership with Premier Gospel, brilliantly illuminates the roots of pop culture. As gospel music forms the bedrock of Black music and, by extension, pop music, Premier Gospel's role in amplifying this genre is paramount. This partnership over the last eight years has celebrated gospel’s vibrant influence on our shared cultural landscape.” Muyiwa Olarewaju OBE

5 SONGS YOU SHOULD HAVE ON YOUR PLAYLIST StepFWD Awards is the UK’s definitive Christian and Gospel music awards, and celebrates the ‘Best of British’ every year! Here are five Song of the Year winners from the last awards ceremony that you need to have on your playlist. These are brought to you from the third annual StepFWD Awards, which is powered by the monthly UK Christian Charts. Enjoy! CONTEMPORARY GOSPEL: ‘I Still Believe’ by Volney Morgan & New Ye R&B/SOUL: ‘Walk With Me’ by CalledOut Music ft. Samm Henshaw & IMRSQD AFROBEAT: ‘Jireh (My Provider)’ by Limoblaze, Lecrae, Happi REGGAE: ‘God’s Plan’ by DJ Shunz ft. Chris Da Ambassada RAP: ‘MRS’ by Luke November


Gospel News is curated by O’Neil Dennis, Founder of, the UK Christian Charts, StepFWD Awards and more. To get in touch, email


Gospel’s Sweetheart

Kierra Sheard talks motherhood, sisterhood and new children’s book

‘All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be…’ (Psalm 139:16b NIV) springs to mind whenever you think of gospel sweetheart Kierra Sheard. Granddaughter of gospel’s legendary female choir director, the late Dr Mattie Moss Clark, and daughter of the legendary Karen Clark Sheard, Kierra was destined for gospel music greatness. The gospel music world fell in love with the fresh-faced little beauty, often seen gracing the stage alongside her mother, powerhouse soprano Karen Clark. Kierra’s highly anticipated debut album shot to the top of Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart in 2004, making her the first new artist to do so. The singer made Billboard headlines again in 2020, when she unseated Kanye West from his No 1 position on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart, abruptly bringing his six-month reign to a grinding halt with her sixth album, Kierra. With a captivating voice that arrests the attention of any listener, Kierra possesses the unique ability to ‘take her audience to church’, whether she’s performing at the White House or at a mainstream awards event. Not one to rest on her laurels, the multi-award-winning singer has added entrepreneur, actress and author to her list of accomplishments. Kierra took time out to talk with Akosua DF about motherhood, sisterhood, and her new kid’s book, Kiki Finds Her Voice. Akosua DF (ADF): You’ve grown up right before our eyes, so it’s surreal to watch you navigate motherhood. How are you finding it? What’s the one thing that’s surprised you most about yourself since becoming a mum? Kierra Sheard (KS): Motherhood is amazing. I’m taking it one step at a time… Staying prayerful. I have literally been praying and asking the Lord to anoint me to be how my mother has been to me, what my parents have been to me. I want my daughter to have the kind of relationship I have with my parents. I’ve been asking my parents questions as I go along, and then just surrounding myself with a village of mothers

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but they dropped out one by one because they didn’t want to sing a church song. It was only one girl that ended up singing with me and we received a standing ovation! To this day that is still one of the most memorable days of my life. You may feel that you’re the odd one out, but I daresay that your differences are beautiful in the sight of God, and they can redirect you to your God-given purpose. That’s what the book is about: being bold about the Gospel, your faith, your gifts, and your differences.

I trust. I’ve learnt a lot about myself in this season, but I think one of the things I’ve realised is that I’ve not trusted myself enough in the past. This season is teaching me to embrace who I am and who God has called me to be as a woman. I recently read a quote which said ‘…. not only is the baby born but the mother and the father are born, too.’ Just seeing who God has called my husband and me to be for this brilliant little baby is just blessing me. Oooh, I’ve gotta say that the poopy nappies have been an interesting surprise! [laughs] ADF: You have a new kids’ book out, Kiki Finds Her Voice. Tell us a bit about the book and the inspiration behind it. KS: Yes, I do. The book is pretty much dedicated to little girls like me. I was skinny when I was younger but got chunky in 8th grade. I noticed that I was different. Growing up, it seemed that there was an ideal way for you to look to be considered beautiful by society. I often felt like the oddball, so this book is basically me saying I eventually found my voice. In the book I tell the story of my mum showing up unexpectedly at my elementary school talent show, and forbidding me from singing the r&b song I’d planned to perform. I can hear her words ringing in my ears right now: “You’re changing that song. You gotta be true to who you are...” [laughs] That was a huge lesson for me, as I learnt that I couldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea. I was meant to sing with a group of girls at the talent show,

ADF: It sounds like the book is full of encouragement for kids and grown-ups [chuckles]. You are extremely passionate about empowering other women, and that’s really the heartbeat of your SistHER Summit. Congrats on a very successful 2024 conference! Take us back to the genesis of this powerful women’s movement. KS: Honestly, the 2024 SistHER Conference was such a blessing. Everything I am today is courtesy of my incredible village. Of course, God is my number one, but there’s a village of people outside of my parents who have poured into me. I wanted to give back and help girls whose circumstances were not conducive for them to flourish – girls with great potential yet no village to support them. I wanted to create a space for them to thrive and believe again. That was the genesis of SistHER; it was a mentorship programme. My schedule allowed me to open it up a bit more, so I decided to make it bigger and trust that God would send those assigned to me to the event. And so we did this conference in January, which was a summit. We had Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Jekalyn Carr, Naomi Raine, and so many other young women – all fired up for God.

THIS SEASON IS TEACHING ME TO EMBRACE WHO I AM AND WHO GOD HAS CALLED ME TO BE AS A WOMAN. ADF: You’ve shared a bit about your village and, by following you on social media, I know you have a wonderful sisterhood of girlfriends. What would you say to that woman who isn’t crazy keen on having a close community of girlfriends? KS: Oooh, I would ask her to pray about it and be discerning. Believe it or not, I used to be like that too. I always got on better with guys and had lots of brothers, but once I experienced true sisterhood, I was forever marked. I’ve learnt to compartmentalise my relationships – some are for fun, laughter and hanging

out, and some have more depth to them. I would encourage that woman who is skeptical about forging a sisterhood to give it a try. You need your sisters, and they need you. ADF: You’ve done some fantastic music collaborations. Which artist would you love to record with next? KS: Thank you so much for the compliment on the collaborations. Who would I love to collaborate with next? That’s a good question… Maybe DOE, maybe Jonathan McReynolds… I’d love to work with Kirk Franklin, Michael Bublé, to name a few… I have been praying and asking the Lord to give me a new song for this season, so we’ll see how that pans out. ADF: Music, books, clothing line, movies… you literally do it all! [laughs] What else can we expect from you in the future? KS: We are working on a tour and hopefully new music will come soon. I’m getting back into the groove of things, getting back on the road, working on these books... I will be doing a lot more YouTube videos to help me stay connected with my community of followers, so stay tuned. Thank you so much for this opportunity to chat to you and all that good stuff, and I hope that all goes well… Love y’all! Visit

Christian women

making an impact in the Church and society Christian women can be found exerting their influence in all spheres of society. They work in church, and are constantly fulfilling their potential in their professions, prolific at leading their businesses, or faithfully serving society through humanitarian efforts.


Have a read of this Keep The Faith list of Christian women making an impact in the fields of work, business and ministry. And be inspired. PASTOR YEMISI ASHIMOLOWO Resident Pastor, Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) Pastor Yemisi Ashimolowo is responsible for the spiritual leadership of thousands, through her role as Resident Pastor of KICC; President of KICC’s Winning Women ministry; and Host of the Winning Women Convention, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2022. As leader of Winning Women, Pastor Yemisi provides spiritual teaching for over 5000 women. She can also be heard preaching on KICC TV ministry broadcasts across the world. An in-demand speaker, Pastor Yemisi has spoken at events in the UK, Europe, USA and Africa. As a philanthropist, Pastor Yemisi has supported orphans; built a home for children in Uganda; and provided sewing machines to women in Sri Lanka. Visit

LADY DENTAA AMOATENG MBE Founder, GUBA Awards The GUBA (Grow, Unite, Build Africa) Awards is a leading programme that honours African excellence and achievement. It was founded in 2009 by Ghanaian, Lady Dentaa Amoateng – a key advocate for the African community in the UK and on the African continent. Such has been the impact of her work, her many awards include an MBE; the Ghana Peace Awards Humanitarian Service Laureate; and being listed as an African trailblazer to watch in 2022. Lady Dentaa is a woman of many talents, and has worked as an actress, sports agent, and event organiser, and is well known from hosting popular TV show The Dentaa Show, which still airs on Fox Live Africa. High-profile events Dentaa has spearheaded include the 16th anniversary celebration of the reign of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, King of the Asante Kingdom; and a State Banquet she was invited to organise by the Government of Ghana and Clarence

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House. Through her work, Dentaa seeks to encourage an exchange of culture, business, skills and support within the African diaspora and African continent. Visit

PASTOR CELIA APEAGYEI-COLLINS Founder, Rehoboth Foundation Pastor Celia Apeagyei-Collins is one of Christendom’s foremost female leaders. With a commitment to training, teaching and mentoring others, she founded the Rehoboth Foundation, which provides leadership/vision development, mentoring programmes, executive coaching, and Young Emerging Leaders (YEL), a forum that runs mentoring and leadership development courses for Millennials. Pastor Celia, as she is affectionately known, also oversees Jesus Cares, the humanitarian arm of the Rehoboth Foundation. Organisations regularly approach Pastor Celia for consultancy services, and she works for charities in various capacities. She is currently an ambassador for Tearfund; a director/trustee for Operation Mobilisation; and a director of the National Church Leaders Forum. A rising media personality, Pastor Celia presents Take The Lead on TBN UK. A dynamic and in-demand speaker, Pastor Celia, has spoken at major conferences, church services, and events in over 50 nations.




CHARISSE BEAUMONT CEO, Black Lives in Music Charisse Beaumont is CEO at Black Lives in Music, an organisation that seeks to create an inclusive and diverse music industry. In 2021, Black Lives in Music commissioned a survey on the personal experience of Black creatives and professionals in the music industry. The subsequent report, ‘Being Black in the UK Music Industry’, achieved over 3000 downloads in its first week of release and the media CHARISSE BEAUMONT

campaign reached 788.9 million. Last year, Black Lives in Music was listed by the US media giant Fast Company, as one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Music. The report made an impact. In 2022, Charisse was inducted into Music Week’s ‘Women in Music’ roll of honour. In 2023, Ms Beaumont was voted an Association of Independent Music Diversity Champion and received an honorary Doctorate of Music from the University of West London. She also chairs the LIVE Group EDI workforce committee and sits on the advisory committee at War Child UK. Visit

BELINDA BROOKS Breakfast Show presenter, Premier Gospel Christian DJ Belinda Brooks has the privilege of presenting the weekday Gospel Breakfast Show on Premier Gospel, the biggest gospel station in the UK. As the host of the Gospel Breakfast Show, Belinda leverages this influential platform every weekday morning to inspire and uplift listeners, setting a positive tone for their day. She interviews influential Christians – both in the Church and in wider society and, beyond her role in broadcasting, Belinda also contributes her expertise as the HR Manager at, a private telecoms company. She also manages Radical Family, a gospel sound system. This combination of roles showcases Belinda’s versatility and dedication to making a meaningful impact both within and beyond the world of radio. Follow on Instagram @BelindaMBrooks

YolanDa was appointed Chair of BPI – the representative voice for record labels in the UK and organisers of key music events, such as The BRIT Awards and co-owner of The Official Charts. YolanDa is currently Chair of Youth Music; sits on the Arts Council National Council; is a trustee of the PRS Foundation; an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust and London Music Fund, and more. In 2021, she was invited by the Department of Education to sit on the advisory panel of the National Plan for Music Education. The Lord Lieutenant of Greater London appointed YolanDa as a Deputy Lieutenant in October 2022, and the following month, in November, she was awarded the Music Week – Women in Music ‘Music Champion Award’. Last year, 2023, YolanDa was awarded an OBE for services to music, music education, and broadcasting.



LURINE CATO MBE Gospel singer, vocal trainer Multi award-winning artist Lurine Cato is one of Britain’s most well-known female gospel soloists. Her accolades include a Wise Woman Award (2012), MOBO Award (2013) and an MBE (2020). Lurine has released several albums and is an in-demand artist who has performed in front of royalty. She came to national attention when she was lead vocalist of the B Positive Choir, set up by the NHS to encourage people to give blood. The choir reached the finals of Britain’s Got Talent. Aside from performing on stages throughout the world, Lurine is involved in both charitable and community work, such as working with the Children’s Society, and she regularly shares her gift of song via prison ministry. She was recently recognised as a person of honour by her local borough in Enfield.



SUSAN DEBORAHS Speaker, church leader, author


YOLANDA BROWN OBE Saxophonist, broadcaster, composer YolanDa Brown is an award-winning saxophonist whose music success has opened doors of opportunity. This double MOBO Award-winning artist has toured with leading artists, including The Temptations, Billy Ocean, and others. A composer, she’s currently creating music for TV shows on Sky Kids and Netflix. In 2022,

Susan Deborahs is a speaker, author and digital motivator who’s passionate about helping women thrive in faith and life. She and her husband, Ayokunu Oduniyi, are senior leaders of A New Thing London – a Kingdom, creative family. Since the release of her book Living Waters in 2014, Susan has partnered with YouVersion to write multiple devotionals, to which over 500,000 people worldwide have subscribed. She has also released a 21-day devotional called Back to Life, and her most recent release is Connecting with God: A Guide to Cultivating Authentic Relationship with Him. Susan is the founder of Coffee & Prayer – a ministry that aims to equip women to be their best and to live purposefully – which has impacted thousands of women through online and offline events, with the focus to nurture community and see women flourish.



DR DULCIE DIXON McKENZIE Director, Centre for Black Theology, Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education As director for Black Theology at the Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, Dr Dixon McKenzie highlights the necessity for church leaders, lay ministers, and activists to pursue theological education. Dulcie’s PhD about the history of Black British gospel music is the first academic study of its kind, and she is committed to increasing the contribution of African Caribbean Christianity to global Christianity. Dr Dixon McKenzie is set to publish her debut book, Reclaiming the African Caribbean Roots and Route of Black British Gospel Music, in 2025. She has also co-edited a collection of research studies in Black British gospel music alongside Dr Monique Ingalls and Dr Pauline Muir – due out this year – and has contributed an essay for a handbook for theologians celebrating the church songs sung by the Windrush Generation, which have been re-imagined by Windrush Theology and the Arts.

in the Church and society. WWA recipients has included Diane Abbott MP, Baroness Doreen Lawrence and Karen Gibson. Pastor Marjorie also does charitable work overseas; gives away school uniforms for disadvantaged children in Nigeria; and runs an orphanage. She is also an author and has published several books. Her latest book, The Leading Lady, provides insights to help women become more impactful leaders. Visit PASTOR MARJORIE ESOMOWEI


ELOHO EFEMUAI Founder, HeartSong Radio; personal brand specialist HeartSong Live Radio is the first online Christian radio station in Scotland to be started by a Black woman. The founder is the multi-talented Eloho Efemuai. You can hear her interviewing guests, playing music, and sharing words of inspiration designed to inform and uplift on her radio platform. She is also a personal brand strategist who empowers ambitious mission-driven individuals, creatives, women of faith, female leaders and entrepreneurs, and helps them to increase their visibility, influence authority, and grow their social media presence. Her clients have included Muyiwa Olarewaju OBE, Aaron T Aaron and Transformation House. A woman of many talents, Eloho is also a singer/songwriter, speaker, best-selling author, John Maxwell Certified coach, and award-winning broadcaster. Visit or


TOLA DOLL FISHER Creative Director and Editor of Woman Alive Tola Doll Fisher is the first Black woman to serve as editor of Woman Alive, Britain’s only monthly Christian-based women’s magazine. Under her editorship she has ensured that the magazine touches on issues – spiritual or societal – that can directly impact the lives and experiences of Christian women. She has also provided a platform for Christian women of diverse ages, ethnicities and Christian traditions to share their opinions, views and experiences. Aside from being an editor, Tola is an author. Her first book, Still Standing – 100 lessons from an ‘Unsuccessful’ Life, was published in 2020. She is also the host of the Woman Alive podcast and has been a panellist on TBN UK show Sisterhood. Tola is also a blogger, model and public speaker. Visit



Co-Pastor and Founder of the Wise Women Awards

Founder and Director, The Kingdom Choir

Pastor Marjorie Esomowei is a woman with a pastor’s heart, who also champions women’s personal and spiritual development. Alongside her husband, Clem, she co-pastors Triumphant Church International, which has branches in Kent, Leeds, South Africa and Nigeria. She is founder of Wisdom for Women International, a ministry that runs prayer retreats, conferences and workshops for women, and is founder of the Wise Women Awards (WWA). This event, held every March before Mothering Sunday, celebrates the achievements of Christian women

The Kingdom Choir, founded by Karen Gibson, celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2023 with a special concert at the Royal Festival Hall. It sold out – hardly surprising because, ever since the choir performed at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018, they have become a major concert attraction, and Karen has been described as the ‘the godmother of gospel music’. Last year the choir underwent a tour in the USA. In January 2024 Karen was one of the judges on the BBC Songs of Praise Gospel Choir of the Year competition. Aside from

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her work, Karen is an in-demand choir director and has led gospel workshops throughout the world. It’s worth noting that, due to overwhelming demand for tickets for the choir’s 30th anniversary celebration last year, Karen will direct the choir at another 30th anniversary celebratory concert – this time at the Barbican on May 27, 2024. Visit

SANDRA GODLEY OBE Singer, radio presenter, TV host, humanitarian A woman of many talents, Sandra Godley’s influence and impact span music, media and philanthropy. As an artist, Sandra has released four albums as well as a single to raise money for charity. She has received numerous awards for her music, including two European Gospel awards from the Gospel Music Association for Best Overall Artist and Best Female Artist. In her hometown of Coventry, Sandra presents two shows on BBC CWR: Upbeat and The Sunday Breakfast Show. She recently hosted five roundtable discussions for TBN UK as well as Mercy Ship’s Christmas TV show. A humanitarian, Sandra works with numerous charities and is currently Patron for Highly Sprung Performance, the UK’s leading physical theatre; an ambassador for AtaLoss and for the Belgrade Theatre. She is also a trustee and humanitarian of Feed the Hungry and has travelled the world to view their work. Just recently Sandra was awarded an OBE in the King’s New Year’s Honours list for her charitable work in Coventry. Visit

2022, Dionne served as the Churches Together in England Forum Moderator, and last year she chaired the planning group that delivered the National Windrush Church Service held at Southwark Cathedral. Dionne is Co-chair for the National Church Leaders Forum. For over 12 years, she has been a regular columnist for Keep The Faith magazine and was a contributing author to the book The Black Church in the 21st Century. A member of New Testament Church of God, Dionne has worked in various roles, including serving as a Sunday school teacher, a local youth and Christian education director, and being a member of the National Youth & Christian Education Board.



RT REV ROSE HUDSON-WILKIN MBE Bishop of Dover, Diocese of Dover Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin is a trailblazer for women in ministry within the Church of England and the wider Church. In 2019 she became the first Black woman to be appointed to the position of Bishop of Dover, sited in the Diocese of Canterbury. Ordained to the ministry in 1991, the Jamaican-born church leader has occupied numerous positions of note, including serving as Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons and as Priest Vicar of Westminster Abbey from 2010-20. In 2019, the Bishop received an Order of Distinction from the Jamaican Government and, in 2020, she received an MBE for ‘services to young people and the Church’. Bishop Hudson-Wilkin’s pastoral office has meant she plays a major role in prominent national occasions and celebrations. She was one of several ministers to lead prayers at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018 and, in 2023, she was one of three female church leaders to play a role in the coronation of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey.


REV BETTY KING Pastor, TruthVine Church; Founder, Betty King International Ministries


DIONNE GRAVESANDE Principal Adviser, Christian Aid; Co-Chair, National Church Leaders Forum Dionne Gravesande has over 25 years of leadership experience working with churches, faith institutions, national and international non-governmental organisations. She is Principal Adviser at Christian Aid and has a remit for global partnerships and ecumenical collaborations on issues of faith and international development. In

Rev Dr Betty King has been a minister of the Gospel for more than 29 years and founded Betty King International Ministries (BKIM) in 1998 as a prayer and intercession ministry for people in need. It is a conduit to see people permanently delivered from their trials and afflictions. BKIM is also a prophetic hub of prayer, community outreach and revival based in Wembley, London. Rev King presents two shows on God TV. One is called The Cry, where she interviews leading Christians from across the globe. The other programme is called Growing in Truth, where she is joined by a special guest who brings the Gospel alive. A Kingdom builder, Rev King constantly brings Christians from across the globe together to pray, learn, network and collaborate.



FOLA KOMOLAFE CEO, World Vision UK In 2023, Fola Komolafe made history when she became the first woman – and first Black person – to be appointed as CEO of World Vision UK, a humanitarian aid and development charity. Fola’s experience spans working for large multinational, which include HSBC, IBM, and Mazars, where she was a UK partner and Global Lead for International Development. As CEO of Indisys Business Solutions, Fola provided strategic direction and philanthropy advice to several large UK Christian charities, and directed award-winning development projects across multiple countries in Africa and South Asia for the Open University. Prior to her appointment, Fola also served as Vice-chair on World Vision UK’s board of trustees. Fola has served in church leadership for over 30 years; co-founded several charities; and held non-executive director roles with organisations locally and nationally. Last year she received the Community Impact Award for Volunteers and the Outstanding Contribution Award at the Women Leaders UK Awards. And, in January 2024, she became the first woman to win the first Black Excellence Award, held in her hometown, Milton Keynes. Visit




youth leader. She eventually joined the pastoral care ministry. Rhona’s journey as a preacher has seen her gain preaching engagements in the UK and abroad. She can also be heard sharing a word or leading prayers on Christian TV station TBN UK. Alongside her husband, Omar Tackie, both serve as senior leaders of a thriving church ministry named ARC 2.0 in Forest Gate, east London. Rhona is committed to empowering, educating and equipping individuals to walk in all that God has purposed them to be.

Bishop of Croydon, Diocese of Southwark

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In 2022, Rosemarie Mallett made history when she became the first Black woman to be appointed as Bishop of Croydon. Born in Barbados, Bishop Rosemarie grew up the UK. She was ordained a priest in 2005. Prior to her ordination, she was a research sociologist and academic, specialising in international development and ethnocultural mental health. Alongside her duties, Bishop Rosemarie serves as the Southwark Diocese lead on racial justice. She regularly appears on BBC Radio Four’s Prayer for the Day; has led The Daily Service on BBC Radio Four; and is a spokesperson on racial and social justice issues nationally. She has also served as a trustee and director of several London charities which focus on building community cohesion. Last year, she was one of several church leaders providing spiritual leadership and support in Croydon following the stabbing of 15-year-old Elianne Andam.


Connect with Bishop Rosemarie on X @RosemarieMallet

RHONA MPOLOGOMA TACKIE Lead elder, pastor, preacher Rhona Mpologoma Tackie is a young pastor, preacher and teacher. A teacher by profession, she became a Christian as a teenager, and began honing her preaching and teaching skills at her local church in East London at the age of 16, where she served as an intercessor and

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Founder, Jacqueline Peart International Ministries Apostle Jacqueline Peart is a highly soughtafter leadership coach, mentor and speaker. She’s also an author and has 11 published books, the latest being The Holy Spirit – Heaven’s Sherpa. Apostle Peart is viewed as a leader of leaders and has pioneered the training of thousands of women who feel a call to preach or establish ministries in the UK and abroad. She is founder of the International Wholeness Centre, which trains leaders in the five-fold ministry, and The Wholeness Academy, which helps thousands around the globe to find and live a life of wholeness through Jesus Christ. Aside from providing Christian leadership and teaching, Apostle Peart is a businesswoman. She runs Training With Purpose International (TWPI), which provides a range of services including leadership coaching to Christian and secular organisations. TWPI was highlighted by the UK’s Commission for Employment and Skills for its exemplary employability skills and personal development training.



PASTOR FAITH OKRAFO-SMART Founder, Melqosh Mission International A woman of compassion, UK-based minister Pastor Faith Okrafo-Smart has dedicated her DR SELINA STONE

life to serving God and the most vulnerable in society. Pastor Okrafo-Smart founded Melqosh Mission International (MMI) to provide support to amputee victims of Sierra Leone’s Blood Diamond war. MMI provides food, school uniforms, training and anything else amputees need to ease their life difficulties. In response to the COVID crisis in 2020, MMI provided rice, face masks, antibacterial soaps, buckets and clean water to amputees. In 2021, via her charity, Pastor Faith built a multipurpose educational centre, which includes a library and IT hub for amputee war survivors and their children. She was appointed General Overseer of Strong Nation International House of Prayer in February 2022 and has seven church plants across Sierra Leone. Pastor Faith is part of Restore Sierra Leone (an intercessory prayer movement) and provides support for victims of domestic abuse and violence. Visit

CLAUDINE REID MBE Businesswoman; Founder, Women on the Frontline Claudine Reid MBE is one of the most well-known businesswomen to come out of Britain’s Black Pentecostal Church movement.

Alongside her role as Managing Director of PJs Community Services, Claudine is Chair of Lloyds Banking Group Advisory Group, which seeks to help the bank understand the barriers faced by Black entrepreneurs. In addition, this former adviser to the British government on social enterprise is now an adviser to the Atlanta Black Chamber of Commerce. Claudine is a certified leadership coach, business psychologist, trainer and speaker with the world-renowned John Maxwell Team. She is also the founder of Women on the Frontline, a network designed to connect female entrepreneurs to form collaborative partnerships and to share knowledge. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Claudine led an online community for over 1000 women. It culminated with the release of three popular anthologies. Following her recovery from breast cancer diagnosis, Claudine released her best-selling memoir The Balancing Act, which shared insights about life’s priorities and overcoming challenges. In 2023, Claudine was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Multicultural Business Community Champion (MBCC) Awards. Visit

DR SELINA STONE Academic, writer, podcaster, activist Dr Selina Stone is Postdoctoral Research Associate in Theological Education at Durham University with an interest in decolonisation. She has two published works, The Spirit and The Body: Towards a Womanist Pentecostal Social Justice Ethic and her latest book, Tarry Awhile: Wisdom from Black Spirituality for People of Faith, has been selected as the Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 2024. Born to a Jamaican family in Birmingham and raised in a Pentecostal church, she is now recognised as a trusted voice across denominations, the country and increasingly internationally. Her doctorate examined the theological and spiritual causes of Pentecostalism’s struggle to address class, race and gender inequity in the Church and society. She regularly supports charities and churches as a speaker, adviser and consultant on Christian theology, theological education, social justice, and leadership ethics. She is the host of Sunday School for Misfits, a podcast that critically examines faith, theology and the Church through the lens of Black millennial experiences in Britain. Connect with Dr Selina on X @SelinaRStone


FANTASIA BARRINO The artist who keeps things real

The film musical The Color Purple was released in the UK on January 26. One of its stars is Fantasia Barrino, aka just Fantasia, an artist well-loved due to her talent and authenticity. Raised in a Christian home in North Carolina, Fantasia had her first child at 17 and, aged 19, she took a chance to change her life trajectory by entering American Idol. Fantasia wowed the judges and viewers with her soulful, gospel-influenced voice, and was crowned the winner and won a recording contract. Her debut single, I Believe, hit the number one spot on the Billboard Charts and kick-started an illustrious career which has seen her win two Grammys; sell millions of albums; release a book; and amass a enormous social media following. In 2007 Fantasia appeared in the Broadway stage production of The Color Purple (Musical) as main character, Celie Harris Johnson, for which she received a Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut Performance and an NAACP Theatre Award. She has reprised the role for this film and spoke to Marcia Dixon MBE about the film, her life, and her plans to record a gospel album.

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MARCIA DIXON (MD): What was your initial response when you got the invitation to play Celie in the musical version of The Color Purple? FANTASIA BARRINO (FB): When Scott Sanders, one of the producers of the movie, called, I told him I couldn’t do it because when I played it on Broadway it was very heavy, and my life was very heavy at the same time. My memories from that time were not good. He started off by saying: “I know you’re in a good place. I know you’re married. We can tell you’re happy. But I know you can go back, and you’re my Celie.” And I’m like, God, no way. I remember getting off the phone and telling my husband: “I just can’t do it.” And it’s so funny, because we were all together the other day and ‘young Celie’ said something that I felt when Scott called. She said: “I don’t know if I want to play this part. Because I don’t want somebody thinking I’m ugly every day.” And I said it to my husband: “I don’t want to go back to being told that. I’m in a great place.”

differ from being on stage? FB: Well, (acting on) a Broadway stage is very taxing. But I think doing the movie is taxing too because sometimes we didn’t leave our set until six and even seven o’clock in the morning. But Broadway, you’re doing a show every day. Sometimes two. I don’t know. It’s all hard work!

MD: What eventually persuaded you to say yes to the role? FB: It was when the producer Blitz Bazawule called me and showed me on Zoom. He drew out all the scenes. He put music to it. He had voices to it. And he gave Celie an imagination. And that’s when I said yes.

MD: The Color Purple is a classic tale of hope, overcoming suffering hardship and despair, and journeying to self-love and fulfilment. How would you describe Celie’s journey in the film? FB: It’s funny, I kind of see her like me. It started off with the American Idol. Even though I won, I was 19. I was young, green, and let’s talk about my life before I had my daughter at 17. So, things that Celie went through, I went through, and so I look at her like I look at myself and think look at me now.

MD: You were in the Broadway production of The Color Purple. You are now in the film – your first major Hollywood movie. How did the experience of acting in a film

MD: Did you enjoy the experience of working on your first film? FB: I did this time. I was in a good place. I knew how to come out and leave Celie on set. My family was there. I was looking at who I’m playing with. I was on set with Colman Domingo, Danielle Brooks, Corey Hawkins, Taraji (P Henson), Lou Gossett Jr, Aunjanue (Ellis-Taylor), David Alan Grier… I can keep going on and on and on! It was such a high to be able to be with all these amazing talents, tap into certain things that we’ve all experienced in our lives, and pay homage to our ancestors.


MD: Colourism remains a big issue in the community. How would you like darkskinned girls to feel about themselves when they watch the film? FB: I want them to know that they’re beautiful, and we belong. I was a dark-skinned girl in school, big lips, big nose, and skinny. My lips were the biggest things on my body, and I was picked on a lot for that. Most of the girls in school were lighter-skinned and had long hair. I was this bony little thing. I had to heal from all the voices telling me “You’re ugly.” I want dark-skinned girls to leave feeling healed and knowing that they are beautiful. MD: When watching the film, I found the scenes where Celie experienced domestic abuse painful and upsetting. However, Celie’s experience mirrors that of many women. What would you say to women who are maybe going through something similar to what Celie experienced? FB: Celie is a Cancer I’m a Cancer too. We’re very forgiving, loving, loyal. (Domestic abuse) is certainly something that happens where it’s the women who are holding a man down, who are cooking and cleaning, who get the

second-hand treatment. I want every young woman to know that you don’t have to be in that type of situation. It was different back then. Celie had no other choice, but you can walk. When we are in an abusive relationship we tend to sit back and say, “But I see better, he can do better. And I know that he loves me.” But sometimes you have to step away and allow them to find their healing without you. We can’t play God in their lives and continue to be abused. MD: During the course of the film, your character Celie received some very bad treatment from her husband, Mister. Yet, in the film she was very gracious to him, after she left him, even inviting him to her birthday party. It’s good to forgive but should she have been that forgiving? FB: Yeah, but not only women, men too, because at the end of the day, we are the King’s kids. Christ, God, forgives us every day. Celie inviting Mister to her party was a cocky move. It was a move of “You remember all that stuff you said? All that stuff you did?” Don’t forget when I first left, he told Celie: “You ain’t gonna be nothin’. You’re ugly.” So, it was a cocky

move for Celie to say: “Come on over. Let me show you how, where I stand. And I forgive you. I’m free from it.” MD: Lastly, faith and gospel music have played a key role in your life. I understand you’re going to be releasing a gospel album. I’d love to know a bit more about that. FB: My grandmother, who’s gone home to be with the Lord, always told me that I was going to record a gospel album. I feel like there’s so much going on in the world today and if I can contribute anything to love and healing and hope, and plant faith, why not put that out there? I started off in gospel when I was a kid with my family, so I went back to my family. I wanted to feel like that little girl again. The industry can be a lot, and I wanted that feeling again of when I first loved it. So, I’ve gone back to my family. My brother and I are writing a lot of records together, and I’m gonna work with a couple of other people, like KJ, who I love, and Dennis. Something in me feels like I just want to go back to use all those kids who are hungry, who would never get the opportunity, and give them something that somebody gave me.

The Color Purple is showing in cinemas across the UK. Visit

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TURBULENT PRIESTS AND BLESSED PEACEMAKERS Gary Clayton shares how believers can respond when dealing with unchristian behaviour – whether of others or their own


n 1170, frustrated at the apparent intransigence of Archbishop Thomas Becket, Henry II allegedly cried, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” It’s a feeling – whether at work or in church – that we may have encountered when dealing with fellow believers! Many years ago, an unsuitable Christian manager attempted to bully and control his staff. (You’ll be glad to hear he didn’t work for my current employer, the brilliant Mission Aviation Fellowship.) One of his ideas involved producing an exhibition display that didn’t contain the organisation’s name. “It will add an air of mystery,” he explained. “People will wonder who we are.” But people just walked past us without bothering to ask. When we mentioned this, the boss became increasingly angry and said the literature he’d given us should have made our identity obvious. “Yes,” we said, “but you told us to only give out leaflets if someone stopped at the stand and asked for them!” So how do we act if a fellow Christian turns against us or makes life difficult? Do we take a stand for the sake of the Gospel, or take it lying down? And why do people sometimes behave badly? Perhaps they do so because they’re somewhat thick-skinned, insensitive or selfabsorbed – though, with prayer and appropriate support, they might possibly change. Maybe they’re hurt or unhappy, and need love, affirmation, encouragement and support – their bad behaviour a cry for help. Perhaps they’re somewhere on the autistic spectrum and are unaware of how poorly they come across or how tactless they can be when relating to others. People who could benefit from suitable feedback, or training on emotional intelligence. Or maybe the person is just a big bully who’s determined to

get their own way. Someone who gains a perverse satisfaction from dragging others down whilst boosting themselves up to increase their fragile self-confidence. Some even suffer from what my wife calls ‘cuckoo in the nest syndrome’. The Machiavellian type who charms all the movers and shakers in church or at work and who, in attempting to climb onto a higher perch, attempts to push others off! So, it not only depends on what damage the person is doing, but on what’s causing their painful or unhelpful actions. Sometimes it’s right to ride out the storm, forgiving those who sin against us ‘not seven times, but seventy-seven times’ (Matthew 18:22), being aware that, because love is patient, isn’t easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:4-5), we should forgive one another, just as in Christ God forgave us (Ephesians 4:32). But there may be times when we need to prayerfully balance Romans 12:18, ‘If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at

peace with everyone’, with Titus 3:10, ‘Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.’ As a complacent Christian once said, “If you don’t think much of me now, you should’ve seen what I was like before I was a Christian!” So, although Proverbs 19:11 reminds us that it is to our glory to overlook an offence – encouraging us to take it to the Lord rather than taking it out on the person who offends us – there are times when, after soulsearching and prayer, it’s appropriate to act. (This assumes, of course, that we’re acting from right motives, that the person in question is in the wrong and that, when we do act, we don’t make a production out of it!) Matthew 18:15-17 tells us to talk to the erring brother or sister in private before involving others – aiming for reconciliation rather than self-vindication. After all, if the person who has upset us is a Christian, we’ll have to live with them for all eternity, so we may as well try to get on with them while we’re still on earth! But what do we do if we’re the one whose behaviour is causing problems? Let’s pray that, if our own bad behaviour is appropriately challenged, then we will change, and become more Christlike. We may not like people showing us our faults, but God can use such encounters to convict us of sin – enabling us to repair our relationships, mend our ways, and prevent other civilians from getting hurt. The one thing we mustn’t do is follow the example of Henry II, who spoke hastily and intemperately to his knights and later regretted the death of Thomas Becket at the hands of those who’d heard his angry complaint!

Gary Clayton is married to Julie, the father of Christopher (19) and Emma (16)and works for Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF). To learn how MAF aircraft bring Christ’s love to some of the world’s most isolated areas, visit




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RAFFA would like your assistance in a 30-60-minute segment during your Sunday Services. The sessions look at our health beliefs supported by scripture, raise awareness of the support needed by our community and share information from the NHS on how we can support our community.

RAFFA would like also to use this opportunity to invite members who have given blood or received blood to share their story through our documentary series - ‘Sharing UK Stories: Blood/Organ Donation’.

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THIS IS MY STORY, THIS IS MY SONG Yanique Taylor shares how learning that she was HIV positive transformed her life and strengthened her faith. She is now courageously sharing her story to help others

It was a normal morning in June 2016 – a morning like any other morning in my life. I was getting ready to go into work. At that time, I was working in the salon as a nail technician. My mobile phone rang. It was a private number. Normally I wouldn’t answer, but that day I answered. I don’t know why, I just did. Me: “Hello?” “Hi. Is this Yanique Taylor?” Me: “Yes, speaking.” “This is so on so from the Walsall Sexual Health Clinic. Can you come in as soon as possible? We need to discuss something with you.” Me: “Erm, does it have to be today? I’m actually on my way to work.” “Yes, it’s very crucial that you come in as soon as possible. I can’t mention over the phone, but you need to come in now.” Me: “Oh. OK. Should I be worried, as this doesn’t sound good?” “Nothing to worry about. But if you’re able to come to the clinic now that would be great.” Me: “OK, I’ll be there soon.” I took down the directions and hung up the phone thinking: “I wonder what this could be about?” Within 10 minutes I was at the clinic. Now, at this time in my life, I was engaged to be married and, two weeks prior to this phone call, I had done an HIV test at the GP’s. I had gone in to take out my contraceptive implant, which I’d always been on because of my heavy periods. After removing the implant, the doctor asked: “Do you want to do an HIV test? It’s free and it’s just a quick prick on your finger. It won’t take long.” I replied: “Sure, that’s fine.” I did the test and left with no thoughts about what I’d just done. Now I was walking in the sexual clinic, with no clue of what I was about to hear. “WHAT? HIV? What do you mean?” By this time, I had blanked out and didn't hear a word the nurse was saying. I felt like everything around me had slowed right down and this was my new reality. The shock and disbelief had me trembling. Fear had kicked in and my confidence was stripped. For the first time I felt completely alone, as if I were in a terrible dream or nightmare. Was I going to wake up and it all disappear? But it never did.

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The nurse asked: “Miss Taylor, do you have a partner?” “Yes,” I replied. “I’m engaged to be married.” “Are you OK to tell them, or would you like me to do it?” I was in such shock I didn’t answer straight away. Tears flowed down my face, as I still couldn't understand what was going on in my life at that moment. My head felt overloaded, with so many thoughts running through it. I saw my mum’s and my daughter’s faces. I thought to myself: ‘I need to tell my partner. How will he take this?’ This was HUGE! The trembling got worse with the idea of sharing this news with him. To my great surprise, my then fiancé took it well. He still wanted to get married and said he still loved me. He was required to do a mandatory test too and so he did. His came back negative. My life has never been the same since I’ve been diagnosed. Please understand that all this was unexpected, out of the blue. I took a test, for no reason at all. I didn’t have any symptoms, I wasn’t ill, nothing was there for me to expect a positive result. That positive result had a negative effect on my life. Or did it?

MY FAITH IS WHAT HAS KEPT ME. THE GOD I SERVE HAS NEVER LEFT ME. EVEN WHEN I THOUGHT HE WASN’T THERE. My mental health deteriorated massively from the side effects of my HIV diagnosis and medication. Suddenly I had become a HIV patient, which means appointments every three months to do my bloods, plus hospital visits to keep check of my overall health. For the first two years, every time I visited the clinic, shame took over and I would cry profusely, as that was now my forever reality. The doctors and nurses at the clinic made me feel at ease, and there was never any judgement from them, which made it easier to go and do my regular check-ups. After a while I started to look forward to going for check-ups, as my viral levels were going down and are now undetectable. This means I cannot transmit the virus, as long as I'm on my medication, which I have to take every day. The nurse told me I can continue my normal everyday life, without being a risk to other people. It doesn’t change anything because it’s transmitted sexually, through using shared needles, or mother-to-baby transmission. I can’t infect anyone by touching, sharing food or hugging. Normal everyday activities would not affect anyone.

So, I could go back to work as usual, without being worried of anyone being affected or infected. None of what I’ve done since being diagnosed is me. Everything has been due to almighty God. He is who I have been relying on and turning to. He has worked on me to reach a point where I can boldly, confidently and courageously tell my story. God has stripped me to the point of having no more shame. He told me to be weak so He can be strong. God said to me: “This is not about you” and has assured me He would never leave me nor forsake me, and that whatever I need I should ask, and I shall receive. I am a Jamaican girl who came to England because she wanted a change and an opportunity. It hasn’t been an easy road, but with God the impossible has been made possible. My faith is what has kept me. The God I serve has never left me. Even when I thought He wasn’t there. The first time I told my story publicly was at the Esther’s Academy – a programme for women I did at my church. Even though I was trembling, I did it and it was an amazing feeling. I felt a load drop off me. I recall before sharing publicly to a crowd, that, whenever I disclosed my HIV diagnosis to the people close in my life, I would burst into tears or had to have someone else present to at least start the conversation. However, once I realised who I was in God’s eyes, I was ready to tell my story. My relationship with God changed, and that happened through a combination of prayer, fasting and reading.

The reason I’ve decided to share my story now is to bring healing and awareness, to break the shame and stigma around HIV/AIDS. I now know that MY story is YOUR story is OUR story. This is my story, this is my song. My name is Yanique Taylor, and I am living with HIV. Yanique Taylor’s forthcoming book, Shameless, The Naked Truth, will be published by Email for details.





Growing wiser to help others


am amazed at my journey from usually being one of the youngest women in the room, to now being one of the oldest. It’s a journey everyone undergoes and it’s called ‘getting older’. However, what’s great is that when I read Scripture it associates ageing with growing wiser, so I agree with those individuals who, instead of saying “I’m growing older” instead state “I am getting wiser.” This is a positive way to view ageing, as it signifies that getting wiser should translate into being a person of understanding and experience, someone who has something of worth and value to share with their peers, as well as with the younger generation. Titus 2 encourages older women to teach younger women that which is good. It’s something I have tried to do as I’ve grown ‘wiser’, and thankfully, in most instances, what I’ve shared has been appreciated. I believe it’s so important for older women to make that effort to impart wisdom to their younger counterparts.

When an individual is young, whether in age or in their faith – and even when they are older – they need information and guidance on how (i) to live a life that honours God; (ii) to overcome the challenges they will experience; and (iii) to achieve their goals. Of course, it’s possible for an individual to work things out for themselves, but it’s so much easier and quicker to learn – and get to where one wants to go – when they learn from those who have been there, done that, and worn the T-shirt. One of the best examples in Scripture of an older woman teaching a young woman is found in the book of Ruth, which tells the story of Naomi and Ruth. Naomi migrated with her husband, two sons and their wives to Moab to escape the famine in Judah. Whilst in Moab, Naomi experienced tragedy. Her husband died, and her sons, who had married Moabite women, died also. When Naomi heard that the famine in Judah had ended, she returned with her two daughters-in-law. One of them, Orpah, decided to return to her own people while Ruth chose to stay with Naomi. It turned

out to be a great decision. Naomi provided Ruth with mentoring and advice which resulted in her finding a second husband and giving birth to Obed, who is listed in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. The example of Ruth and Naomi highlights the benefit of transgenerational relationships – a relationship characterised by mutual respect and a willingness of the older woman to share from her wealth of knowledge and understanding to help a young woman achieve her goals and purpose. The young woman must be willing to learn. Can you imagine how much more fruitful, accomplished and fulfilled women would be in their spiritual life, relationships, professional life and in themselves if older women poured into them? And remember, we are all simultaneously younger and older women – so we can learn and listen, as well and instruct and share at any time in our lives. As we grow wiser, let’s look for opportunities to be a blessing to the younger women we meet, and in so doing be our sister’s keeper.



nyone who wants to achieve any measure of success must pay attention to their mindset. Scripture makes this clear in Proverbs 23:7, ‘For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.’ Our mindset – and how we view ourselves – is a key determinant of our life outcomes. One good thing about being a Christian is that God’s unconditional love for us serves as a self-confidence boost. Plus, it’s comforting to know that He is our refuge, strength and support, and that He has gifted us the Holy

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Spirit to direct us in all things. Life experiences, such as rejection, trauma, ill-health and even bereavement, can shake our self-belief and how we view ourselves, but words of life contained in the Scriptures can help us get back on the right track. Below are some Bible verses that will encourage you, remind you how God’s sees you, boost your thoughts about yourself, and remind you of the role God wants to play in your life. Psalm 139:14 – ‘I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: ‘marvellous are

Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Psalm 23:1 – ‘The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.’ Philippians 4:13 – ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ Joshua 1:9 – ‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.’ Mark 9:23 – ‘And Jesus said to him, “If you can? All things are possible for one who believes.”’

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE Joy Roxborough spoke with Loretta Claiborne, a woman who overcame intellectual and physical disabilities and became an award-winning athlete


ecently, I came across Disney’s The Loretta Claiborne Story, the true story of Special Olympics athlete, Loretta Claiborne, who had experienced intellectual and physical disabilities since birth but went on to excel as a sportswoman, speaker and motivator. The movie evoked laughter and feel-good tears. For me, in two words: truly inspirational! I was, therefore, delighted when Loretta agreed to speak with me for this article. I found her to be just as forthright, humble and principled as she was portrayed in the movie (by Kimberly Elise). Loretta said that, just as in the movie, her early years were characterised by her fighting a lot. “When I was a kid,” she said, “I never talked; I only used my fists.” During her childhood, when words like ‘retard’ were customarily used to describe people who had disabilities. She thought she had no value and that anything she had to say was unimportant but, she said: “My mom told me, ‘You have to learn to speak because if you don’t speak for yourself, somebody else will, and it won’t be good.’” Change began to happen in Loretta’s life after she was involved in a fight at the shelter workshop she attended. She was asked not to return but instead was introduced to the Special Olympics – the world’s largest sports organisation for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Reluctantly, she joined Special Olympics in 1970 and the rest, as they say, is history. Loretta already had a love for running and she began to excel in Special Olympics, winning many awards and gaining worldwide recognition. Her growing renown necessitated her using her voice as the invitations for speaking engagements began to pour in. These have included her speaking three times at the US Congress, the Vatican, the United Nations and speaking with five US presidents. Loretta is also a prolific speaker at schools, youth groups, and at various organisations and business groups. She is the Chief Inspiration Officer for Special Olympics, a role that involves speaking on behalf of Special Olympics, including to Congress to get funding; to educate people about Special Olympics; or in situations where a neutral voice is needed. One thing that stood out to me about this phenomenal woman – both from the film and from speaking with her – is that she does not define herself by her achievements.

Yet, in addition to her remarkable speaking engagements, she also has a list of other equally impressive achievements. Earlier this year, she was honoured as one of USA Today’s Women of the Year, an award given to women who have “broken barriers”, are “unique trailblazers”, and who exemplify courage to make lasting impact on communities (USA Today Network). She has also been inducted to five Halls of Fame. Her athletic accomplishments include being the first Special Olympics athlete to run the Boston Marathon (1981), with a personal best time of 3:03. In 1988, she was one of the top 25 female finishers in the Pittsburgh Marathon. She has run 26 marathons; competed in six Special Olympics World Games, gaining several gold and silver medals; and holds a 4th degree black belt in karate. In 1996, she was an ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) awardee, gaining the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage.

‘GOD IS MY STRENGTH AND SPECIAL OLYMPICS IS MY JOY’ Despite her intellectual disability, she indeed graduated from high school – a point not dealt with in the film – and has been awarded three Honorary Doctorate Degrees in 1995, 2003 and 2019. Another thing that struck me about Loretta was the genuine humility that governs her life. I cried when, at the end of the film, she was receiving the Arthur Ashe Award and Kimberly Elise, who played her character, told the audience: “If I could break it up in over a million pieces, I would love to do that and split it with every Special Olympics athlete.” It was totally in keeping with her true nature as she related to me how she declined an invitation to run with President Clinton because it would mean breaking her promise to her friend, Tim, to attend a sporting event where Tim, who was on the lower end of the autistic spectrum, had been chosen to sing the National Anthem.

Loretta’s motto is ‘God is my strength and Special Olympics is my joy’. Now 70 years old, she still runs, though not competitively, and participates in a host of other sports, including figure skating, volleyball, soccer, basketball and full workouts. As parting words for Keep The Faith readers, Loretta said: “Times are tough. Things are hard for everyone, whether it’s sickness, war, decisions, your job. No matter how times get, always remember that, deep down inside, you might have to dig a little deeper to keep your faith.” Visit Joy Roxborough is a creative industries professional, writer and entrepreneur. Email

Children are the future Karen Allen, a mother of five, talks about her aim to empower, motivate and inspire young people to fulfil their potential and take their rightful place in society


hen I was in year nine, aged 14, my best friend and I entered a singing contest which was held at our school. We were up against some creative competition – some would say it was tough. We came third, which was a win for me! I was so excited because singing has never been a primary gift of mine, but I can hold a note. My best friend, on the other hand, she can saaaang! The song we sang remains to this day my favourite song of all time and, in my humble opinion, it was sung by one of the greatest singers of all time. It’s called ‘The Greatest Love of All’ by the legendary Whitney Houston, and begins with this line… ‘I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way…’ As a young girl in year nine I had no idea of the profundity of those words. Today, as a grown woman, a mother, an author, a speaker and activist, I have lived to realise the power of those lyrics. Children are indeed the future and, if they are taught well, they will hopefully undoubtedly and inevitably do a phenomenal job in leading the way. For over three decades I have worked “in the trenches” with young people. By this I mean it has been my painful privilege to work on a grass-roots level with young people from all different walks of life and backgrounds. I often describe working with young people as “HEART-work” – you have to have a certain kind of heart to effectively do this work. Many of the young people that have crossed my path or completed one of our bespoke programmes have been “dissed” in one way or another.

The term “diss” is used among young people as being disrespected – often by an “opp” (enemy) or by an adult who they deem to have no clue about their struggle. However, whenever I use the term “diss” in this context I’m referring to the labels that have been placed upon them, often due to past experiences and/or distorted expectations – labels such as DISengaged, DISenfranchised, DISadvantaged or DISruptive.

'As a single mother of five children, I have consistently taught my children about the creative and destructive power of words.' Sadly, these labels have often resulted in a self-fulfilling prophecy for many young people. They have become what they have learnt to believe, because this is what they are so often told.

As a single mother of five children, I have consistently taught my children about the creative and destructive power of words. A phrase I heard many years ago has become my mantra: “Words are seeds”. I believe wholeheartedly that whenever negative ‘word seeds’ are planted in the hearts and minds of young people, the result will always have an adverse effect on individuals, families, communities and ultimately the world. My commitment to be part of the solution to this global epidemic resulted in the birth of my mission and mandate under my business banner, ‘The Place of Dreams’. At the Place of Dreams our goal is to inspire, empower and transform young lives by sowing ‘dream seeds’. We are passionate about offering unique, bespoke alternatives to traditional education because we know that for many young people traditional education no longer adequately serves the evolving world. As a result, far too many are being expelled or excluded, simply because they don’t fit the box of traditional expectations. As part of

the solution to this ever-increasing problem, often using creative arts as bait, we design, develop and deliver alternative educational programmes and products that holistically serve young people and adults – mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. At the heart of our mission is a deep, deep love for young people and a core belief in the words I ignorantly and innocently sang at the school concert in year nine. The Place of Dreams is a global movement where we believe, as Whitney Houston sang so beautifully and eloquently, that the children are our future and if we teach them well – which may involve some ‘out of the box’ teaching – they will evolve and emerge as young adults who will lead the way innovatively with intention and integrity. In the year ahead, the dream is to secure a venture for the Place of Dreams headquarters and to run programmes and projects after school and at weekends. Our vision is to engage five million young people over the next five years, enabling them to have experiences that will empower them to create a life beyond their wildest dreams. Karen Allen is an author, speaker, preacher, and founder of the Place of Dreams, which delivers personal development and spiritual empowerment programmes.Visit

Preparation for Excellence Attention Parents/Carers looking for a golden opportunity for your children to gain a world class education at a prestigious school! We are looking for academically bright students from Black and minority, low income families to match with exclusive independent day schools in London or boarding schools nationwide. To ensure eligibility, the process toward accessing an educational bursary requires an academic assessment and a parent/carer means-test. Eligible students will qualify for our ‘preparation for excellence’ programme.

Interested? Contact stating your name and contact details (mobile and email), your child’s name, date of birth, school year and postcode.


Celebrating the many faces of motherhood Mother's Day shouldn't be for mums only!


eflecting on my childhood, I vividly recall my mother sharing stories about her own mother, who left this world when she was just a teenager, leaving an indelible void in her life. Gratefully, her older sisters and relatives stepped in, donning the shoes of a mother, and provided the love and support that shaped Mum into the person she is today. As I embarked on the journey from Nigeria to the UK for my A-Levels, the challenges of decision-making and learning were abundant. In the absence of today’s instant messaging apps, I relied on letters that took weeks to arrive. Despite the advancements in technology, I find myself feeling nostalgic for those letters from my parents. During my college and university years, a myriad of women – my cousin, her friend, church sisters and aunties, my pastor’s wife, uncles’ wives and even the career adviser at college – all played pivotal motherly roles in my life. Their guidance and support were crucial in navigating life choices, career pathways, marriage decision, and building a family. Although miles away, my mother's influence was echoed through these amazing women, and I am forever thankful for their impact on my life.

On Mother’s Day, my celebration extends beyond my biological mum to encompass these female figures who contributed to my growth. Their love, prayers and support did not go unnoticed, and I want them to know they made a significant difference in my life. Some were not mothers at the time, but they equally deserve recognition on Mother’s Day. Reflecting on the biblical story of Moses, who had three mothers – Jochebed, his biological mum; Miriam, his foster mum, and Pharaoh’s daughter, his adopted mum – it’s evident that all played a pivotal role in his life and all are worth celebrating. As Mother’s Day approaches, it’s essential to broaden our celebration to include all women who play motherly roles, day in and day out. Many serve in Sunday schools and youth churches, nurturing and shaping children spiritually, emotionally and socially. Some have experienced miscarriages or baby losses; others face strained relationships with their children. They, too, are mothers deserving of celebration. To make our Mother's Day celebration more inclusive, here are several ways we, as a Christian community, can embrace and appreciate all women: Watch Your Words: Let’s be mindful of personal and societal expectations placed on women regarding marriage and motherhood. Our identity as women is not solely tied to these roles, and our words should reflect understanding and healing. Here are two verses in Proverbs that buttress this point: ‘There is one who speaks rashly, like a piercing sword; but the tongue of the wise brings healing.’ (Proverbs 12:18) ‘Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.’ (Proverbs 16:24) Raise the Visibility of Diverse Women: Celebrate and showcase faith-filled women who find purpose and fulfilment in Christ, irrespective of their relationship or maternal status. Their stories can inspire and encourage everyone in the church community. Consider Ways to Appreciate Them: Make Mother’s Day services more inclusive for all women.

Find opportunities throughout the year to celebrate women in different seasons of life. Create Supportive Networks: Establish networks within the church community where women can connect, share experiences, and support one another. Recognise and appreciate the diverse roles they play, whether as mothers, mentors or friends.

" 's essential to broaden our celebration to include all women who play motherly roles, day in and day out." Provide Resources and Counselling: Recognise the challenges women face in different stages of life. Offer resources and counselling services to address issues such as infertility, miscarriage, or strained relationships. Ensure there is a safe space for women to seek guidance and support. Celebrate Single Women: Acknowledge and celebrate the strength and resilience of single women in the Church. Their contributions at church and their individual journeys deserve recognition and appreciation. Extend Gratitude Beyond Biological Ties: Encourage a culture of gratitude that goes beyond biological relationships. Express appreciation for the women who contribute to the spiritual, emotional and social growth of others, whether they have biological children or not. Highlight Unconventional Motherhood Stories: Share stories of unconventional motherhood, such as adoptive mothers, stepmothers, or those who serve as mother figures in the church and community. These stories can inspire a broader understanding of the diverse ways women nurture and guide others. By embracing these practices, we can make Mother’s Day a celebration that honours and uplifts all women, recognising the various and valuable roles they play in our lives. Funke Oham stands as an acclaimed mentor, author and speaker who underwent a transformative journey after facing the heartbreaking loss of two babies. Discover more about her story and work by visiting

The who, what, when and where of setting boundaries Dr T Ayodele Ajayi explains the importance of setting boundaries in relationships and the positive difference doing so can make


stablishing clear boundaries is essential for fostering and sustaining healthy marital and platonic relationships. However, navigating the nuances influenced by Black and church cultures can be complex. Failure to set appropriate boundaries can result in strained relationships, resentment, bullying, various forms of abuse, and detrimental mental health consequences. So, what constitutes healthy boundaries, and how can they be effectively established and maintained? Healthy Boundaries: What and Where Boundaries are the limits we set for ourselves and communicate to others. They involve clearly, concisely and calmly defining the rules within our relationships, encompassing both our expectations and requests from others, as well as what we will or will not tolerate. Boundaries provide a structured framework for relationships, fostering consistency, reliability and predictability. They contribute to our physical and psychological well-being, creating feelings of safety, health and comfort. The establishment of boundaries is influenced by our values, priorities and purpose. Which of us enjoys not being liked by others? Innate within each of us is a desire to be amiable. For some, setting boundaries can be relatively more challenging, especially when faced with the desire for approval from others. Those raised without clear boundarysetting role models – often from cultures or backgrounds where asserting oneself is discouraged – may struggle to define their boundaries.

Traditional beliefs, such as unquestionable spiritual authority or the unquestioned deference to elders, can further hinder boundary setting. A compromised sense of self-worth can lead individuals to prioritise others’ needs over their own. Lacking the skills or confidence to set and maintain boundaries can be another deterrent to healthy boundary setting. Each time our boundaries are violated, we are faced with a choice: Do I want to tolerate potential conflict by defending my boundaries, or do I want to feel resentful every time I let someone cross them? Boundaries: Red Flags Several indicators suggest a lack of healthy boundaries. These include difficulty in decisionmaking; guilt associated with asserting oneself’ frequent involvement in tumultuous relationships; oversharing; intimacy avoidance; feelings of resentment; and challenges with assertiveness. Additional signs encompass fear of rejection; loss of personal identity; people-pleasing tendencies; and chronic emotional and physical exhaustion from overexertion for others. Various types of boundaries apply to different relationships, including physical, emotional, sexual, work-related, ministry, financial and digital boundaries. Ten Tips for Establishing Boundaries: 1. Resolve own boundary myths and hang-ups: There is nothing unchristian about putting healthy boundaries in our relationships. They can in fact support unity. Despite being the Saviour of humanity, even Jesus had boundaries. The money exchangers were not allowed to get away with their transactions in the temple! 2. Take responsibility: Be aware of your responsibility to others in helping to set boundaries. Children learn the best by modelling adults, hence parents should demonstrate to children how and when to draw lines in their relationships.

Sadly, in a world teeming with predators, the onus is more imperative. The same responsibility goes for leaders of organisations in setting boundaries that becomes culture and standard. The NHS, for instance, operates a tough zero tolerance on violence against staff because this is a top-down boundary-setting initiative. 3. Clarity and identification of boundaries: Clearly identify where you wish to draw the line. If you don’t know where your boundaries are, don’t expect others to. Following identification, define your boundaries and be prepared to articulate them. 4. Decide on consequences of violation: There will be no point having boundaries that we do not enforce. Consider potential consequences if boundaries are breached and plan your response. 5. Seek professional help: Sometimes the inability to maintain boundaries can be telling of deeper psychological issues – usually unaddressed childhood trauma. This may require closer scrutiny through therapy. 6. Plan for consistency: Maintain consistency in enforcing boundaries, reminding others when they are violated, and avoiding rewarding boundary-crossing behaviour. Consistent response is crucial to embedding. As a rule, I religiously stick to starting times at our Tripart Care Well-Being meetings. This is to articulate our boundaries and create psychological safety for old and fresh attendees. Over time you get regarded for your boundaries. 7. Communicate openly: Discuss your boundaries calmly with others, allowing room for questions and reactions. 8. Negotiate when necessary: Be willing to negotiate while prioritising your core needs. 9. Manage emotions: If discussions become overwhelming, take a break and revisit the conversation later. 10. Periodically review boundaries: Regularly assess your boundaries and adjust as needed, providing feedback when appropriate. Dr T Ayodele Ajayi MBChB FRCPsych is a consultant psychiatrist, founder and convenor of the Tripart Care Emotional Wellbeing Hub and has a YouTube channel called Tripart Care.


THE NEW RULES OF DATING FOR CHRISTIAN SINGLES Author Joy Ani provides insights for Christians searching for love and desirous to get married


hristian singles face all kinds of challenges when it comes to dating. This includes expectations within the Christian community, along with the norms of society. In addition, there are complaints from both men and women that they find it difficult to even meet potential partners, let alone date them. Though it might seem difficult, here are some guidelines on how to meet potential partners, date successfully, and recognise when you have found ‘The One’. The first step to finding a spouse is by being in spaces where you can meet people. Here are three ways you can do so: Faith Social Circles: Christian singles can take an active part in church activities, Bible study, and volunteer work within their faith community. Engaging in these groups regularly not only promotes a sense of community but also raises the possibility of meeting someone who shares your beliefs. Purpose-driven Online Platforms: Adopting technology does not imply compromising moral principles. Christianfocused dating apps and websites provide a platform for people to meet and interact with other believers. It’s important, of course, to exercise discernment and select platforms that centre around common spiritual principles. Online dating can serve as a handy means of meeting new people while upholding

Christian principles, and it can be seen as an extension of one’s local church. Networking with Friends and Family: Word-of-mouth introductions are still an effective strategy. Meeting someone who shares your core beliefs can be facilitated by letting friends and family introduce you both. Since individuals closest to you are more familiar with your values and interests, this strategy frequently guarantees some degree of compatibility right away. So, you’ve met someone, and you decide to start dating. Here are some things to consider: Put Spiritual Compatibility First: When it comes to Christian dating, building a solid spiritual bond is very important. To make sure your individual spiritual journeys are in alignment, have meaningful talks about your faith, values and life goals. Establishing a bond based on common values offers a strong foundation for a long-lasting relationship. Establish Clear Boundaries: Keeping a Christian dating relationship strong requires the establishment of boundaries. Be transparent in your communication regarding physical limits while keeping God’s honour at the forefront of all you do. By setting these limits early on, you can establish and maintain a relationship that is based on Christian beliefs and values. Prayer and Discernment: When deciding on your partnership, use prayer to get direction. To successfully date as a Christian single,

you must involve God in the process – right at the beginning – and seek out His guidance and insight. Your decisions will always be in line with God's purpose and plan for your life and relationship when you put your trust in His divine direction. The key purpose of Christian dating is to find a spouse. Here are some pointers to help you realise when you’ve found ‘The One’: Shared Goals and Core Values: Your ideal partner should have the same aspirations in life as you and share them with you. Make sure your future goals are in sync, particularly regarding your faith, family and purpose. Mutual values establish a solid basis for a connection that will stand the test of time. Peace and Confirmation: You will experience confidence and peace if your decision is in line with God’s will. Putting your faith in His direction offers a spiritual reassurance that can help you get through the uncertainty of dating and relationships in today’s world. Grow Together: A partner who encourages you to become the best version of yourself could be a clue that you have discovered ‘The One’ for you. When both partners contribute to each other's spiritual and personal development, mutual growth creates a dynamic and rewarding relationship. Conclusion: Christians who are single and ready to date must not compromise their dedication to their faith as they face the changing nature of relationships. Seeking love and friendship ought to enhance rather than undermine the values that direct your life. As a Christian single, you honour God with your relationship by actively participating in purpose-driven activities, seeking mentorship, and remaining connected to faith-based groups. Following the ageless principles of love, respect and faith will act as a compass for Christian singles to embrace the divine love of God as the foundation of their faith, as well as building relationships that last. I hope the insights shared will enable you to travel on this journey with grace, purpose and unrelenting faith.

Joy Ani is the author of her recently published book, The New Rules of Dating.

CELEBRATING BLACK WOMEN IN THE NORTH WHO OFTEN GET OVERLOOKED Carol Stewart shares her inspiration behind Black Northern Women’s annual International Women’s Day Conference, which turns a spotlight on women in the North


ccording to the 2021 Census, in England and Wales the population of Black, Black British, Caribbean or African was 4%, with 49% of Black people living in London. As we approach International Women’s Day 2024, it is an opportunity to highlight the disparities that Black women face whilst taking a stand to bring about change. Black women in the UK face many disadvantages in society and in the workplace. A 2021 study from the London School of Economics, drawing on the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (the main survey of individual economic activity in the UK, which provides the official measure of the national unemployment rate), shows that Black women have the lowest probability of being top earners. UK-born Black women are the most underrepresented in the top percentile of incomes, as compared to all other women and men. There are many other disparities that Black women face because of their gender and ethnicity in the workplace and society. Black women in areas where there is a significantly lower concentration of people who look like them can often feel marginalised and isolated. That is why the annual Black Northern Women’s International Women’s Day Conference was started in 2019. Taking place in Sheffield, the Conference brings together Black women from northern cities for a day that empowers and inspires them to navigate gender and racial barriers. Women from as many as 22 cities throughout the UK attend for what has been described as a transformational experience. Such is the experience that women even travel up from London. Attendees are empowered and feel a sense of sisterhood as they connect with

other Black women with similar lived experiences. Last year, during a panel discussion, one attendee shared her experience of racism in the workplace. It had taken its toll on her self-confidence, mood and motivation. She said she nearly never came to the conference, but she was glad she did because she felt empowered to change her situation. Such was the transformation for her that when unforeseen circumstances meant a panel speaker could not make the afternoon panel, she stepped in, and she was a natural. It was hard to believe this was the same woman who, just a few hours earlier, was broken and lacking in confidence.

‘With a diverse range of businesses, it is a vibrant place to support these businesses whilst purchasing amazing products and services.’ Added to the enrichment of the day are the many Black women-owned businesses, showcasing their products and services. With a diverse range of businesses, it is a vibrant place to support these businesses whilst purchasing amazing products and services. This year’s conference is on 9 March at the Cutlers Hall in Sheffield. The theme is ‘Reclaiming Your Power’ and will be all about removing limitations that prevent Black women from achieving their full potential, so they can become all they are meant to be. For the first time, it is open to men. When it comes to achieving equity for Black women, men need to be part of the conversation. Not only so they can be allies and advocates, but also so they can better understand and support the Black women in their lives. An example of how attending a women’s

event helped a Black man better support his wife is that of a friend and her husband who attended a webinar on the menopause. This equipped him with knowledge and insight as to what his wife was experiencing. Now, when he sees signs of menopausal symptoms, he is quick to do what he can to support her. Paul Carrick Brunson is the keynote speaker this year. He is a renowned relationship counsellor, matchmaker, serial entrepreneur, television host, and author, who specialises in the science of interpersonal relationships and personal development. His expertise has earned him international recognition, and he currently serves as the co-host of Married at First Sight UK and Celebs Go Dating, in addition to being the relationship expert for ITV’s Lorraine and Good Morning America. His latest book, ‘Find Love’, launches on 1 February. Paul is also the founder and chair of Give Love, Build Hope – a non-profit organisation dedicated to transforming schools in rural areas of the Caribbean. Paul’s professional accomplishments are matched only by his personal achievements. As a proud secondgeneration son of Jamaica, he takes great pride in his roles as a husband and father. ‘Reclaiming Your Power’ is set to be a day of empowerment, inspiration, and transformation for Black women. You can find out more at https://

Carol Stewart is an executive, career, and leadership coach, and author of Quietly Visible: Leading With Influence and Impact as an Introverted Woman. Visit


The Power of Christian Sisterhood Esther Kuku writes why it’s important for women – no matter their relationship status, age, professional success or level of spiritual maturity – to nurture friendships with other women


o you have women in your life you can honestly share your heart with and be completely vulnerable? If not, what’s stopping you? Last year I celebrated my 50th birthday and received some lovely gifts. However, the most precious present of all was to be surrounded by women I’ve done life with for over 25 years. They know every scar and success and have never left my side, for which I am grateful. We are all hard-wired to desire a sense of belonging and connection. Our friendships provide a social family and enable us to feel safe, loved and accepted for who we are. Our lives have changed so much following the COVID pandemic. I must confess to being much more confident in my own space and with little company. I’m introverted and far from a social butterfly, and I have to be intentional about maintaining my friendships – especially with the cabinet of key women God has brought into my life. We need one another when we’re single and when we are married. God gave us friendships and told us to live in communities, not simply so we won't get lonely, but so we can help one another grow, and support one another through the challenging moments we all face on our spiritual paths. ‘These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the Word of God’ (Titus 2:4-5). As a sisterhood, we should suspend our natural inclination to surround ourselves with people who are like us. We don’t know who God is going to use to help us along our journey. Humility and prayer will ensure we are drawn to the right ‘metal’ in terms of building relationships. Remember, the Bible tells us that ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another’ (Proverbs 27:17). This also brings an aspect of accountability into our lives, so that a trusted friend can look close enough and lovingly advise us when we’re making wrong choices.

Helpful and real conversations come out of sisterhood. Ask God to open the eyes of your hearts, so you can recognise the help He is bringing in terms of a spiritually sharpening relationship when it comes your way. In the last year, I have really felt challenged in raising my seven-year-old son. I have a former colleague who has become a good friend. She is 20 years younger than me, but here’s the thing, she is a single mother, working full-time, raising two children under 14. There is no time for unruly behaviour in her world. She came to my house and observed the ‘state of play’, and how my children were running things. She was like, “This has got to stop! You say yes to everything, and they’re running rings round you! When you tell them off, they know you don’t mean it…” Her stern sisterly voice helped to restore peace to our home, and there has been a marked change in how we do parenting. I could have chosen to sideline her and not develop a friendship, as our lives are very different, and had it not been for work it’s unlikely our paths would have crossed. But that young lady was and is a lifeline, and my world without her in it would be smaller. We must be mindful of our throwaway world, where everything and everyone is expendable. We must hold on to generational sisterhood, where all ages and voices are valued. Proverbs 17:7 says: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”

This verse emphasises the value of true friendship and the bond of siblings. In the context of sisterly love, it reminds us of the importance of being there for one another during both good times and bad. By treating our sisters like close friends, we can develop strong bonds that transcend adversity and disallow room for jealousy and competitiveness. Nurture those special relationships with the woman God has brought into your life and be open to new ones – even if they do not come in the form that you expect. Remember, it is iron that sharpens iron. Ensure you are the right metal and remember the process is mutually beneficial – both pieces of iron need to rub together to be sharpened and that rubbing may cause friction sometimes – but ‘faithful are the wounds of a friend’ (Proverbs 27:6). Ultimately, these relationships will smooth off any dullness and rough edges we may have, and we will all shine all the more brightly for Christ.

Esther Kuku love God, love life, love people. Twitter: @mew36

Celebrating love, strength and womanhood through health and fitness Olivia Williams encourages women to practise self-care, by taking action that will help improve and maintain their health and fitness


s we step into the celebratory month of love, relationships and womanhood, it’s a great reminder to not only celebrate others but also YOURSELF. In the midst of the challenges and trying to be everything to everyone all the time, it’s easy to forget the importance of self-care.

Acknowledging Neglect Hands up if it’s ever felt easier to forget about yourself? Hands up if you’ve ever neglected the body God gave you and felt the weight of guilt? And hands up if you’ve ever felt the physical symptoms of guilt, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, feelings of unworthiness, poor energy levels, muscle tension and more? Although His grace is sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:9) and His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23), it’s time to address these signs and prioritise YOU!

Ageing Gracefully and Hormonal Influences As we age, there’s no better time to care for ourselves – especially around the age of 40. Changes occur in a woman's body: bones shrink in size and density, and muscle mass declines, affecting strength, flexibility and endurance. Research indicates that hormonal changes – particularly in progesterone, testosterone (it’s not just for men!) and oestrogen – vary during the menstrual cycle and menopause, affecting cell production. These changes can manifest into symptoms like changes in weight, water retention, and more. It’s essential to be mindful of these fluctuations, as increased progesterone and oestrogen levels after exercise may impact overall hormonal health. Monitoring the phases of your menstrual cycle can provide insights into hormonal changes and guide exercise routines.

natural treatments, such as managing stress, maintaining a moderate weight, ensuring adequate sleep, and incorporating herbal remedies like red clover, sea moss, and red raspberry into your routine.

Putting Yourself First Picture your body radiating love and strength, perfectly complementing the God within you. Imagine feeling your best, appreciated wherever you go, a result of the dedication to looking after the body where God dwells.

Secrets to Planning Ahead To help you on this journey, we’re sharing the secrets to planning for the body you desire. Before we delve into these secrets, ask yourself a crucial question: Would you like to feel and look your best, and be all that God has called you to be this year without guilt? The confidence to prioritise yourself comes from recognising you are more than enough.

5 Secrets for Health and Fitness 1. Stress reduction through exercise Combat stress, anxiety and depression through exercise that stimulates and releases happy hormones. Consistent physical activity increases good cholesterol and lowers bad cholesterol, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

These basic secrets are a set of lifelong habits that will improve your health as you celebrate yourself this month.

The Strength of a Woman LIVE Masterclass Just remember your health is important to God. You are called to do extraordinary things, and that's why we invite you to our upcoming FREE masterclass. Join us for an empowering training where we will reveal the three secret strategies to build resilience and thrive in challenging times. We will help you to build a wealthy healthy and victorious lifestyle – just give us 45 minutes of your time. Embrace love, strength, and the beauty of womanhood through intentional healthy lifestyle practices. Say no to guilt of putting yourself first in 2024.

The Body as a System Similar to a banking system, our bodies respond to what we put in. Just as the Holy Spirit does when He brings everything to our remembrance, our muscles have that capacity to recall the memory, but lack of input of the right things can lead to output deficits, impacting muscle mass and bone health, potentially causing issues like osteoporosis. To address hormonal imbalances, consider

4. Incorporate strength training exercises If you are new to strength training, it is advisable to use your body weight, dumbbells or household items. And train two to three times a week. 5. Reduce screen time Exposure to blue light, such as smartphones, tablets and computers, before bed can impact melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone that plays a crucial role in regulating sleep, and can have an impact on your sleep quality, cause fatigue, disruptions in mood, and difficulty in concentration, which may affect the overproduction of insulin in the body – the root cause of obesity-related illnesses.

2. Balance and flexibility exercises Include targeted exercises to enhance balance, flexibility, stability and coordination, helping to counter vertigo. 3. Antioxidant-rich nutrition Incorporate pomegranates into your diet, as they are antioxidants that protect cells from extreme radical stress and are high in vitamin C to boost the immune system.

Secure your seat at www.scriptfit. com/thestrengthofawoman

Olivia Williams is a clinical health and fitness/weight loss specialist, nutritionist, life coach, and spiritual leader.


Ministry leader and pastor, Yvonne Brooks, provides wise, compassionate and insightful advice to readers experiencing problematic life issues

Matters Heart of the

How can I end a relationship with a preacher boyfriend who hit me? I have been going out with a young man from my church for about four months. He is very well respected by the congregation, as he is a youth leader and preacher. I was initially excited and flattered when he showed interest in me; he is good-looking and considered a great catch. Most of the church knows we are seeing each other and is happy for us, but I feel under pressure to stay in the relationship even though I am not at all happy in it. I’ve found out that this 'man of God' has a bad temper, and when I frustrate him or he becomes impatient, he gets aggressive and shouts at me. He has even hit me - just the once, though. He was very apologetic when it happened. He is not the kind of man I want to spend my life with, and I want tips on how to get out of this relationship without causing too much fuss. Ade, Kent

Pastor Yvonne: Thank you so much for writing to me. There are so many red flags in your letter. As a man or woman of God, our private persona must measure up to our public persona. Good looks have to be complemented with good behaviour, a genuine heart for people, and what matters to God – personal relationships included. He hit you ‘once’ – that’s once too many. Who did you tell about this? A process has begun, where you are accepting violence and intemperate behaviour as part of a relationship and blaming yourself for his

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frustrations. Don’t allow any amount of joy on the part of the congregation to pressure you to continue with this relationship. You are the one who will live with the consequences. You stated that this is not the man you want to marry, so I encourage you not to waste time. Make an appointment to see your pastor and share your concerns. If you are worried about what to say, show them your letter and my response. Hopefully, they will agree to have a second meeting with yourself and the young man, and help you end the relationship if you desire. Hopefully, they will deal with some of the issues you have raised and make his continuing in ministry conditional on this.

I’m looking for a new sense of purpose now my children have left home. For the past 27 years, I have raised my family and been active in the church alongside my husband. I have loved and enjoyed my role but am now at a crossroads. All my children have left home, and I don’t know what to do with myself. I think it’s called ‘empty nest syndrome’. I have always had a good, loving relationship with my husband; however, I’m not sure about how to move my life forward. I have never been a careerist; my husband earned good money, so I was a stay-at-home wife and mother. However, now my children are gone, I desire a new sense of purpose and direction but don’t know how to find it. Any guidance you can give would be greatly appreciated. Vivien, Bristol

‘It’s time for you to put yourself on the front burner; you are not an accessory, but have your own unique purpose.’ Pastor Yvonne: You are different from the woman who got married years ago; now you

have wisdom, knowledge and experience. We were created for a specific purpose, and the things that you love to do, coupled with your gifts and talents, are all clues to your purpose. It’s time for you to put yourself on the front burner; you are not an accessory, but have your own unique purpose. Speak to your spouse and ask him to give you feedback about what he sees in you. You should also speak about how you see your lifestyle in the future and what you both desire.

If you would like help with a problem, email Your details will not be published. Pastor Yvonne Brooks is a co-pastor at New Jerusalem Community Church, Birmingham, and founder of Woman of Purpose, a ministry that encourages women to fulfil their purpose. She is also a speaker and author. For more details visit

Empowered by faith: The emergence of Christian Black women in entrepreneurship BY MICHELLE RAYMOND Michelle Raymond is an award-winning TEDx Speaker and Master NLP Practitioner, specialising in emerging leadership coaching. She founded The People's Partner Ltd, aimed at enhancing leadership pipelines and reducing organisational risk.


n the dynamic landscape of entrepreneurship, a particularly inspiring trend is emerging: the rise of Christian Black women as business owners. You need only look on Instagram, in particular, and you will see an array of Black female entrepreneurs showing us how to increase our income, value our personal power, and accelerate our startup business. All these women have one thing in common: they are faith-filled! But the story doesn’t end there. In amongst the faith sometimes sits fear, rejection and imposter syndrome. Here, we explore this phenomenon through a lens that is confident, humorous, educated and deeply human. Christian Black women are stepping into entrepreneurship, driven by a sense of divine calling. I know that I was pushed by God to deliver my first event in November 2023 in a bid to bridge the gap between corporations and diverse business owners. It was God-ordained, very much like the hundreds of women I see who have successfully married Business and Christianity. The businesses led by Christian Black women are not mere commercial ventures; they are missions infused with purpose and service. This purpose-driven approach is reshaping the very idea of entrepreneurship. By combining their deep faith with their entrepreneurial spirit, these women are creating ventures that serve and uplift their communities, echoing the Christian values of love, service and compassion. However, the journey is not without its challenges. Access to capital remains a significant hurdle. There are more Black female entrepreneurs than ever before, yet accessing funding seems to be a struggle. A Goldman Sachs report in 2022 stated that Black-led female-run businesses were nearly

three times more likely than their white business counterparts to report that access to financial capital and the cost of financial capital negatively impacted profits. Another unique challenge is balancing faith with the demands of the business world. Navigating this tightrope involves not only strategic acumen, keeping up with the changes, advancements and trends, but also a deep commitment to maintaining integrity and ethical practices. Business behaviours can get shady at times when you are reaching for the spotlight. One has to make sure that their decision aligns with their Christian values, ensuring their work not only generates profit but they don’t lose their soul whilst doing it. As an HR professional, I encountered a pivotal moment, where choosing the 'right path’ came with significant risks, including the likelihood of being alienated, potentially unpaid for my work, and possibly not rehired by the company that employed me. After several days of intense reflection and discussions with my family, I made the decision to prioritise integrity over income, knowing that I wouldn’t be hired by this company again and knowing that I would lose a friend. I relied on my faith to guide me through this challenging time, and it was the best decision I have ever made. Despite these challenges, the power of their faith is a crucial factor in overcoming obstacles. Faith provides not just solace but also resilience. It’s a source of inner strength that turns setbacks into opportunities for growth. But we must proceed with caution. You must invest in your faith to be able to reap the blessings that come with it. For those women, who wear their Christianity as a badge of honour, parading the streets of social media, professing godliness yet living a different lifestyle, have chosen a dangerous path. What

does the Bible say about double-mindedness? Yes, that part! The solidarity and encouragement shared among women of faith is immeasurable and has been a cornerstone of camaraderie and friendship. This support spans various platforms and settings – from business-focused WhatsApp groups to faith-inspired dinners and conferences. The deep sense of connection and mutual support in helping each other succeed and grow has been invaluable. Powerful businesswomen – like Lola Tomorrow, former aide for Michelle Obama; Christian woman in business, Marjorie Esomowei, Founder of The Wise Women Awards; and Christian woman in business, multi-millionaire property investor, angel investor and CEO of Event of Champions®, Camilita Nuttall – and many others have helped shape the way and proven that you can be a Christian woman and still run a hugely successful business. The supportive environment they create acts as a catalyst, empowering other like-minded entrepreneurs to forge ahead with confidence. Christian Black women entrepreneurs are redefining the business world. Their approach, rooted in faith and guided by a sense of higher purpose, is more than just a trend; it’s a revolution that’s reshaping the marketplace. Customers and clients are unashamed to say they work with Christian women or have joined membership groups because the founder was God-fearing. We are being seen and heard. We’re not just running businesses; we are leading faith-led movements, showing that with belief, resilience and community support, it’s possible to overcome barriers and achieve success in business, entering the global arena and taking territories.


The friendship factor in relationships Stephen J Thurston explains why friendship is an important component of happy, fulfilling intimate relationships


f someone were to present a recipe to ‘cook up’ a successful, happy, long-term relationship, it would probably include a few key ingredients. Maybe they’d start with a cup of love. Then they’d throw in a handful of romantic attraction. The recipe might also call for spoonfuls of intimacy, communication, commitment and trust. All these ingredients sound like the perfect mix, right? Well, the only problem is that there is no human being alive who can provide all those things all the time. Stress, time and negative events can all impact these factors within a relationship. So, while all these ingredients are important, I’d like to suggest that the most critical component and important ingredient in a relationship – that has proven to stand the test of time and helps partners to be more forgiving and loving towards each other – is friendship. Couples who are friends, above all else, are better equipped to survive stress and hardships than couples who are not. Couples who have a strong friendship with one another are more likely to enjoy each other’s company, respect each other’s ideas, and be more forgiving of each other’s mistakes. They know so much about each other, and they still accept the other for who they are. Couples who are friends talk more to each other, know more about each other’s inner thoughts, fears and pressures, and keep these facts in mind when interacting with their partner. Couples who are friends have emotional intimacy and acceptance; they have fun together and turn to each other in times of stress. Now, it is important to note that having a strong friendship doesn’t necessarily mean your

relationship will last – although it does help! Again, time, life events and stress can often diminish the friendship if the friendship aspect is not tended to – even when you’re living with each other. If couples don’t make an intentional effort to communicate as friends, hang out with each other in an enjoyable setting, or remain emotionally close to each other, the friendship will fade. All I’m trying to get you to see is it takes intentional effort to create a sustainable friendship. If you feel like you don’t know your partner very well – or you feel like your partner doesn’t know you – there are ways to increase your knowledge about one another and, in turn enhance your friendship, if the knowledge is retained and used. Simply put, feeling known by your partner and feeling like you know your partner will create closeness and friendship that couldn’t exist if this knowledge wasn’t there. If you want to test how well you know your partner, here are 15 questions you can answer true or false to. If you answer “false” to any of them, you’ve just created a conversation starter for later. 1. I can name my partner’s favourite hobbies 2. I can tell you some of the important events coming up in my partner’s life, and I know exactly how they feel about them 3. I know my partner’s worst childhood experience 4. I can tell you some things that my partner to accomplish in their life 5. I am familiar with my partner’s spiritual and religious beliefs

6. I can tell you about my partner’s best friend in childhood 7. I can describe in detail what my partner’s day was like yesterday 8. I know where my partner likes to go when they want to cheer up 9. I can list my partner’s three favourite movies 10. My partner knows my current stressors 11. I know the three most important times in my partner’s life 12. I can tell you what my partner’s favourite date has been with me 13. My partner knows who my best friends are 14. I know how my partner would spend their money if they won the lottery 15. Periodically, I ask my partner about their day Ultimately, a strong foundation of friendship provides a solid base for a healthy, fulfilling and enduring intimate relationship.

Stephen J Thurston is Senior Pastor of The Covenant, in Chicago, USA. He is also an executive and church leadership consultant, project manager, author of the book Mirror Moments, and supports leadership development. Visit

A GUIDE FOR SPRING CLEANING YOUR CURLY AFRO-TEXTURED HAIR Hair specialist Verona White says that people should spring clean their afro hair, and shares how they can do so effectively


pring is a season of renewal and rejuvenation and, just like your home, your curly afro-textured hair deserves a thorough spring cleaning. Spring is the perfect time to revamp your hair care routine and give your curls the love and attention they need.

HOW TO SPRING CLEAN YOUR HAIR 1. Detoxify Your Hair Just as you would clean your home, the first step to spring cleaning your hair is to detoxify it. Over time, product build-up can clog your hair follicles, leading to dull, lifeless curls. Use a clarifying shampoo to remove the build-up and restore your hair's natural shine. Look for products with natural ingredients, like apple cider vinegar or charcoal, which are known for their detoxifying properties.

yourself, trim your hair when it's dry so you can see the natural shape of your curls. If not, seek a professional who understands curly afro-textured hair.

4. Hydrate and Seal Hydration is key for curly afro-textured hair. After washing and conditioning, apply a leave-in conditioner to keep your hair moisturised. Follow this up with an oil to seal in the moisture. This method, known as the LOC (Leave-in, Oil, Cream) method, is a popular technique in the natural hair community for maintaining moisture.

3. Trim Your Ends Spring is the perfect time to get rid of those split ends that may have accumulated over the winter months. Trimming your ends not only gives your hair a healthier appearance but also promotes growth by preventing further breakage. If you're comfortable doing it

Spring is a great time to experiment with protective styles. These styles, which include braids, twists and updos, protect your hair from environmental damage while giving yourself a new look. Remember to keep your hair moisturised while in a protective style to prevent dryness and breakage.

7. Healthy Diet Finally, remember that healthy hair starts from the inside. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals will promote healthy hair growth. Incorporate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and biotin, such as fish, avocados and nuts, into your diet.

2. Deep Condition Winter can be harsh on curly afro-textured hair, leaving it dry and brittle. To restore moisture and elasticity to your curls, deep conditioning is essential. Choose a deep conditioner, rich in hydrating ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, and aloe vera. Apply the conditioner to your hair, cover with a shower cap, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before rinsing.

6. Protective Styling

5. Refresh Your Hair-Care Products Spring cleaning is also about decluttering. Take a look at your hair-care products. If there's anything that has expired, isn’t working for your hair, or simply not being used, it’s time to let it go. Replace these with products that are beneficial for your hair type. Look for products with natural ingredients and avoid those with sulphates, parabens and other harmful chemicals.

In conclusion, spring cleaning your hair involves more than just a good wash; it's about rejuvenating, restoring and renewing your curls. With these tips, your curly afro-textured hair will be ready to bloom this spring. Verona White is a hairstylist, wig technician, and author of 21DIY Recipes for Curly Hair. Verona is also editor of online magazine Afro Hair Growth Challenge, and author of children’s book The Hair Celebration Party. For personal hair programmes on growth, hair loss and other hair challenges, please feel free to contact Verona at


BUILDING MONEY CONFIDENCE AND FINANCIAL WELL-BEING Aleka Gutzmore shares insights designed to improve your money management skills and reduce financial stress


oney confidence and financial well-being exist side by side, and if an individual lacks in any of these two qualities, it can impact their finances and psyche. Money confidence is not high. According to research conducted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), just 28% of UK adults said they had low confidence in managing their money and 17.7 million UK adults (34%) had poor or low levels of numeracy involving financial concepts. Low money confidence is more prevalent in financially vulnerable households, young adults, particularly women, BAME groups, the unemployed and private renters.

What is Financial Confidence? There is no actual definition about what it means to have financial ‘confidence,’ as it can vary at different times for many reasons. However,, creators of ‘The Measures of Financial Confidence’ document, indicate that financial confidence centres around three key concepts: • Self-efficacy: whether people believe they can make effective financial decisions • Self-assurance: whether people believe in themselves, to act and follow through on those decisions • Self-determination: whether people have the intention and willpower to take control of their finances What we do know, is that confidence impacts behaviour. Lack of financial confidence and low numeracy can lead to increased risk-taking, exposure to money sharks and fraud, poor decision-making, and stress.

Impact of increased money stress The vast majority of people worry about their financial situation daily. Many are sick to their stomach, thinking about how they will manage or pay essential expenses in the future. Money stress is known to cause headaches,

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arguments with loved ones, and anxiety. Persistent financial stress can cause: • Depression • Digestive problems • Heart disease • Sleep problems • Weight gain • Memory and concentration difficulties There are simple and proven steps an individual can take to boost their financial confidence, alleviate stress, and manage their finances effectively. This process usually entails a planned approach to reducing expenses, shifting your mindset, and finding ways to earn more income. It’s also about empowering yourself to learn more about where your money goes and how to leverage it. Here are some tips to help you get started: 1. Establish your financial priorities. These will help you focus your efforts, provide a framework for your actions, and help you set specific, measurable, achievable and realistic goals. 2. Budgets do help. Start with your essential monthly expenditure and work up from there by adding saving and investment goals and implementing regular reviews. 3. Embrace a minimalist lifestyle. Learning to live with what you need and applying gratitude can lead to making ethical financial decisions that have positive effects outside of your financial affairs and towards others. 4. Automate your finances. Set your regular bill payments to direct debits to avoid late or missing payments. 5. Create an emergency savings pot. Aim to save the equivalent of three months of your

regular essential bills, and work on increasing this to 12 months. Add some personal protection to ensure long-term stability in the event of an accident or sickness, which may reduce your income and put your lifestyle and savings at risk. 6. Get 1-to-1 support from a financial advisor/mentor/coach. You only know what you know. Gaining support and knowledge from reputable sources will eliminate stress. “A problem shared is a problem solved.” Adding a supportive layer of accountability and encouragement is key to building your confidence. There is no shame in getting assistance when you have financial worries, as the data shows 1 in 4 UK residents have admitted to having low money confidence. Once you identify an issue or desire to improve your financial position or capability, you must make a start and don’t go it alone. Your financial well-being will impact all areas of your life – whether positively and negatively – depending on your approach and attitude. Finding the right balance and building financial confidence and well-being take commitment. I would encourage you to talk to advisors and organisations that have tools to assist you, and embrace the changes needed. It will be an investment that will pay dividends in more areas that money can’t buy.

Aleka Gutzmore is a UK-based financial advisor and creator of the Financial HUG™ Financial Life Coaching programme. She specialises in property funding and protection and was awarded the Mortgage Intermediary DEI Trailblazer in 2023.

URGENT Help a young person reach a safe place tonight This winter thousands of young people in the UK will have nowhere safe to sleep. Some are visible on the streets, but for many, their homelessness is hidden. The danger for all of them is very real. Nightstop is our national emergency service. Trained and vetted volunteer hosts welcome young people into their homes and provide a safe and warm place to sleep.

Will you help? A donation of £54 could pay for a night of safety, a hot meal and a listening ear with a Nightstop host.

To donate scan the QR code or go online at:

Cheques payable to ‘Depaul UK’ can be sent to Freepost RTXK–XRRE–AHLC, Depaul UK, Sherborne House, 34-36 Decima Street, LONDON, SE1 4QQ Your donation will support Depaul UK’s services wherever it is needed most. Depaul UK, Sherborne House, 34-36 Decima Street, London, SE1 4QQ • Patron: Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President: Sir Trevor McDonald OBE Registered Charity Number: 802384 • Company Number: 02440093 (Registered in England and Wales) Registered with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator Number: SC049244. Copyright © 2023 Depaul UK


Read authentic stories about the highs and lows of the single life. Gain valuable insights on how to successfully navigate being Christian and single. Learn tips on how to live a fulfilling single life and find love if that's what you want.

THIS BOOK WOULD MAKE A PERFECT GIFT! Visit to buy Available in paperback and e-book format

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