Tottenham PA Interview

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Jake was interviewed last year about his life as a PA in Tottenham…

Tell us something about your work

Part of my work is to be chaplain to the youth group. I had no experience of working with children before I came here and, to those who are worried at the prospect, I would say it does come naturally after a while and is very rewarding.  I’ve also been running the Winter Night Shelter which has been a huge responsibility. It has taught me a lot about working with volunteers and has really boosted my confidence.

 What do you say when people ask you about Tottenham as a place to live and work?

It’s really nice!  My own small home town is worse where there is at least one fight in the pubs nearly every weekend!  You might expect to hear about drugs and guns and stuff but it’s actually very quiet here and most people go into the centre of London at the weekend to party. There’s no trouble and it’s friendly, people aren’t on edge – but it is London so people aren’t necessarily wandering around all day with smiles on their faces!

What are the worst things?

There us currently no internet access in my study area and the loft can be cold in winter but by far the worst physical thing was when we had to deliver almost 3000 leaflets in the local area in the freezing cold!

How has working as a Pastoral Assistant helped you to think about your vocation?

It has helped a lot.  It has made me think not just about what and where God wants me to be but also how he wants me to be which is not always the same thing as I have in mind.  This gives me a lot of comfort, particularly when I’m faced with a new challenge such as preaching for the first time as I did this morning.  Being a PA gives you the opportunity to experience parish ministry at first hand and to decide whether it might be for you.  Everyone is so supportive – of course you will make mistakes – but it is a learning curve rather than a job. 

How is your Lent going?

I wish I hadn’t given up biting my nails, particularly as I had to preach for the first time today!

How do you relax on your day off?

Well it’s London, so there’s so much to see and do.  My priest is a workaholic (!) but is also very strict about rest and the importance of protecting that rest time which I really appreciate.