Profile: Joy Taylor
St John’s Deputy Churchwarden Joy Taylor talks about her involvement in the life of St John’s, as well as the importance of MEACC, Black Voices Matter and Black History Month.
How long have you been coming to St John's?
For about 18 or 19 years – since my son was about 8-9. We first came to St John’
s for my nephew's wedding. A week or so later, we came back for the baptism of a friend’s baby.
Andrew Whittaker, who may have been churchwarden at the time, remembered my son and me from the wedding and said “hello, welcome back”, we chatted, and I asked him if there was a Sunday school at the church as I wanted my son to go to a Sunday school. St John’s seemed friendly, so we come back the following Sunday, and the rest as they say is history.
Can you tell us about some of the roles you have held?
I think my first role was helping with Sunday school then becoming a Sidesperson. Then Fr Charles asked me if I would like to be Churchwarden, I was thrilled and surprised to be asked. I remember after it became public not everyone was happy with my appointment and voiced their opinion but I still took on the role and enjoyed it.
I was churchwarden for a few years and also sat on the PCC, Deanery Synod, Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns Committee, the board of Diocesan Council of Trustees (for three years) and also small sub-committees ie Standing Committee, finance, money counting, safeguarding groups, and then became Deputy Churchwarden. I’m a minister of communion, I also had a short stint as a governor at St John’s and St Clement’s School, but I realised I was doing way too much and spreading myself too thin and gave up the governorship.
Most of these groups and committees I decided to go on when my son went away to university and I was suffering from empty nest syndrome. I did/do enjoy most of them.
Most of them basically involved attending meetings to make decisions in regards to the running of the church.
Currently, I'm still Deputy Churchwarden, which mainly comes into its own on a Sunday morning, and because of lockdown we have only just started getting back on a vaguely normal track and still streaming live services via Zoom.
What I enjoy most is the interaction with the congregation, being a point where people feel they can ask me a question in regards to church life, or sometimes personal things. I like the fact that people feel that they can come to me and ask me a question.
You're also involved with MEACC – what is that and what does it involve?
Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns Committee (MEACC) is basically a committee that deals with UKME (formerly known as BAME) Anglicans’ concerns within the church.
It’s not a group that is solely attended by UKME people: if you are an ally of UKME concerns, you are most welcome. Each episcopal area has a MEACC, and I belong to the Woolwich area MEACC.
At the moment MEACC is top-heavy with clergy members (which in itself is not a problem) with a small number of lay members. Any concerns raised that cannot be resolved by the committee are fed up to the Diocesan MEAC Committee for consideration.
Our door is always open, and we would love to welcome new members especially from the laity and if anybody is interested in joining they can contact me for more info.
As a member of the Black Voices Matter Group, what are the aims of that group, what are you discussing, and do you have any plans?
The BVM group just had our first workshop on race equality and unconscious bias with our PCC members. This first pilot workshop went very well, we're hoping for feedback so it can be tweaked and eventually rolled out to the rest of the St John’s congregation.
The aims of this group are to foster a culture of togetherness and race equality, eliminate any form of discrimination within our church and take an anti-racist approach to help create the scale of change that the group believe is needed and make the church a greater place to worship for everyone.
In an ideal world we would like everybody to be anti-racist as opposed to being non-racist, which is a passive stance. We hope to define these different terms within the workshop. There is a gap of how we want to be and how we are now, which demands each of us play our part, and the workshop is part of how we hope to do this.
This month is Black History Month – what does it mean to you? Are there any events/activities you are planning to take part in?
What do you like to do in your spare time?
We as a church decided to hold our harvest festival celebrations together with the first day of Black History Month.
The reason behind a joint celebration is to highlight the inclusiveness at St John’s: we are one big church and not divided. The same people celebrating harvest festival are the same people that will be celebrating Black History Month.
This is just one of the ways we hope to celebrate BHM in the month of October. People can also come along to any of the celebrations to show support. Once we get our ideas up and running, we will be advertising for help so keep your ears peeled!
If I'm lucky enough to get any spare time I will sleep or catch up with TV soaps (my guilty pleasure). I also like getting dressed up and going out and I now have a love of the theatre, through my son, and will go and watch him in a play several times with different people.
The latest play he is in, I have seen three times.
What are you looking forward to doing in the next year?
In the next year???????? Hopefully, sort out my aged knees and back are the first things that come to mind… This would allow me to do a lot more!