In my humble opinion, Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” was THE pop song of 2017; not only did the summery tones capture the airwaves for the rest of the year, but the video was creatively executed and although simple, captured a unique medium of storytelling.
For those of you who don’t know me all that well yet, it won’t surprise you after that introduction that pop music acts as a cathartic release for me, as well as offering a unique lens to understand society through. The evolution of any musical genre gives us insight in to the people who created it, the people who enjoyed it, and the broader shifts of culture and taste.
The Kosovar-born Lipa, whose first name means “love” in Albanian, and her music manage to capture some of what makes me tick: a love for music that encourages me to push for that that extra mile when I’m out for my morning run, and a bizarre yet wonderful connection to Albania and the fledgling LGBTQ+ rights movement there. Ask me about it over coffee one time, I’d be delighted to share.
Whilst I don’t want to fall prey to the trap that many sermon illustrations are known to have succumbed to, i.e. “the tenuous link”, I do wonder whether the theme of “new rules” might be an apt introductory blog from me as I settle into my role as Executive Director of OneBodyOneFaith.
Of course, ranked among those “new rules” is that we organisationally no longer have a Chief Executive, but rather have chosen the title of Executive Director to represent what is now my role. The Trustees and I agreed that this is an intentional act, and not just about the use of language. It is an acknowledgement that we as an organisation are wonderfully dependant on our Trustees, members, supporters, donors, friends… And that my role sits not above all of those, but alongside them in partnership. As Executive Director it is my responsibility to drive us forward, to think big, and to challenge and execute change, but I do this alongside all of you.
So, my first “new rule” is simply: we must work together.
I think it’s also worth mentioning that our landscape has shifted dramatically in recent years, and we have to move accordingly. Organisationally we have faced some trying times and we must now look to the future and ask the question: are we ready? In the coming weeks and months, I will be spending a lot of time meeting with you and our partners, listening to what you believe the lay of the land to be like and seeking to determine how can OneBodyOneFaith continue to bring about dynamic and powerful change in the lives of individual LGBTQ+ Christians, and in our churches.
My second “new rule” summarises this as: we must be proactive.
And finally, we are an organisation that relies on the hard work and generous support of people. I believe our greatest strength is that we are a membership organisation with sound governance and a respected and tested legacy. This enables us to effectively and transparently embark on some exciting projects, all the while keeping our members in the loop. Yet, as with any organisation: we need more members. We need more people willing to sacrifice one cup of coffee a month to join our historic organisation so that we can continue to bring about real change in the heart of Christian communities across the UK. If you aren’t a member but you’re reading this, may I encourage you to sign up today? Or reach out to me and I’ll happily talk through any questions you might have. And if you are a member: invite one friend or family member to join us – there are a number of membership options that seek to make being part of OneBodyOneFaith as accessible as possible.
Which means my third “new rule” is: we must grow our membership.
As I continue to find my feet, I know that I can rely on all of you to continue to loudly and proudly support the wonderful work of OneBodyOneFaith. We face some challenging times ahead across the breadth of our denominations, but there will also be times to celebrate and laugh with one another too.
Let us hold one another in prayer, support each other in action, and encourage each other in words. And don’t forget my “new rules” too…