Our General Secretary
My name is Yvonne Campbell and I have worshipped at Wavertree Congregational Church in Liverpool all my life. My sister and I joined the Girls’ Brigade and Sunday school. With my Mum we all became members of the church and took on different responsibilities. I became a leader of the GB and the Pilots when the brigades closed.
I started taking on more regional roles. I am still Regional Pilots Officer for Mersey Synod and was Children’s work coordinator for the CF. I attended national meetings and training events and met many friends. Gail Stephens-Tuffee was one and with Matt Waddington we ran the children’s programme at the ministers’ conference and autumn gatherings for many years. I loved this work and it helped me explore and develop my faith more.
It was Sandra Turner, then Area Minister for the North West, who asked if I would be interested in doing the Foundation Course that was being piloted at local level. I went every month to Hope Congregational Church to complete the course and would recommend it to everyone. I learnt so much – I was challenged and encouraged and wanted more so along with Liz Dean and Ken Hague went on to complete the Integrated Training Course.
It was such a time of blessing for me – it brought church to life, I enjoyed the worship, I enjoyed the learning and I made lifelong friends.
I started preaching more and visiting new churches and really prayed about going into ministry but didn’t feel that was what God was calling me to. I felt quite lost at the end of the course especially seeing all my friends being ordained.
I was a teacher, working in adult community education, teaching IT, customer service and maths. I loved my job, I had pastoral care for all my students, I worked with teenagers, the elderly, young mums, recovering drug users and alcoholics. My students shared and disclosed their personal situations with me – the joys and sorrows. That was how I worked for God in the heart of communities.
During the Integrated Training Course, we had to do placements and, because I lived about an hour away from another congregational church, I did my placement with Alan Crump who was minister at two local URCs-St Columba in the Hunts Cross and St James in Woolton. It all seemed too much for me – two churches, one with over 100 members which was certainly out of my comfort zone. I was really frustrated having to take on such a big placement project but of course God was working his plan out and through these placements I met my husband Dave and my life changed forever.
Dave worked on the website for St Columba and his mum was an elder. Dave and I got on really well from the start and ironically got together the one weekend the training course was cancelled because of snow!!
Dave and I married in 2011 and we were blessed with a baby in 2013. Poppy is a joy, I adore being a mum – it’s the best feeling in the world and I would love more children if I could. She will be two in September and learns something new every day. She is my priority in life but it felt good to go back to work, however difficult at first. I enjoy teaching but when I saw the job advertised for General Secretary and read the job specification, something sparked me to apply. I met all the criteria, it was homebased and would bring me back to my original goal to work for God.
When I was thirteen I wanted to be a missionary. The minister of our local URC had been a missionary in Africa and said: Yvonne you need a skill, either teacher or nurse. My mum was a nurse and knew I didn’t have that calling so I went down the teaching route. After school I did a degree in Consumer Studies but a primary PGCE was not the route for me, so God led me into Adult Education.
I didn’t expect to get the job as General Secretary and still can’t quite believe it. Yet in my heart of hearts I knew if I was offered it, I would have to take it, no matter how many wobbles I felt. My mum prayed with me and I instantly felt God’s peace.
I don’t really know how this job will develop as the role has changed! My primary purpose is to advocate Congregationalism. I want to be able to visit churches and encourage people – I’m not into telling people what to do – I’m interested in finding God’s will and praying for it to be. I’m interested in studying Congregationalism afresh and supporting churches in how it works in 2015. I’m interested in using the power of the Holy Spirit to rule our church meetings and give peace.
We take this role on as a family. I have an open door policy. Contact me, message me, fill my diary and let’s see how God moves.
(started in role July 2015)