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Building a diverse church
serving the communities of London

13th January 2022

An Interview with Kwaku Osafu

As I said in my last blog posting, over the next few weeks I want to profile a number of key leaders from within our black community and celebrate the skills, talent, faith and hard work they bring to King’s. I hope you all enjoyed last week's blog post introducing Janett Reid, our Head of Operations. Today I'd like to introduce you to Kwaku Osafo, who serves as an elder and trustee at King’s.

1. Can you tell us a bit about your background, education and work experience?

I was born and grew up in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. It is a place I still associate my ethnicity with, despite leaving when I was nine years old and spending most of my adult life in the UK and Western countries. My parents, brother and relatives still live there, and as a family we try and go back every few years.

I am married to Lucy who is Welsh. We have two boys aged 11 and 13 and a dog, Apollo – the family favourite. Looking back, my upbringing consisted of four main threads – faith, education, helping others, and playing and watching football. I try and echo those principles in my life today as a husband, father and leader, although I have mixed success playing football and resistance from Lucy in watching it too!

My parents were devout Christians and played active roles in their university and local church. My mother was an environmental scientist, and my father is an environmental lawyer involved with climate change. They were brought up to embrace the importance of hard work and education as an enabler in life and made sure that my brother, sister and I adopted those values. My father’s job as a United Nations diplomat took us to many different countries including Kenya, Switzerland, Germany and Kosovo. My exposure to different cultures is where I began to understand that people are different, yet in many ways we share common inbuilt interests and desires.

At the age of 13, I came to the UK and went to boarding school in Bedford. Unknown to me at the time, my school was less than a mile away from where Steve and Deb Tibbert used to go to church before they moved to London! After leaving school, I studied Economics and Management at university and along the way have qualified as a Chartered Banker, obtained a Diploma in Financial Crime Prevention and completed my Executive MBA.

During my time at university, I felt God clearly call me to a career in the world of banking and Finance. I have 18 years’ experience in financial services and currently work for one of the UK’s largest banks, heading up fraud and financial crime prevention within the investment bank and international businesses. In practice, this means I am responsible for protecting the bank and its customers from becoming victims of fraud or facilitating money laundering, terrorism financing, human slavery or bribery and corruption. Outside of work but in a related sphere, I am an independent board member of the UK’s leading anti-corruption non-governmental organisation.

2. How long have you been at King’s and in what capacity do you serve?
Lucy and I moved from Wales in November 2009 with our eldest son at the time and started coming to King’s from January 2010. We’ve enjoyed serving in various capacities during our time and presently serve on the Family Welcome Team at Lee. I also serve as an Elder and Trustee.

3. What do you like about King's?
What I like about King's is that we care for our own as much as we care for the person out there searching for Jesus. We make church, and therefore Jesus, open and accessible to all. I would like to think that people from all walks of life come to King’s and find their place, just as people, especially those who society shun, were drawn to Jesus because of the truth He spoke and His love for them.

4. What are your hopes for our latest series around the issue of diversity?
My hope and prayer for the upcoming series is John 13:34-35 – as we learn to handle the complex issues surrounding race and ethnicity in a Christian way, I hope that we will grow to love one another. And as we do, we will be a witness of Jesus to the world.

”A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”’ – John 13:34-35


Many thanks to Kwaku for taking the time to talk to us and help us get to know him a bit more.

Many of you will be aware that we are planning a new series around the issue of diversity, called UNDIVIDED. If you were at King’s on Sunday, you will have heard that rather than starting it this term as originally proposed, we have decided to postpone it until after Easter, by which time we hope the current rise in Covid cases will have subsided. The issue of diversity is key for us a church, and we believe it would be preferable to run the series when more of us are able to meet in person again.

In the meantime, we have just begun an excellent new series out of 1 Peter called Living Hope, a highly relevant teaching series looking at how God’s promises can sustain through difficult times. Please join us for the second part on Sunday, either in person or online, and if you missed Andrew’s opening message last week, I encourage you to catch up here.


Steve Tibbert

Posted by Steve Tibbert
16:12


6th January 2022

An Interview with Janett Reid

Thank you to all those who took part in our recent diversity survey. We will be reviewing the results in the coming weeks and will use it to help us in our preparation for our new diversity series, UNDIVIDED, which begins after Easter.

Over the next few weeks, I want to profile a number of key leaders from within our black community, and celebrate the skills, talent, faith and hard work they bring to King’s. Today, I’d like to introduce you to Janett Reid, who is our Head of Operations and part of the Senior Leadership Team. I'd like to thank Janett for taking some time out of her very busy life to answer some questions and allow us to get to know her a bit more!

Can you tell us a bit about your background, your family and where you grew up?
Although of African Caribbean heritage, I was born and partly raised in Chorley, Lancashire, in a Christian household. I’m the middle child, in a close-knit family of five. Being sandwiched in the middle was a blessing. I learnt from the wisdom of my elders, acted as a leader to my younger siblings and became more articulate and eloquent in putting my points across to make sure I was heard!

I am married to a wonderful husband called Devon, who supports and encourages me. He is my rock. I’m a mother to three incredible, unique young men. Two have a disability, which they manage in the best way they can. I am also stepmother to five beautiful young women and one very handsome young man. All our children inspire me daily. We are fortunate that our blended family works.

Can you tell us about your education and work experience before joining the King’s team?
I was partially educated in Jamaica. The experience helped me to understand my heritage, develop a strong sense of self value and cultural identity.

The pursuit of knowledge and the value of education was ingrained in me from an early age. Consequently, I have a first class degree in Social Policy, a Diploma Qualification in Social Work (DipSW) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGC.; I am also a Prince 2 certified Project Manager and hold the ILM Level 7 Exec and Snr Coaching Certificate. Finally, I have completed a range of CIPD accredited programmes in Equalities, People Analytics, Leadership and Management.

I worked for the Probation Service for 32 years, initially as a Probation Officer, latterly as a Senior Manager in a variety of roles and settings. As a middle manager I sat on several working parties within the Home Office dealing with issues of race. As a senior manager I lead the team that developed the Occupational Standards for Probation staff nationally. I was seconded to the Government Office London to produce and implement the Reducing Re-Offending Strategy for London.

As an Assistant Chief Officer for London, I led service delivery and frontline operations, and developed policy, strategy, and best practice across five London boroughs, Merton, Sutton, Bromley, Bexley, and Croydon.

My final placement before joining King’s was as Head of Diversity and Community Engagement for the London region. The role enabled me to develop strategic experience, skill, and expertise in tackling disadvantage.

How long have you been at King’s and in what capacity do you serve?
I started attending King’s in May 2010 and joined the staff team in 2017, initially working in the Jericho Road Project as Housing Support and Advice Lead. My job involved giving advice and practical support to people from varied, very often challenging backgrounds.

I moved to my current role as Head of Operations in March 2020 and I’m part of the Senior Leadership Team. My brief involves overseeing the operational and administrative functions of the church to ensure they work to support the Church’s overall vision. The work of my team is varied and involves strategic policy development and implementation, business process improvement, staff management and development, coordinating activities, building management, and completing risk and other assessments.

Since joining King’s I have also been part of a number of serving teams such as King’s Kids, Alpha, New Life and Freedom in Christ. I have also led several groups. In September I stepped back from serving for a season but have stepped in to help when needed. I aim to join the Welcome Team this year.

What do you like about King’s?
One of the things that attracted me to King’s was the excellent Biblical teaching, which is clear, uncompromising, and full of examples, illustrations and analogies that expand the passage so that everyone ‘gets it’.

I love our big heart for the poor. We are a generous church and the love and care shown for the poor is penetrating. This was clearly visible during lockdown with The Hope Initiative and food delivery project.

I also value the integrity, accountability and transparency in stewarding and caring for all the resources that God has bestowed on us.

Finally, I particularly appreciate our efforts to be more inclusive, our willingness to be vulnerable and engage from a Biblical perspective with difficult issues such as race, sexuality and discrimination.

As you know, our latest series around the issue of diversity starts after Easter. What are your hopes for this series?
That we are all motivated at the end of the series to work more intentionally to honour, appreciate and embrace the rich diversity of God’s people, so that God’s will, not ours is done!


UNDIVIDED, our latest diversity series, begins after Easter. Before that, we’ll be starting 2022 with a series called LIVING HOPE – Unbreakable Promises from 1 Peter. I do hope you can join us.


Steve Tibbert

Posted by Steve Tibbert
10:04


25th November 2021

Giving Review Update

As our Giving Review Month draws to a close, I thought I would give you a short update on how it’s going.

As you may remember, we were asking all of you who call King’s home to review your monthly giving as well as to consider making an additional gift towards Vision 2030. After a slow start during the first two months of the King’s financial year, we had set a target of between £200,000 and £220,000 in total offerings for November.

I am delighted to report that a significant proportion of the church have participated in the Giving Review so far. This reflects high commitment across the church, which is very encouraging. Our best indication is that we seem likely to finish the month at just over £205,000 which, though slightly below our faith target, would still be amazing. Massive thanks to all of you who have taken part!

Of course, it’s not too late to contribute, so if you have yet to play your part, please prayerfully respond over the next few days as we approach the end of the month.

Diversity Listening Survey
You may remember that in my Vision Sunday message in October I told you that we planned to conduct a listening exercise in the church, specifically on the subjects of race, diversity and justice, as part of our commitment to building a diverse church. The online survey is now live, and we would love to hear feedback from members of King’s about your experiences in these areas. It is anonymous and is focused on King’s in particular. It will take about ten minutes to complete.

Christmas
Finally, can I remind you that our first weekend of carol services is just a couple of weeks away, so now is the time to start inviting your friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues. To help us manage numbers at our in-person services you will need to book free tickets for everyone in your party, which you can now do here. An online version of the service will be also available, and you will find plenty of ideas of how to invite your friends and family, no matter where they live, here.


Steve Tibbert

Posted by Steve Tibbert
10:11


11th February 2021

Diversity Update

‘After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no-one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the lamb.’ Rev 7:9

King’s Church London has always been a diverse community – in age, class, and in cultural and racial heritage. This reflects our local community, and if you live in this part of south east London you will see the same diversity just about everywhere you go. Heaven will be like this, made up of ‘every nation, tribe, people and language’. If you look at our mission field and consider our eternal destination, then the local church should connect the present to the future.

Building a truly diverse church, one in which every person feels they belong, is not without challenge. In June last year I outlined our response to the awful murder of George Floyd, calling us to continue our journey of becoming an ‘Ephesians 2’ church (‘For he himself is our peace, who has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…’ ). These themes of missional relevance and heavenly perspective, rooted in biblical revelation and local church experience, are not new to us. Most recently, our 2017 INVITED series encouraged us to take intentional steps towards being a diverse church and to keep building relationships with those who are different to us. But the shocking events of last June served to highlight a truth which we already knew – that racial prejudice and its resulting injustice continues to be seen in our society, and that all too often, it remains unrecognised and unchallenged by those with the power to change things. The events of last June challenged us as a leadership to consider what more we need to do as King’s continues to address the important issues of race and justice. Here is a brief summary of some the recent steps we have taken so far:

• We addressed the subject directly on two occasions in our autumn preaching programme. I highly recommend listening again to the messages brought by our Teaching Pastor, Andrew Wilson, and by our friend Tope Koleoso, pastor of Jubilee Church, Enfield.

• We have profiled Ben Lindsay’s book, We Need to Talk About Race, and encouraged people to read it. This is an insightful and challenging book about the black experience in white majority churches. Last term, many of our staff took part in a weekly group to read and discuss the book together.

• We appointed Kwaku Osafo and Roberta Walker as new trustees at King’s.

• All our staff are attending unconscious bias training.

• We have held three separate consultation groups with members of King’s.

• Our elders have discussed the issues raised at length, including reflecting on such things as worship style, language, representation at all leadership levels, to name a few. These discussions are ongoing.

• We are planning another longer teaching series focussing on the issue of diversity and challenging us again to be an Ephesians 2 church.

• I would also value your prayers as I, together with some key staff members from King’s, advise, coach and talk with other UK churches as they grapple with this important area of ministry.

We are taking steps, but we know we have a long way to go. As we continue on this journey, I encourage us all to keep playing our part in building an Ephesians 2 church.


Please note there will be no blog next week as I will be taking a week's holiday.


Steve Tibbert

Posted by Steve Tibbert
17:00


Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham, Lee and Beckenham. The church has seen continued growth since the mid-1990s, both in terms of size and diversity.

As well as leading King’s, Steve hosts and leads Newfrontiers, a fellowship of apostolic leaders with hundreds of churches around the world.

Steve is married to Deb. They have three grown up sons and one grandson.

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