Maximise Speaker – Helen Thorne

Nine Thirty Eight

Helen is Training and Mentoring Director at London City Mission, which serves the London churches in sharing the good news of Jesus. She will be joining us as a speaker at Maximise in January. We caught up with Helen recently with some serious and less serious questions...

What's God been teaching you recently?

I love the metaphors for God that we find in the Psalms and, whilst all the characteristics of God remain unwaveringly constant, it’s intriguing to see how, in different contexts, the Psalmists turn to different metaphors. 2019 has been a year of many tough things and so the reality of God being my rock and refuge has very much come to the fore. That unchanging strength and security – that image of safety within the storm – that reminder of my smallness and his greatness have all been drilled down deep into my heart. Of course, I still forget these wonderful truths on a regular basis but there really is nowhere, no-one better to turn to when life is hard. It’s been great to reflect on the fact that the rock and refuge is a community place too – not a place of solitude: as brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called to enjoy his protection together. I think that truth has fuelled more than a few Costa coffee conversations when standing alongside others who are having a tough year too.

What's the most interesting place you've visited and why?

Oh that is such a hard question – I’m privileged to travel quite a lot in ministry and every place has its own unique joys. If pushed, I think I might go for The Gambia, though. It’s not just that I enjoy the multiple marriage proposals that come in a culture where a never-married woman is considered somewhat strange (11 in a week is my record so far!) – nor even the personal challenge of staying focused whilst lecturing under a tin roof in 40 degree heat whilst lizards of various sizes nonchalantly saunter in and out of the sessions – but the question of how to do mission well in a Muslim society that in many ways is highly matriarchal has kept my missiological mind whirring (and praying!) for many a year. Of course, the people are just wonderful too – definitely a place to go for great food and very special friendships!

If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

I’m tempted to say Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture. I have no desire to glorify war, or glamorise revolution, but a good volley of (health and safety compliant) canon fire seems quite a fun way to enter a room! More seriously, however, I might opt for “In Christ Alone” – it’s my absolute favourite song and despite my crazy life, and wayward heart, I really would prefer people to be focusing on my Saviour and all his benefits, rather than me, whatever the occasion.