Alison Davis has been on the CCK staff for four years now, undertaking the role of operations manager. Alison tells Emily Sneyd what life is like working for the Church, and why she likens her job to The Generation Game...
AD: Well, my husband’s parents have been involved with CCK since its inception, so he was involved years ago, but it was at his sister’s wedding when I really felt something special about being in church. We were invited to attend a meeting at CCK by another couple, and we were starting to feel comfortable so we began to come on a regular basis and subsequently went on the Alpha Course. There was one night when elder, Dave Fellingham did the talk, and he gave this really great analogy about alarm clocks and whether we were putting our faith on ‘snooze’, and just continuously putting it off, when we what we really needed to do was just wake up and commit! This got to me, and so after the session I got prayed for by Wendy Virgo, and this was the point that I made head-response to the gospel. But I hadn’t yet committed my heart, and this came out of the blue one Sunday meeting when the Holy Spirit just changed me when we were worshipping and I knew I had to respond in my heart to Jesus. That was around 10 years ago, and Matt and I have been a part of the Church ever since; we quickly joined a small group and went on to lead one up until things changed with the introduction of Zones a few years back. Matt became an elder of the church last October.
AD: Before I started my job here, I was working for American Express for 14 years, and decided to take a sabbatical year, in which I started working one day a week for elder, Neville Jones. I enjoyed it so much, went back to Amex for 3 years and then I was offered a permanent job here. I’ve been here for 4 years now doing 4 days a week and I suppose my title here would be ‘operations manager’, which involves a lot of different things. I’m not legally trained, but I do deal with a lot of the legal aspects of Church administration like insurance, licences and contracts, and I am Neville Jones’ PA so I handle anything that is required. I also deal with some of the finance aspects along with other members of staff, and do things like risk assessments which are a requirement now. CCK is actually a company, so we’re accountable to the ‘Clarendon Trust Ltd’ and its trustees who ensure that we’re doing everything we should be, like all the legal things, for example. But, we’re a charity too, so there are certain criteria in place to ensure we do what we say we do. I often envisage my job as that conveyor belt on The Generation Game (showing my age now!) where you have to remember all the items that come through one by one, and it gets harder as they keep whizzing past you! In other words it’s very busy and varied, but I do love it.
ES: What is it like working for the Church, as opposed to working for a big company like Amex?
AD: I did have to get used to working here, it’s a totally different environment and there are some challenges, like there are with any job. But, there are far, far more positives than negatives; being able to take the time out to stop work and pray together when something comes up is just fantastic, and our weekly staff prayer meetings are invaluable too. I think the main difference is the realisation that I’m working for a bigger purpose here- I no longer have targets as such, or financial goals, but am working for God’s big picture for the church. When I was offered the job here, I was looking at a large pay cut and my colleagues at the time were just shocked! They all said though, that they wished they had the guts to do something similar- something worthwhile, that had real meaning.
AD: When I was working for Amex, I organised travel bookings for the Body Shop, and since then, I’ve really admired Anita Roddick. She was always someone I could identify with for wanting to achieve something for a larger purpose- and going to the ends of the earth to achieve that. The great thing for me is that even in the workplace I can have an ‘eternal perspective’ about what I do.
ES: What do you love about living here in Brighton?
AD: It’s the geography of it. I actually really love horse-riding, and when I can, I ride on the Downs at the back of Shoreham. I also love the peacefulness of where I live in Hove; it can be the busiest weekend in town, but it’s so quiet in my back garden and I can even hear the sea. It’s such a privilege to be just 10 mins from the sea and the Downs, and only 45 mins from London at the same time! Although, thinking about it, I really don’t like London that much...but it’s great for other people! I love the smallness of Brighton, and yet the fact that it’s still a City within that; there are really great restaurants and cafes in which to meet friends, and it’s a real testament to Brighton that so many people come here as students and then decide to stay here for the long-term. It’s what I did!
ES: Me too- Brighton is the place to be! Thanks, Alison.