Bekah, tell us about a bit about yourself.
I’m a bit of a Jack of all trades trying to find something to master – I am trained as a History teacher but currently go into schools delivering workshops looking at sex and relationships, I run a discipleship group for 15-18 yr olds in my community and I am Editor of Liberti magazine. Above all of that I am Mum to six great kids who practically constitute a youth group in themselves!
Why did you feel there was a need for a magazine for Christian women?
While I’m a bit reluctant to admit that I followed my husband’s lead; that is actually what I did. Steve created Sorted Men’s magazine four years ago and since then so many women have asked if he could produce a women’s equivalent. It had never really crossed my radar before, but as more and more women asked, I looked into it and realised that there was very little out there for women like me. Liberti actually existed before we were given it; it was created by Bev Murrill who is an inspirational powerhouse of a woman! Just as I was beginning to get really excited by the potential of a new women’s magazine, Bev emailed us and asked us if she could hand Liberti to us. The rest as they say is history.
What’s your vision for Liberti magazine? What type of women’s magazine is it?
Ultimately I want Liberti to be a rally cry for Christian women around the world. Liberti comes from the Latin word for freedom and I want to liberate women in this country to be all that they were created to be by holding up great role models and elevating the debate about the role of women in the church. Then I want to inspire these women to address issues of oppression and gender inequality around the world. It’s a big dream but globally women do two thirds of the world’s work, receive 10% of the world’s income and own 1% of the means of production. That doesn’t add up. Millions of women face a battle to survive from the moment they are conceived and in this country we are in the privileged position of being able to do something to change that. I can’t think of a single good reason why we shouldn’t.
What are you most excited about in the next issue?
Tell us about your work with Lifecentre in Chichester.
Lifecentre is an incredible organisation founded 10 years ago by Maggie Ellis; it exists to support survivors of Sexual Abuse. Christ lies at the heart of all we do but our services are available to everyone regardless of race, gender, faith or sexual orientation. My role is to go into schools, raise awareness of the issues and give young people the tools to avoid ever needing our services. Young people are under incredible pressure from the media and each other to become sexual beings. We try to lift the lid on that pressure and help students to consider their boundaries and how to communicate them. It’s a great job – I love it. I’m actually leaving Lifecentre in the New Year but am planning to continue going into the secondary schools in my town to run workshops on these and other issues with a vision to challenge and change the culture that our young people live in.
What should a youth worker do if they find out a young person has suffered sexual abuse?
Each church will have its own safeguarding procedures; the important thing is to know these and to know who you report to. Sometimes it can feel like a betrayal to break a young person’s confidence but always remember that they came to you because they wanted help, even if they are scared of the consequences. Always be straight with young people – tell them from the start you can’t promise confidentiality and involve them when you report the abuse – if possible let them listen in to the conversation. Up till now they have had no control over what has happened to them, it’s really helpful to empower them now as much as you are able.
What are your biggest concerns for your daughters as they grow up?
Having a job like mine is a bit of a nightmare because I know too much. I know what happens at parties, I know how girls get treated on facebook and in school – sometimes I wish I could wrap them in cotton wool and protect them from reality. I can’t. Instead I can teach them to know their mind; I can build their self-esteem and teach them to respect themselves and those around them. I want to raise independent, confident women of God who know their place in life and who can give that gift to others.
As we publish this interview, you’ll actually be in Haiti. What are you going to be doing over there?
I’m going out with a team from Spring Harvest and we are looking for a Compassion project to sponsor. The theme of Spring Harvest 2012 is Church Actually, I’m really excited about it = exploring God’s intentions for church and encouraging people to go home and empower their church to be a light in their community. It’s perfect that we will be partnering with a church in the poorest country in the western hemisphere and enabling it to do the same. I’m not sure of all that I will be doing but I will be blogging as I go at liberti-mag.blogspot.com
You can find out more about Liberti magazine and subscribe at www.libertimagazine.com.