“She’s very passionate isn’t she?” was a common response to my Kids Friendly sharing over the past 14 years. My ecumenical friends would call me ‘the passionate Presbyterian’ which some of them rather cheekily suggested is a misnomer (let’s hope not!) I don’t mind being remembered as the ‘passionate Presbyterian’, but what I’d really love to be remembered as is a possibility person.
My amazing possibility friend and Kids Friendly champion, Mo Morgan, reflected at our recent Kids Friendly focus group, that my mantra is ‘what if….why not’.
My propensity to see possibilities is something that was honed by the many ‘possibility people’ I encountered on my Kids Friendly journey.
The Kids Friendly pilot in the Auckland region during 2004 and 2005 set me up for a journey of possibility. I was given, carte blanche, the brief to teach our churches to be ‘Kids Friendly’ in any way I saw fit. I loved running a pilot because it gave me permission to try anything without fear of failure. When the pilot ended and I launched Kids Friendly as a PCANZ national ministry, my possibility manager John Daniel said “Always see your work as a pilot Jill – life is a pilot!”
When I shared my dream (but lack of funding) to share Kids Friendly nationally with my possibility mentor Andrew Norton, he suggested there is no such thing as no money, only no vision. He urged me to share my vision and the money would come.
It was my possibility manager Simon McLeay who approached Presbyterian Savings and Development Society and secured funding of $100 000 from a possibility board.
Then there was possibility minister Martin Stewart who suggested the Dunedin Presbytery use a bequest to contract me to work in our ‘Vatican’ city for 6 weeks a year for two years and coach churches to become Kids Friendly. This possibility approach led to the eventual appointment of a full-time Kids Friendly advisor in that region due to the possibility thinking of the Synod of Otago and Southland.
I first experienced possibility man Martin Baker when we worked together at St Heliers Presbyterian. “Let’s do it” was his common response to my pie-in-the-sky ideas, and his appointment as AES and my manager meant possibility thinking could still be my modus operandi!
I shared my Kids Friendly story with the Council of Assembly recently and urged them to invite our service team leaders to voice their dreams and to respond with possibility.
So as I look back over my 14 years serving our church as the Kids Friendly Coach I see so many pillars of possibility (too many to mention by name, but you know who you are…) And as I look forward to my new role as Auckland City Chaplain at Large (or ‘free range pastor’ as one of my new colleagues has started calling me), I see so many possibilities.
My new possibility manager is John MacDonald, current chaplain to Auckland City and leader of SPLICE, a man whose motto is ‘we say yes!’
The SPLICE vision is to nourish courage, compassion and community in Auckland inner city. It’s a vision that persuaded me to say ‘Yes’ to this calling and all its possibilities.
Jill Kayser is moving on from her PCANZ Kids Friendly role to become a chaplain to Auckland City Central. It will involve wandering the streets, building relationships, nurturing a small congregation, and seeing the possibility in things. We wish her well!