In the first of a series of occasional features, we meet one of the key teams supporting work across the Diocese from Church House.

The first thing you notice about this unlikely quartet is how well they get on together and work together, their humour and good-humouredness.

The second thing that strikes you is their devotion to their work and to their families.

Family values

“My wife and young son are the most important things in my life,” says Ian. “Since he was born, my emotions have gone through the roof. Before that, I think I was quite self-centred.”

“You’ve never been self-centred,” Rosey laughs.

“It’s family that motivates me,” says April. “It used to be all about work. Now it’s about my husband and my impending son.”

April is due to give birth later this summer.

“Once your son’s born, your husband’s importance will just drop off a cliff,” jokes Ian.

“Except when you want him to look after the baby,” Rosey adds.

Simon says that his marriage is the most important thing in his life.

“We don’t have children, so we don’t have to share the love,” he says.

“You don’t have the worries,” Rosey supposes.

“Or the cost,” Simon laughs.

“Or the joy,” he adds diplomatically for the sake of the parents in the room.

Rosey’s children are now grown up.

“I’ve been through all the stages with them,” she says. “They now get on with their own lives. I try not to worry about them anymore.”

Operational parameters

These family-minded women and men also all agree that another of the great joys in their lives is the privilege of living in Cornwall.

Simon was born in Newport and April in Derbyshire but both moved down here as children and were raised in the Duchy. Rosey and Ian are both Cornish born and bred.

Ian, April, Rosey and Simon make up the operations team at Church House – a team which does pretty much everything imaginable to support the continued smooth running of the Diocese.

“We try to support everyone in the organisation, to keep everything going,” April explains.

“We’re like the engine room,” Rosey says.

“We’re the first point of contact for most people,” Simon adds.

“We were once asked to sum up our work in three words,” says Ian. “It’s simple: we support everybody – all our stakeholders in the Diocese.”

It seems fair to say that if they did what it says on the tin, we’d need a bigger tin.

Ops… they do it & more

In addition to their core operations work, they each also have several other roles. Like others at Church House, they wear so many hats one might be forgiven for having assumed their lean team would be rather larger than it is.

Between them, they take calls, staff reception and collate the mail, run health and wellbeing and mental health initiatives, and support the environmental, safeguarding, social responsibility and parish giving teams.

They service committees, minute meetings, and help to maintain registers of parish officers, clergy and Deanery Synod memberships, and to manage the process which grants retired priests permission to officiate in the Diocese.

They’re responsible for everything from the provision of office equipment and IT to ensuring health and safety compliance in Church House.

In short, their work underpins the day-to-day business of the Diocese.

A one-stop ops shop

Much of their work involves talking with members of the public and with our parishes.

“It’s about promoting a line of sincere communication with people in the parishes,” Ian says. “Everybody who rings up is someone who needs something – someone you do your best to help. Sometimes it’s just about being a voice at the end of phone for somebody – to listen to them and to offer them some empathy. There’s real satisfaction in that.”

Simon agrees that the joy of the job is that it’s about “helping and supporting people”.

Simon and Ian have been working at Church House for two years, April for less than six months. Rosey has worked for the Diocese for 17 years.

They’re all very aware of the challenges facing Anglican Church in Cornwall in these times of extraordinary global crisis and change.

“Change is necessary for survival,” Ian says. “When we embrace change from a positive perspective, it becomes easier.”

Simon agrees. “When you’re kept informed and you’re supported, you really welcome it,” he says.

“It’s important that we stand by people through this process,” Rosey adds.

Theatre of operations

Rosey adds that she feels lucky to be part of such a supportive and positive team.

“The feeling in the office is really good,” she says. “It really works well. We’re very fortunate to have that.”

“It’s about believing in good and working with good people,” April adds.

“The best thing about working here is the people you work with,” says Ian. “It rubs off on you. I honestly enjoy coming to work.

“The way the organisation’s run is really refreshing. We’re empowered to do the jobs we do, with humour and grace. It’s inspiring to have such dedicated people around you. There’s inclusion all the way.”

As Operations Manager, Ian’s responsibilities include line-managing his colleagues in the ops team.

“But they’re very self-sufficient,” he says. “That makes my life very easy. I like to think of myself as a servant-leader. My job’s to make sure everyone’s got what they need.”

The team’s work is overseen by Kate Cortez, Head of Operations at the Diocese.

“They’re often the first people someone talks to,” Kate observes. “The mixture of pastoral, practical and personal support they provide is vital. We’re really lucky to have this brilliant team of kind and hard-working people who really care about people and parishes, working as the face of the Diocese for so many people.“

Indeed, we might suppose that this caring, hard-working family-loving crew function a bit like a family themselves, full of love and hope, devotion and personality – and, of course, different kinds of personalities.

“And I’m the quiet one,” Rosey protests.

“Yeah, sure,” the rest protest even more vigorously.

It’s an eccentric family perhaps, but certainly a loving one. And it’s one for which the too-often unspoken gratitude of those of us in the Church to whom they give their daily support is truly justified.

Ian, Kate, Rosey, April and Simon