Introducing Elinor Magowan
We’re delighted to announce that Elinor Magowan will join our Ministry Team in January to work alongside Elisabeth Smyth as our Women’s Ministry Coordinator. Here’s a quick interview that will help you to get to know her better.
Tell us a bit about yourself – church, family & faith?
Times of change are good opportunities to reflect and be thankful. I’m in that position at the moment and I was drawn to one of my favourite verses recently: “I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.” (Psalm 116:1-2)
I became a Christian at the age of 13. I’d heard the gospel many times - from my parents, from sermons (my dad was a minister) and from Sunday School teachers. After a time of knowing I couldn’t be good enough for God in my own strength, I trusted in Christ and His death for me on the cross to take away my sin and in His resurrection for new life.
The Lord has graciously kept His hand on my life. I married David 28 years ago and we are blessed to have two daughters Angharad (22) and Dilys (20).
David is one of the pastors at Carey Baptist Church in Reading. It’s a large multi-cultural congregation in a needy area near the town centre. It is great to be part of a church that is taking the good news of Jesus to men and women and children from many countries, across a range of ages, and from different sections of society. Being part of Carey brings many opportunities to be involved in God’s work.
Where have you been serving the Lord up until now?
Before we moved to Reading in 2009, David was pastor of Whitby Evangelical Church in North Yorkshire. We served the church there alongside many hard-working members. Prior to that we were members of churches in Reading, in Stockport, and in California.
In the early 1990s I was a UCCF staff worker in its East Central region. For 10 years, I taught English to asylum seekers in Teesside and then as part of the English language ministry at Carey. Currently I teach Sunday School and it’s a privilege to see children in the church growing in their knowledge of the Bible and coming to trust Christ. As a pastor’s wife there are lots of opportunities to come alongside women in varying circumstances, to counsel them, to encourage them as we study the Bible together, and to help and support them practically. We have an active women’s ministry at Carey and its good to be involved there too.
Over the last four years, I’ve had the immense privilege of being the Women’s Pastoral Worker at UFM Worldwide. There are 90 women in the mission and I’ve encouraged many of them through various challenges and also sought to help sending churches to support their women in mission more effectively. There are women in faraway places of the world that I am going to miss being in contact with regularly!
How do you feel about your role at FIEC?
I’m a little daunted but excited as well! It’s an opportunity for me to rely on the Lord in a new way as I join the team at FIEC. It will be a huge blessing to work as a Women’s Ministry Co-ordinator in a job-share with Elisabeth Smyth. What a joy it will be to learn from Elisabeth and work with her. We benefit too from the wisdom, in particular, of Johnny Prime on the Directors’ team.
I’ll be working predominately with ministry wives with whom I have a natural affinity! I trust I will have an empathy and understanding of the joys, privileges and challenges of serving God alongside our husbands in church ministry in the UK. I’m excited about getting to know many women in ministry and ministry wives, hearing their experiences, and encouraging them each to look to the Lord and know His sufficiency for all He asks of us.
It will be great to learn more about what the Lord is doing through FIEC churches and to see God’s Kingdom coming as a result of the faithful work of men and women in ministry. I’m thrilled that I will see something of the breadth of situations of women in ministry and ministry wives serving in local churches, some smaller, others bigger; some struggling, others growing; some new church plants and others more established; some in villages, others in towns and cities.
I know God is able to use me as I look to Him and depend on His grace and strength! I feel very privileged to have been appointed to this role.
How would you like to see the Lord use you in this role?
Being a ministry wife or serving as a women’s worker can bring particular challenges as well as great blessings. I would like my role to be one that enables these women to love the Lord more deeply, to hold onto His Word more firmly, and to prove His faithfulness every day. If we do this then the Lord will shine through us to bring greater glory to Himself.
How can we further develop our service to ministry wives in FIEC?
The FIEC wants churches to be healthy and that means healthy leaders who are spiritually mature. Ministry wives are not those who lead churches but spiritually healthy and spiritually mature ministry wives will be a great help to their husbands and support them in their leadership and bless the churches of which they are a part.
As we look to the future we want to invest more in ministry wives so that they can grow further in their walk with the Lord, and grow more networks of ministry wives to provide opportunities for honest reflection, sharing and prayer, and specific encouragement.
At the Ministry Wives’ Retreat, the Bible is taught faithfully and applied helpfully and relevantly, and fellowship is deepened. In addition, there are many resources that could be disseminated to ministry wives.
There are ministry wives in similar circumstances and it would be good to link them with each other e.g. church-planting ministry wives; ministry wives in their first churches; those who have recently moved church; those whose husbands are soon to retire from ministry – it would be good to be able to have networks of these women to mutually support each other.
I’d like to see FIEC enabling ministry wives to not just “be themselves” (advice that is often given) but to grow in holiness and be better than ourselves.
I’ll be looking to hear from ministry wives as to what they would feel would be beneficial and seeing what we can do to meet expressed needs.
I also have a passion for ministry wives to appreciate the privilege and blessing of serving the Lord alongside their husbands, and I’d like every gathering of ministry wives to have a time of praise and thankfulness to God for His goodness.
What do you perceive are some of the pressure points for ministry wives?
The pressures can come from within as well as without! Sometimes we can feel inadequate, overwhelmed, oversensitive, resentful, insecure, anxious or far from the Lord. At times we can be criticised unfairly, our husbands may be discouraged, and we can feel stressed.
Expectations, either our own or those of others, can be unrealistic. We can find it hard to draw boundaries and don’t take the rest we need. We can be disappointed by our own sin as well as the sin of others. This sounds depressing, but we are assured that “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8
How can we pray for you?
Thank you. Please pray for my own walk with the Lord, that I keep close to Him and learn from His Word through the ministry in my own church and my own personal devotions.
I have much to learn and many people to meet. Pray for wisdom and energy as I begin, that I listen and learn well and am able, with Elisabeth and Johnny, to see God’s way forward.
Elinor begins her ministry with FIEC on Wednesday 2 January 2019. If you would like to be in touch with her about her ministry she would be delighted to hear from you.