Sister Stories - Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Sister Stories

This podcast encourages us to reflect on how the Lord has grown and moulded us into becoming more like Christ.

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S1 - 1. Cathryn

In this episode, I am interviewing Cathryn, who is our Church’s administrator. Listen in for her insights on how to finding our deepest satisfaction in God alone.

Transcript (Auto-generated)

Welcome everyone to the sister story podcast.

This podcast is aimed at, marbling.

I've got over each of our lives, as women, and to encourage 1 another via our stories.

And so today, I've got a special guest with me.

Her name is Katharine, and I'm sure some of you know her, but we're going to hear more about her story just now.

Welcome, Catherine.


Nice to have you.

So, first of all, could you tell us a little bit a little bit about who you are.

Obviously, we know your name already, but, your job, your family, or other things about you.


My name is Catherine.

I'm married to Philip.

Been married for 34 years, which, hints at my age.

So I don't have to say my aim or not say.

And in my third third, incarnation in this life, I'm the church admin later at Cornerstone.

I started off as a a chartered investment surveyor working for a fund management company.

Then I had my kids, and I was, stay at home mom.

And now I'm part time church administrator for Cornerstone.

And the kids are grown up, adult, Amy's, 23 and living and working away from home, and Matthews, and his last year at uni.


Thank you.

And, how long have you been the church, administrator for? I think I've been church administrator for about 6 or 7.


Maybe a bit longer than that.

8 years, maybe.

You were around when they came, so I think.



So, I would like us to talk about how you came to know the lord Jesus Christ and and what is the story behind that.

So if we could go back a little bit far back maybe, but, at your childhood and how it was in your family, what was it like, cranure child? I'm an only child.

My parents, school teachers, and, my dad is a science teacher and is still to this day, a 5 adamant that there is no god, and it's all nonsense.

My mum used to take me to church to a very, very terrible Sunday school occasionally.

She'd sort of do the ticking the box, going to church.

I got involved in the local, sort of high Anglo Catholic church when I was a teenager with the girl guides, and I did serving, and I was confirmed.

And so I used to wear a robe and carry candle and do all that.

And I knew the service book off by heart, but I had absolutely no idea really about the gospel.

And I when I read the Bible, it made no sense to me at all.

I had a friend who was a Christian, and she took me on a Christian camp when I was 11.

So I had some exposure to the gospel then.

But but between that and university, it was really just box ticking religion.

I didn't know anything about it.

I thought it was all about being good.

And I had quite a boring life, so I thought I was quite good.

And then I went to uni, didn't go to church, started going out with Philip as it happened.

And we had a year out, and he came to London and he became Christian.

I didn't know he was going to church.

I didn't know what was going on, but his flatmate had taken him to an evangelical church and he'd done a Christianity Explore type course and become a Christian.

The first I knew of it, I was in a phone box and being told he couldn't go out with me anymore because I wasn't Wow.

Which was a bit of a shock in the days before mobiles and you know, letter writing.

We just wrote letters to each other.

So it was literally, you know, I was feeding money into a phone box being told I wasn't I was in love with him, and, you know, he didn't want me anymore.

So that was quite hard.

So, he that was it as far as he was concerned, but his flatmate who's a Christian was horrified.

And so he came to Nottingham where I was, Philip was in London.

And he he told me the gospel, and god had been at work.

Now I look back, god had been at work.

Softening me planting seeds.

Obviously, Philip had I was thinking about god because I was horrified.

And again, I got this sort of I can't even be good enough.

I can't even I would sort of wake up in the morning thinking, right? I'm not going to swear or I'm not going to, you know, I'd set myself a little moral code.

And by the end of the day, I realized I couldn't even live up to my moral code, and that's what got how god worked on me.

And so when his friend came and sat me down, and we had 2 hours of him telling me various things about the gospel.

Actually, god was just at work.

I cried most of the time, and I realized that I hadn't understood at all what Jesus was all about.

And then so it took a few weeks.

I was reading the Bible, which suddenly came alive.

I couldn't get enough of it.

Understood it.

Manabu came in Christian a few weeks.


After that.


That's amazing.

And, I wonder how it was with your dad being quite a strong atheist to assume at home.

He thinks I'm mad.

Well, yeah.


Well, it was, especially growing up with her.

He was how he was looking on you going to church even.

I think he just ignored it.

He just he could it was pointless waste of time for him.

But, okay, if you wanna do it, you do it.

And I suppose it gave them time on their own mom and dad because I was going on Sunday morning, and they gave them Peace.


I guess so.


How what was your reaction when Philip told you? That you couldn't be together.

That was completely devastated.

And in fact, again, god god was amazing because he said you need to go home.

My parents' home was about 20 miles from where I was.

And I had a car, so it was in a year out.

And he said, right, you need to go home, and I'll ring you.

And I cried, I don't know how I saw I couldn't even see the road.

You know, God saw me home.

And I landed on my parents doorstep and said, he's dumped me, and he's gonna ring me.

And I think they thought, what? Yeah.

What's good? Yeah.


I was I was devastated.



It's very interesting that God was showing you that, you know, through your endeavors to to be good, really, that that you couldn't do that.

I think it's very gracious of him to to have shown it to you like that.


And so what happened after you accepted Christ? What what Did you join a church? What what was the result? Well, I'm quite an introvert, and I was still on my own in Nottingham, although I was working for firms.

So I was quite I didn't get stuck in a church because I didn't know where to go, and I didn't want to go in on my own.


As a single woman, you know, and I didn't really know anything about it, but I used to walk home through actually, used to be a massive council estate in Nottingham when they leveled it.

And so it became sort of, you know, a modernized council estate, but the only building that had been left was the church And so I used to walk home and think, you know, their posters outside looked about right for what Christianity now looked like to me.

And so when Philip came back for our final year and we had to decide what to do about church, because he'd been going regularly to a church in Wimbledon, and had met various people that we still know, and he'd been in a home group.

So I now knew that that's what church looked like if you were a Christian.

I said, oh, I think there's this church in this part of Nottingham.

So we tried it together.

And we walked in on the first Sunday and said to the vicar, who was a young chap with a young family, do you have any home groups? And apparently, He nearly fell through the floor because he had just arrived at the church, and it was quite an old fashioned congregation.

And it was in an area where people just threw their kids out the and said go to church on a Sunday morning to get them out of the way.

I see.


And there were a lot of issues with drugs and whatever, and he'd been trying to get home groups off the ground but wasn't getting anywhere.

And we walked through and said, have you got any home groups? And I think he just thought, wow.

This is what I've been saying.

We were an answer prayer.

I mean, who who whoever expects to be an answer to prayer.

And he had a young chap basically an apprentice before the days of apprentices working with him, and we got really friendly with him, and we had a really lovely year as part of that church family.

We love it.


I must have inclined encouragement to you to both of you, really.

This is totally different from the church experience that I'd had before.


Oh, great.

And what happened with Philip? He didn't tell us.

He just left it at the break up.


He was very suspicious.

He wouldn't get back together with me.

He thought, oh, He's, you know, Philip, as we know, it's probably very self assured and confident.

So his view was she's only become a Christian in Verta Commerce.

To get back with me.

I mean, we're not going to comment on this.

So it took a while for him to trust that it was genuine and that he just wasn't the catch that I couldn't, you know, not live without.

I find this very funny.

Until knows why I'm sure.

Oh, great.


And, obviously, you are not in Nottingham anymore, and you're here in Kingston.

What what's happened afterwards? So, when we got back together, I mean, we'd have been going out for some time anyway.

And, again, I was still quite nervous.

So the reason I hadn't come to London in my sandwich year, the year, because we'd only just started going out.

And I I I am an introvert, and I'm an only child, and I'd not had any life experience, really.

And he wants to come to London and work for a property part of a bank.

And I said, I know what's gonna happen.

This is my character.

We'll go, and you'll dump me, and I'll be left in London on my own all alone.

So the deal was was that I would, I would endeavor a job in London.

And, also, again, I'd had a real, a sort of a real wake up course to what I want to do in surveying.

Savying is a very eclectic profession with many, many different things, and I suddenly had this light bulb moment as to what I wanted to do, and I could only do it in London.

In with the fund management company.

So that was the total so once we were on that road, I had to be in London, so I had to get a job.

And so once I got a job, he proposed, So so again.

So they Lovely.


And, yeah, how how did you get to Cornerstone in the end? We got to call the stone because we went back to the church that he was converted out in Wimbledon.

Wimbledon plant, that church was massive.

Didn't need us.

We were and so we were feeling a bit like fish out of water because we've come from this little church that loved having us.

And they were looking to plant a church in they were in Wimbledon Village.

They were looking to plant a church in Wimbledon Town.

We joined that little gang of about 50 people praying for about 6 months.

They found a school in Wimbledon Town, and about 30 of us went in the end, and we planted the McDonald's Church.


In Wimbledon town, which grew and grew, and they planted in the end Fairfield, which be then that's what became Cornerstone.

So it was Fairfield.

AM Cornerstone in the PM, and then they amalgamated into 1, just 1 Cornerstone Church.


That's how I do the corner stone.


And so later on, you started working for the church as well.



So, obviously, that's already quite a lot.

And god has been really at work throughout July, if I'm sure, and you you've been helping with in the church a lot as well.

So I was wondering how, obviously, the last year has been quite exceptional, in all our lives.

And quite different.

And, I wondered if you could tell us a little bit how, this last year has impacted you or, also what you have learned, in this last Sure.


It's been interesting.

Everybody's everybody will have a story, won't they? From the last year.

Well, it started off.

I asked to be furloughed because I couldn't because our church is funded by people's donations.

I thought, well, hold on a minute.

I deep cleaned the kitchen the 1st week, but now what are we gonna do because we haven't got any services.

They don't need any literature.

They don't need power points.

The guys are doing live services, but they don't need me to do any admin.

We don't have any events going on.

So I should not be being paid from people's donations.

So I asked to be furloughed.

And then, you know, initially you think great.

And then after a week, you think, oh, okay.

So I'm at home.

I can't see anybody.

People are struggling on WhatsApp.

And you can't help them.

So I felt very, very numb.

I think that's why I don't know how I feel about the pandemic, and you can't this is really, really odd.

The kids obviously worked at home, although Matthew came home to work, but he literally was in his room working.

Because he was on a year's placement, so he was working 9 till 6.

So it was very, very odd.

So I decided that I needed keep a record, which I never normally do, of my, sort of Bible reading each day.

I had a reading scheme, which I've really enjoyed.

And I thought, but I need to write things down because I'm so numb I want to be able to look over the insights that god has given me, you know, how the spirit's been working and teaching me through this word.

When I've had no stress because I haven't got to run out the door and be anywhere.

So god will be giving me insights, but I'm too numb to take them in to my heart.

So I I did that to begin with.

And the realization of the impact mentally, there've been some, I'm there've been some quite dark moments.

So that has been in in god's kindness, he's shown me how people struggle with mental health.

You know, I I I'm not somebody who I've had bleak moments but some of them have been very bleak, and that that's been a real wake up call as to how people feel when they get low or depressed.

I think I've been I think there's been a real sharp focus for me Before we went into lockdown, there was a lot of emphasis on being kind in the press.

Be kind.

Be kind.

And then immediately, we're about to go into lockdown, and people couldn't get toilet rolls.

How toilet rolls could be the symbol of people not being kind.

We went from being kind to overnight.

I want 60 toilet rolls and you can't have any showed people's heart.

And I think what I've what I've noticed in the pandemic is that as I've read more, god's extraordinary love and his grace and my inability to save myself in any way or provide anything to my salvation, and he's extraordinary love.

And in everything throughout the Bible, he's always reaching down to people.

We we can't offer anything up.

He reaches down, and then we whatever we do is out of thankfulness contrasted with this extraordinary hypocrisy of the world, be kind, but it's all about me.


And I think that the I think the pandemic has, you know, we've seen the extraordinary sacrifice of people in the health professions.

Which is, you know, which is god in them, isn't it? We're creating this being, and we do want to help people, and that was 1 of the issues I had as I couldn't help anybody.

But then on the flip side, we've seen the harshness of people's hearts and the fact they lived for themselves, and that was brought out simply in toilet rolls.


It's crazy, isn't it? Which we don't need.

We need food and children.


You know, and I I read something recently, which I think summed it up, summed up lots of things I've been learning this year.

Again, it was in my reading scheme.

It said when disaster hits developing countries, they weep and mourn.

Than images we see.

When disaster hits developed countries, we ask why, and we try and fix it.

And there isn't what I what I've been what has greed me is the hardness of people's hearts in the West.

And that they haven't turned to god.

And the the media in particular, there's there's barely been a mention of god.


So we see articles about people starting to pray, and yet it doesn't feel like people actually So there's no analysis of Yeah.


And there's still very little, coverage.

Certainly on BBC, I don't think they've I don't think they've mentioned god.


Even when Boris mentioned god last week wasn't covered on the BBC from what I could see.

So so I think those there's there's been a real contrast, both in my life, seeing it's all love, but also a feeling of an understanding of my work, my useless you know, there is nothing I can bring, but also looking out in the world and how people wear these masks all the time.

And I read 1 of the significant passages I read.

I meant to bring my bible in with me.


But, I read Isaiah 59, and it was about 2 months in.

And I hadn't either read it or I read it and not understood it.

I haven't got my glasses so I can't even be able to read it.

But 1 of the pat 1 of the the lines that struck me was that no 1 has the truth.

And I thought, wow.

That is exactly right.

Nobody has the truth except god.

So I I'm I am tempted to be buffeted by the winds of the world.

So a good news story or a bad news story, and the spin that that particular media organization or that person may have on that news story based on their background or their agenda.


But it's not the truth.

And actually the only truth is is the gospel Yes.

Which you can test.

Throughout the whole Bible, you test it, and it just keeps coming up.

It's the same, and god god's love is there.


So It's very encouraging to see that even in these darker moments, you you you saw clearly the gospel.


God was still at work.



I don't think I can find the verse.

That's alright.

I will leave it.

I did bring my Bible with it all underlined, and then I left it in the office.


And I think, yeah, all of us will have learned different things, in this year.

I'm sure.

But if there was any advice that you would give to maybe younger Christians, or younger women actually in Christ, what would you say to them? I think what you notice being part of, you know, the the what the women's WhatsApp group is just quite large, isn't it? And and just standing back over the year, our material circumstances have huge impacts on our mood.

And our anxiety levels.

And I think if we could, there was the there've been various servants on worries, aren't there? And there was something I think that either Pete said or I've read, I think I think it might have been during the beatitudes or or 1 of those or Filipians maybe, you know, a worry is an anxiety that hasn't been brought to god.


It's something that hasn't been brought to god, isn't it? Why are we anxious? Because, actually, we're not using god as father.

We're not behaving like god as father.

So either that we don't trust that he wants the best for us, we don't want what he wants for us because we don't think that it's best for Or, actually, we've been so busy trying to fix the problem in that we haven't bothered brought it to him and tried to see his perspective on it or actually just had that piece of knowing, okay, whatever his will is.


So I think throughout life, my regrets would probably be not bringing anxieties and worries to him or worrying about things that really, you know, it is it is stressful when you have builders in or you can't get the house that you think you want or the job that you think you want But a few months down the line, those have gone, and you wasted so much energy on those things.


And probably very little energy on your relationship with god at that time.

And that I would say I would say to people, don't don't live with that regret.


These things are transigent, you know, and we all have realized in this pandemic that life is precious.


And it can be gone Yes.

In an in an instant, and we don't expect that in the west.

We see it in developing world, but we don't expect it in the west, and that's what's being brought into sharp focus, I think.

So Yeah.

Thank you so much.

That's been really helpful.

And thank you for your for sharing your story with us.

I'm sure many of us will be encouraged by that by seeing how you've grown throughout the years.

And, well, we all always grateful for everything you do for the church.

So it's great to hear that story.

Yeah, thank you.

That's it for this episode.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Look forward to hearing up.



That's all for this episode of sister stories, everyone, but we'll see you again next time.


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