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11 February, 2019

 

Paul Gutteridge, National Director of Initiatives of Change, started in January and has been in the role a month. Federica Dadone, Head of Communications and Marketing, interviewed Paul to find out how he was getting on.

 

 



Paul, what drew you into applying for this role?
 

Thanks Federica! I don’t see this as a job or a role: it’s more a vocation. Several years ago, I was at a seminar and I heard somebody talk about the 'ten people that changed the world that you’ve never heard about', and one of them was Frank Buchman. Something exploded in me that day.

Frank Buchman’s life– his spirituality, his Christianity, how he worked with people of all faiths and no faiths, and inner guidance. How he created a movement towards a better world, it touched my heart. I thought; “this is exactly how I would like to be, how I would like to live”.

Fast-forward seven years, and here I am. I never thought I would be in a position I dreamt about. I never thought I would be officially facilitating the vision that was pastor Frank Buchman’s. It is amazing! I see my role as really keeping the river of inspiration flowing to facilitate the dreams and the visions that we have in IofC!


What do you see as the vision for IofC?

 

The vision of building trust across the world’s divides is the compelling narrative - it is the reason why we exist. A big part of my strategy, if you want to use those words, is to always keep that big picture in mind.

In the last month, I have been taking in places and talking to people. Greencoat place is special, it is an ideal space for trust building and to realise this vision. To talk, to collaborate and break down barriers so ultimately we can have a more peaceful world.
I believe we have to ask the question in the UK: where are the real divisions that we see around us? The country is at a critical point.  Brexit has divided our nation!  But there are divisions that people point to everywhere: UK wealth distribution! income gap! Gender and race inequalities - there’s all kind of inequalities in the UK and beyond - that have an impact on people’s lives.

We are in a really good position at IofC to create safe spaces for dialogue between individuals, groups, projects and for people to flourish. I believe we have to question what does this mean for us? How do we model that change that gives us a legitimate voice - internally and externally?

There is much work to be done. So let's create the relationships and we can make it happen! IofC is full of resources and trainers who can facilitate people to become part of the solution. This offers us the opportunity to work with for example; our police, politicians, media, and academia.
 

What challenges lie ahead? For IofC and the whole country?

 

I have a question, for IofC, do we see ourselves as owners of the vision that we’ve been given, or do we see ourselves as stewards of the vision? I believe we have to be stewards, not owners of vision and resource.  To take one step to give what we have received in contributing to the whole.
 

Having talked to a number of people I believe this can often boil down to issues of identity: how we understand ourselves and see ourselves. We are witnessing this happening in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world? Where people once again are asking questions around identity and values.
 

A big challenge for us internally is:  How do we hold the past that we’ve been given? “Humbly and open with the big picture in mind”
I think as well for the nation, how do we hold the fact that we are distinctive people in distinctive nations? - much like IofC! I think that this is a big challenge that we’re facing. If we start to model that across the fellowship and crack that, then I think we can model something really exciting.

 

 

Do you have a message for the fellowship and IofC members across the world?
 

My message individually and collectively that we have to take responsibility for our spiritual, moral and historic obligation; as well as privilege, to be outward focusing, serving and engaging with other members of the international family.
 

I entered IofC knowing the journey I was embarking on with like-minded people, having had the pleasure of volunteering in the past. In this new role as National Director after the many conversations with project leaders, members of staff and volunteers who have shared stories of change and positivity through building trust,  I am confident we can overcome the challenges and difficulties we are faced with.
 

I am humbled and extremely grateful to everyone across the fellowship who have made me feel enormously welcome. In a constantly changing world and in a serious role I also want to have some lightness, and that sense of family and connectivity across regions and across continents.
 

I would like to see increased collaboration between the UK and the other members of the IofC family internationally.
So my parting message is: hey, we’re better when we work together!

 

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