Neville has been a part of CCK since 1985! He has been on the staff since 2002 and became an Elder in 2008. Neville tells Emily Sneyd about what he does for the Church and what he loves about Brighton.
NJ: I was born locally, in Hove, so 18 years of my childhood was spent down here. We moved up to a village near Colchester when my father moved jobs, but I always felt sure that God would call me back to Brighton. Whilst I was attending college up there, I met my wife-to- be, Sue who lived in Hove as well! We started a long distance relationship for a while, but soon after we got engaged, God spoke to me very clearly about moving back to Brighton to be part of a church here. So in ‘85, we came back to Brighton and Sue and I got married in ‘86. I began to work for the Church in 2002 and I had the great privilege of becoming an Elder in January of 2008. A lot of what I was doing then, I’m doing now! I came onto the staff at CCK as Church administrator and essentially had responsibility for the operations of the Church- obviously it has changed with the times, somewhat, but it’s remained very similar.
ES: Can you tell me more about the specifics of your job?
NJ: I suppose I have four main areas that I head up, and four people who do a lot of the work for me! The first is the Finance of the Church which Nils de Freese deals with. I am responsible to the Elders for the setting of the budget of the Church and maintaining that budget within limits. This involves overseeing the finance team, and making sure that the offerings that come in match what we’re spending! And I take care of the salaries of all the Church staff.
The next area is the office- which is an admin back-up office support to the Elders; I oversee Annie Waller who is responsible for that, and also the other office staff. I also manage the staff welfare of all the church employees-and this is where Annie swoops in and takes a lot of that off my shoulders!
I deal with the operations of the Church which is where Alison Davis comes in, dealing with all the legal aspects of running a Church and doing risk assessments and such- she also assists me a lot as my PA.
I guess the fourth area would be facilities or buildings; so taking care of the Clarendon Villas, where our Church offices are, and Dan Sweetman is my right-hand man in running the team that take care of the Clarendon Centre, where we hold our Sunday meetings.
Additionally to those responsibilities, I’m a director of the Trust so I meet with the directors of the trust of the Church every 6-8 weeks, and I’m also heavily involved in the prayer-life of the Church with Joel Virgo. Finally, I’m also an Elder! So I deal with the agendas for the Elder’s meetings and also chair the meetings themselves.
ES: Have you got a vision for the future for your areas of Church life?
NJ: My heart is to see the Church operating in the most efficient way possible, whilst retaining the sense that we’re not just a business, we’re also very much a family together. For me, it’s trying to put those two things together; we want to run things well, but still want people to feel part of the family. We’ve got to keep in mind that we’re an army as well- we’re on the move for God, to change Brighton
NJ: I love its diversity and creativity-this is what Brighton is all about, and it’s such an exciting place to live. I especially love being by the sea, which I think we take for granted sometimes, and I love it that it’s caught right between the sea and the downs. We’re in a great place where we’ve got the coast but we’ve also got the hills and the scenery too. One of my favourite things to do here is to cycle along the downs- I’ve cycled the whole way in a day, twice!
ES: Very impressive! So cycling is something you like to do in your free time?
NJ: Yeah, I love it, I’d say mountain biking is my main hobby really. I cycled the South downs’ way for the British Heart Foundation, and I had hoped to take part in the Brighton marathon last weekend but had to drop out as I injured my leg and it wouldn’t have been wise to do it. I was really proud to watch fellow Elders Steve Horne and Matt Davis take part though, as well as many other members of CCK- they did so great!
ES: Lastly, I’m going to ask you a mean question. If you had to cross the Atlantic in a canoe with one of the other Elders, which one would it be…?
NJ: Hmmm...that's a tough one! Probably Steve Horne- I reckon he’s probably the best swimmer, and has medical training, so is most likely to be able to help me if I fell overboard!
Wise choice. Thanks Neville.