In Inter Faith Week, Tricia Olagunju, explains why her faith is important to her and how it has helped her to strive towards helping others.
I’m a Senior Knowledge Manager within our Knowledge Management team. My role involves implementing improvements to our processes and maintaining momentum on business as usual (BAU) activities, through effective stakeholder engagement for continued improvement to our customers’ experiences.
My faith is important to me; it frames who I am, my existence, my values, my hopes, and my dreams. It keeps me grounded and assured in testing situations and seasons. To me, faith means believing in something even when you can't see it. It is my belief in the God of all creation - God the Son Incarnate, Jesus Christ.
My faith in Jesus as the Saviour guides me through life, especially through challenging periods that come my way. While life isn't perfect, and I might struggle at times (as we all do), I have faith that God has a plan for me and watches over that plan until it is fulfilled.
My faith in Jesus compels me to love, to respect and be gracious to others as He is to me. It challenges me to strive for a measure of selflessness beyond my natural ability as Jesus was when He gave His life for mine. My faith helps me to help others. I am passionate about people and being a part of a community, network, or team where I can serve, learn, and grow makes life meaningful for me. Any opportunity where I can support another in finding an answer to a problem gives me immense pleasure.
Helping others through my faith
As part of my appreciation of the way Christ lived His life and my dedication to Him, I am actively involved with my local church, where I have found ways of serving others in my community. Outside of my immediate family, it’s the next most important aspect in living out my God-given purpose, and a huge source of fulfilment for me.
Some of my acts of service involve leading monthly prayer meetings on issues facing our local and surrounding communities, engaging younger women seeking support networks as they juggle life’s ups and downs. I also help with housekeeping duties for our church building.
There is one common thread and focus in all three areas and that is “people!” I absolutely love getting to know people and making a difference where there is a need; this was Jesus’ legacy! I love being a Christian because it is all about “relationship”.
Yes, I serve, and I am growing in various skillsets, through experiences and relationships with others but the fundamental basis for both these blessings stems from an interest in people. Christianity isn’t a religion, it is a friendship and allegiance to a Person, Jesus Christ. He embodies everything I know to be good – kindness, grace, mercy, forgiveness, patience, humility, faithfulness, and the list goes on and on! His ways, His truths are lasting and life changing.
Growing my understanding of others
So, what difference does having faith in Jesus make? I’ll explain through practical examples. Where I would otherwise be tempted to give an eye for an eye, I reflect on my own shortcomings and remember the grace that was extended by Jesus (and is still extended today when I mess up) and I am compelled to do the same.
When I am on the verge of throwing in the towel on occasions when I am confronted with my natural limitations, I discover afresh the ability of One higher than I who makes that which would otherwise be impossible, possible. And He mostly does this through scriptures of the Bible and through people who often come alongside with encouragement and help.
Through involvement with my local Church, I can give back more widely and contribute to causes which are far more impacting than I could ever do as one individual. I attend Elim City Gates Church. Its focus is family and community centred. It’s a church with a large evangelistic heart.
Members support the local and surrounding communities through a variety of ways including street work, donating, and staffing a food bank, volunteering for outreaches which provides free community meals, free coats for kids for the winter periods, free accommodation, and support for people with addictive problems (Teen Challenge) and also opportunities for those with an interest to explore the Christian faith (Alpha Course).
The Church also has a Children's Academy in the Philippines where high quality, free education is provided to children from the most disadvantaged families. The Church has close links with the local authority and are often invited to participate and lead on local improvement campaigns and events in the Town/Community Centre, schools, and hospitals.
During the Covid pandemic, City Gates was a neutral “Hub” that provided hope as it enabled integrative connections between local residents and wider partnerships across the country.
It truly was a beautiful and inspiring thing to witness when we as humans stand together focusing on the things which truly matter, life and living it together in ways that blesses and benefits each other. This is the goal of every mediation, mentoring or project related work that I participate in.
Tricia Olagunju is a Senior Knowledge Manager in the Defra Knowledge Management Team within Digital Data and Technology Services.
Each year, Inter Faith Week highlights the work done by local faith, inter faith and faith-based groups and organisations. It begins on Remembrance Sunday and runs until the following Sunday.