Keeping us moving in the right direction

One of the interesting things for me about working on this project is collaborating with a professional team. Many years ago I worked as a property professional myself, but in the intervening years (I retired in 1990) the world has changed beyond recognition. There are now consultants for every conceivable discipline: acoustic, environmental, mechanical-electrical, rights of light, traffic and transport, communications, engineering, etc etc. We employ professional project managers to keep up with this disparate crew who would otherwise be off doing their own thing without knowing how it fitted in to the greater whole. The project managers are there to ensure that all are sailing in the same direction.

But there is another role that up until now we had not adequately filled. That is, more than keeping everyone moving in the same direction, we want them to be moving in the right direction. Even that is more complex than it appears and the right direction differs according to who you're speaking to. Personally I define "the right direction" as the direction that I agree with, and because I am the vicar there may be some truth in that. However it is also essential to include the very significant input that others have into this vision-course setting. Each of us has slightly different perspectives, which on occasions can cause us to be at odds with each other. The diocese is a great champion of St Barnabas, but it views us from a fundamentally different starting point to the way we see our own calling and vision. So the job of keeping the project chiming in tune with the vision for what we want to achieve is not an easy one.

Up until now I have felt that the mantle of keeping things on track rested largely on me. This was a role that I felt ill-equipped to fulfil, lacking both relevant recent experience and capacity in my over-full diary. So we started to search for someone with the requisite attributes to come and act on our behalf. To be the voice of St Barnabas in the cacophony of the professional teams. We were looking for someone with such precise skills, experience and ethos that some doubted such a person existed. However we were surprised and delighted to find the ideal candidate and duly appointed Heather Stanley as our new project director.

Heather comes with experience and expertise in managing large church projects, and having herself attended a New Wine style church, understands us in a way that most property professionals don't. The considerable challenge that she faces is exactly the challenge that St Bs faces. It is exciting to have another key person on board.

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