Meet our new curate

Hello from Vanessa

Hello, I’m Vanessa Hadley-Spencer and I am looking forward to joining you as Assistant Curate at Christ Church; by way of introduction here is a little about me.   

Before I entered training for ministry at Westcott House, I was a Pastoral Assistant for two years in this diocese as part of the Hatfield Root Group, splitting my time between the University of Hertfordshire Chaplaincy and the Bishops Hatfield Ministry Team. Before that I completed a law degree at the University of Hertfordshire, spent some time as a paralegal, and worked as an outdoor activity instructor at Phasels Wood Activity Centre. My links with scouting and guiding led to me becoming involved with church. It was through church parade as a guide leader that I was drawn to become part of the church choir at St John’s Boxmoor in my hometown of Hemel Hempstead. I joined the choir in 2010 going from not attending church to attending every week! I eventually became head chorister and completed the RSCM Gold award. Through this I began exploring a call to ordained ministry.

As part of my life as an outdoor activity instructor I gained qualifications in adventurous activities such as Abseiling, Climbing, Archery and Air-Rifles to name a few. I really enjoyed encouraging young people to push themselves to try something new, the confidence that this fostered was a privilege to be part of. I’ll try not to bring too many weird and wonderful things from my outdoor life in church, although I have done a school assembly before using the team challenges equipment, so I make no promises!

 It was through Phasels that I met my partner Mark, we’ve been together since 2014 and hope to marry sometime in the next few years. My youngest sister Fiona is staying with me around her university studies in Fine Art at the University of Creative Arts in Canterbury. Her skills have been well used over the last few weeks whilst we have been renovating.

Throughout the last three years of training, as well as the important things like prayer and theological learning I have cultivated a strong love of hot chocolate and gin and I look forward to being able to share in these with you, getting to know more about you and journeying together in faith. I look forward to when we can gather together and celebrate.

Best wishes and prayers,

Vanessa Hadley-Spencer

Assistant Curate, Christ Church Waltham Cross

Dealing with loss

Practical things to help with processing grief.

Even as we wait impatiently for things to “return to normal”, we know there are things that will not. And we have to accept that. And grieve for them, and the people we have lost.

Although grief is painful, we must recognise the importance of honouring it, both individually and collectively, and of allowing it to unfold in its own time rather than holding it to a timetable. Seeking to avoid it only makes things worse.

These things can help:

Writing a Grief Letter or Grief List.   Making an inventory of what we are grieving for can be enormously helpful when we feel overwhelmed. A letter, a list, a journal /diary entry. ‘What I Will Miss’

Making a Memorial Corner. Creating a special place to make space for grief –  tickets unused, photos of people we loved who have died, things they loved to hold or wear – can help us to say goodbye.

A Gratitude Walk. Physical movement can unlock things in us that thinking alone cannot. Going for walks, alone or with a loved one (whether beside us or on the phone) while focusing on things we are thankful for can be a powerful practice for dealing with loss.

Listening to Music that Helps us Feel. Music can open a pathway to our emotions in a way that words sometimes cannot, and we can open ourselves up to grief through listening to a familiar piece of music either alone or with others.

Telling Stories. When someone we love has died, it helps to listen to, and tell, stories about them, just as we do at a wake – and we can find deep comfort in spaces to remember specific losses in our lives, either with one other person or with a group.

Talk to someone outside your family or circle of friends who is not part of the grieving circle.

Christ Church is here to help; if you would like to speak to someone contact the Vicar