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Whatever You Do – Sam Partington

Church on Sunday can feel worlds away from our day-to-day lives. We asked two Christians to tell us how their lives connect with their faith for our Whatever You Do prayer initiative.

Sam Partington on working in the computer industry.

With a background in computer science, for the past five years I’ve been working for a web agency as a backend web developer. The main part of my work involves writing code which runs “behind the scenes” of our clients’ website, giving them their functionality.

Sam Partington. Photo by Fisher Studios

I feel very strongly about my faith making a difference in the workplace. I’m very fortunate to work in a fairly small company which is sociable, friendly and open. This means that I can get to know my colleagues quite well, and sometimes move beyond the usual “how was your weekend” small talk. In the past, God has provided some exciting opportunities to talk quite openly about faith with my colleagues, and even the chance to meet up with some at lunchtime to discuss the book The Reason for God by Timothy Keller and the Uncover study of John’s gospel. Such discussions are really exciting and challenging, but I hope that I can live out my faith in smaller ways too, whether or not I have the chance for such deep conversations.

I try hard to be an encouragement to those I work with, whether that’s helping with technical challenges, offering to pray for people, or buying chocolate!
The technology industry has a definite diversity problem, with women leaving the profession at twice the rate of men, and some recent high-profile cases of alarming sexism and racism. Thankfully, the company I work for understands the importance of changing the culture and is making a positive difference in this area.

I feel that working to change attitudes and empower under-represented groups is a real reflection of God’s care for individuals and heart for justice and I’m keen to do more to help here. Another area where I feel able to make a difference is in environmental initiatives. For example, increasing options for recycling in our office and encouraging the company to use electricity from renewable sources And finally, I really value the chance to get involved with the Open Source movement (making code available for others to use and contribute to) and I’m keen to explore this kind of collaboration and openness further. One particular aim for me is to be an encouragement and support to those who use the code that we publish in this way (answering their technical queries, for example). Another is to make the experience of contributing to our Open Source projects easier and more welcoming, as diversity within the Open Source world is even worse than in the tech industry as a whole.

I’ve got a lot to learn, but I hope to grow in a deeper and more holistic understanding of the gospel and to take the opportunities I’m given to join in with what God is doing!

Sam worships at St Swithun’s, Kennington and Christ Church Long Furlong in Abingdon.

Church on Sunday can feel worlds away from our day-to-day lives. We asked two Christians to tell us how their lives connect with their faith for our Whatever You Do prayer initiative. 

James Killen from St Edburg’s in Bicester shares an insight into his faith and his role as a father.

James Killen

I grew up in a loving Christian family; my faith has provided the building blocks for the successes and support in my life. I have not always had an active relationship with God though.

Today I have four wonderful children, all similar and all different. In my day-to-day role as a dad my goal is for them to know I love them and Jesus loves them. I have been a father for almost 10 years. It is an intriguing role, there is no formal training and you are your own boss. The hours are long, with the job changing rapidly, especially over the first few years.

A year before I became a dad I decided to attend a service at St Edburg’s Church, Bicester. As I sat and listened, it seemed that both the Gospel reading and the sermon that followed were speaking directly to me. I learned God works through others and my faith began to grow. I started to feel less lost and more hopeful across my life.

My first child was born in December 2007. I felt ready to be a dad and threw myself into attending to his every need.
As our first son got towards his second birthday, we began to see noticeable differences with his peers. Our child was more temperamental, less developed and silent. When he turned three we learnt he had an ‘unknown’ disability. He was unable to communicate, struggling with co-ordination and comprehension and was now very different from his peers. It was of course very upsetting but stepping back and reflecting in faith I felt blessed, entrusted with a child who would need extra help, every day. (At some bed-times my blessed feeling can still be pushed to the edge.)

In those early moments, when I felt things where getting too much for me, I would see God in action, sometimes leading me, sometimes supporting me. It was not long before our second child was more advanced than our first; I began a father-to-son chat to share with our second child that his brother was disabled. I shouldn’t have bothered. He had worked it out and explained it back to me better than I was trying to him. As Christians we are often referred to as the children of God. As adults, I think we forget to be like children. We carry our baggage, our history and our worry, losing sight of the wonder of God’s creation.

As a working father, I try to make the most of each moment with the children. I sometimes get this wrong, especially after a long day in my paid work, but I know I have a place to go, I know Jesus forgives. At bedtime, we use a prayer with actions together and we sometimes talk about other things we would like to pray for. As a Father, I want my children to see me as a positive example – loving, caring, sharing – but I also need them to see my faith, to see how my faith helps me daily in celebration and sadness. I have not found this easy, I am getting better, knowing I cannot control everything, learning that the more control I give to God the better father I will be.

Prayer points

  • For forgiveness for when, as a father, I get things wrong
  • For those with no food. That those in need of food find it, those bringing food to those in hunger are filled with God’s spirit, and that I do what I can do to make a difference today.
  • Thank you God for all you have provided. Thank you for being with us in celebration and sadness. I ask you to help all fathers learn from you and open their lives to your guidance, so that our children know our faith helps us every day to be a better father.
  • Prayer with actions to share – “God be in my head and in my thinking, God be in my hands and in my doing, God be in my heart and in my loving” – Amen

A particle physicist’s journey with Jesus @1CorTen31

Church on Sunday can feel worlds away from our day-to-day lives. We asked Christians to tell us how their lives connect with their faith…

Being an LLM and a lawyer

I hesitated before writing about being a Christian in my workplace because lawyers don’t get much positive press and are not shown in a very good light in the Bible…

From credit crunch to exploring a vocation

I came to a place where I began to know God. I had spent 48 years of my life running away from him and it’s only in the last four years that I’ve found him.

Whatever You Do in the fast-paced world of telecoms

I believe I can see God at work in people who show grace under pressure, providing support and encouragement to those around them.

Whatever You Do – passionate about maths

Trying to give every young person the same opportunities in life seems to be ‘loving your neighbour’…

Whatever You Do – from dietitian to Information Technology

Looking back at my 25-year career, I’ve covered diverse fields but there’s a common thread and that is a desire to make things better and find solutions.

Launching a prayer calendar with a difference

THIS month the Diocese of Oxford launches a prayer calendar with a difference. Entitled Whatever You Do, the calendar will feature stories of ordinary Christians and how their faith is lived out in their daily lives.

This month we feature the stories of ballet teacher Annik Coatalen and Licensed Lay Minister and senior manager in local government, Derek Lancaster. The aim is part of a wider initiative by the Department of Mission, to help empower people to know that they can be used as part of God’s mission, in the places they spend most of their time.

Andrew Anderson-Gear, Director of Mission, points to the recent Archbishops’ Council’s report Setting God’s People Free. “This report highlights the urgent need there is for the life and worship of our churches to rediscover their call to empower Christians to live out their faith in their daily lives,” said Andrew. The report states:

59 per cent of those of working age said that the most challenging context to be a disciple of Christ was in the workplace
62 per cent of those in full-time paid employment experienced little, not much or no help/preparation from the life and ministries of the church to deal with the issues they faced at work
47 per cent said they did not have a story to tell about how God has worked in their lives. (Note that 82 per cent had been Christians for over 10 years.)
59 per cent of Anglicans surveyed said that their church does not equip people well for life in today’s world.

Andrew added: “We are hoping to help empower the people of God, at all stages of their life and Christian faith, to engage with whole-life discipleship. We hope the stories in the Whatever You Do prayer calendar will inspire us all in our own everyday life and work. My hope is that people will want to participate through the Twitter feed and Facebook page. As we grow in confidence that God is present, active and working for good in every area of our life, we might grow something beyond a simple prayer calendar.”

If you would like to share how God is at work in your day-to-day life, email sheila.townsend@oxford.anglican.org.