Wright, N. (2003) ‘Still Practising’, LSTSA Newsletter (Interview), London School of Theology, Spring, p3.
Nick Wright, former student (LST 87-90) and occasional guest speaker for LST’s Christian Life and Ministry course, reflects on his personal vision and efforts to draw together theology and practice in diverse fields ranging from social work and community development to organisational management and training.
‘My vision for developing a reflective practice approach (sometimes known as ‘praxis’ – the Greek word translated in the New Testament as ‘Acts’) pre-dates my time at LST but was definitely strengthened by my time spent studying theology in a structured environment. The question that challenged me was how, in complex life situations, to avoid either abstract theologising on the one hand or purely pragmatic practice on the other.’
Since leaving LST, Nick worked for a number of years with the Shaftesbury Society providing social work consultancy support to churches, managing projects for young single homeless people and providing professional development training for pastoral, care and community workers.
‘My time at Shaftesbury provided me with an ideal opportunity to try out and refine reflective practice methods alongside Christians engaged in complicated, difficult and stressful work situations where more traditional ways of dealing with issues and experiences simply didn’t work. A study course in social psychology-based research helped to cement some of the ideas that were taking shape in my mind through field experience.’
After leaving Shaftesbury, Nick became responsible for managing staff development and training in Tearfund, an evangelical international development and relief organisation, and has also started his own reflective practice-based development consultancy.
‘Tearfund works in incredibly complex situations. When I visited Albania during the Kosova war as part of a disaster response team, followed by a later visit to reconstruction projects in Beirut, I became even more convinced that a reflective practice approach really can make a difference; not only in terms of enhancing professional practice but also by helping preserve Christian integrity and personal faith in otherwise bewildering and confusing circumstances.’
Nick is currently writing articles and study papers to build on his freelance work and has been encouraged by having material advocating and explaining reflective practice approaches published in both Christian and secular journals.
‘I still have a lot to learn about this whole way of working, learning and acting but do sense God’s hand leading me along this path. My wife Francesca (LST 89-92) is an incredible support and I’m convinced that, at the end of the day, her faithful prayers for wisdom and insight really are what make all the difference.’