Moving on, Moving out

Friday, 15th June 2012 at 18:26 UTC 9 comments

Its with great sadness that I have a major personal announcement of the kind I don’t usually like to do on this blog. My time in York is drawing to a close, as I prepare to take up a role at Church Action on Poverty in Manchester on 3rd September. Barring a sudden offer of employment in York, I’ll be saying sad farewells at the end of August.

First, a little bit about how this came about. Having spent a year up to last Easter considering ordained ministry in the Church of England, I concluded it probably wasn’t for me – certainly not as a career option, not right now. Instead, I’m looking to start training for what is known as “Reader Ministry” at some point. Alongside this, my job at the Alzheimer’s Society ended last summer, and I’ve been looking for work ever since. Having stopped looking at ordained ministry, I was able to step back and admit to myself that York is an unlikely place to find work I will enjoy doing.

I applied for several internships, none of them either paid or York-based, at around Easter time. They were all essentially Campaigns Internships. To my amazement, I got offered two of them. Apparently this wasn’t a surprise to some people and I subsequently had to turn one of them down.

Church Action won for 2 reasons: it seems they’ll give me much tougher work experience, which will genuinely build on everything I can already do, and they’re campaigning on issues that are much closer to where I’ve been lately. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to return to international issues – we must never close our eyes to suffering in other countries just because poverty is on the rise in our neighbourhood. But for now, this feels like the right direction to be headed in.

Admittedly, there are various conflicts playing out in my mind. First, I’m going to be doing a job that’s focused on getting people to act in the interests of their local community. Leaving York to do this doesn’t make a stack of sense. The fact I’m invoking a stack of privilege for this to work. I’m also likely to be doing significantly less radical issues than I have previously. Its not that I feel like I’m turning traitor – and I still believe in the power and necessity of Direct Action to affect change. If anything, I’ve done better at reconciling this aspect than the whole “abandon your community to talk to people about commitment to their communities" thing.

It also raises a few practical issues: finding a room in Manchester for 6 months from September, finding a paid job at the end of that time, and the fact I’m potentially going to move twice in 6 months, making any friendships I start there potentially very cursory. In all likelihood, whatever I move onto after Manchester, it won’t be York. Any thoughts on the former or prayers on the latter would be welcome.

There will be a lot to hand over in York before I’m gone. I’m worried that several groups I’ve been involved in previously are going to need to find more people to take on things that I’m no longer here to do. There’s also some kind of leaving party to plan (it’ll probably just after August Bank Holiday), and all my regular stuff to clean up, let alone all the political materials littering the house.

York has been a big part of who I am, even if I’ve only been a small part of York. As a friend commented yesterday after yet another person randomly started talking to us in the streets, its going to be weird living somewhere where I’m unknown. 6 months in a place where no-one knows who I am could be an odd experience as well as a positive one.

What I do know is this: no matter how hard I’ve tried, I’ve never quite managed to give as much to York as I’ve taken out. My parents left the city in 2009, by which time I had already moved out of ‘Home’. But I’ve had six ‘Homes’ in York, and really, the whole city feels like my Home. There’s an old piece of wisdom that says it takes a whole village to raise a kid, and even though I wasn’t born here, I’m proud to say this place has made me who I am. Even with my parents gone before me, this really does feel like I’m ‘moving out of Home’.

To everyone I leave behind in York, thank you, and remember: this place isn’t just a museum, its a living community. Look after each other and keep making it awesome.


Entry filed under: Personal, York.

#RadFem2012: Exposure doesn’t make the media your friends Some People are Bisexual, get over it!

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Greg  |  Friday, 15th June 2012 at 22:11 UTC

    York and Manchester? Make sure you don’t move to Sheffield or I’ll start getting worried.

  • 2. JR  |  Friday, 15th June 2012 at 23:24 UTC

    Seems to be quite a few progressives heading to Manchester from York. Hope that you are as much of a blessing to those guys as you have been to us.

  • 3. Andy Meinke  |  Saturday, 16th June 2012 at 0:03 UTC

    Atheism bless you! Not an easy thing but there’s always tea and sympathy, and a pint @ Freedom if you’re down in London

  • 4. Gemma  |  Saturday, 16th June 2012 at 5:07 UTC

    Graham, I just wanted to thank you for sharing a short but beautiful time with me in York. I would and could never forget it. I hope that wherever your path leads that in that you may ind what you ate seeking. You are such a bright individual and have absolutely solely inspired an incredible amount of people. Thank you so much for taking me to the cathedral in York it was rainy but nevertheless most memorable and beautiful. Undoubtedly, indebtedly grateful. I will always remember you fondly in my little heart. Much love, Gemma from canadia.

    • 5. Gemma  |  Saturday, 16th June 2012 at 5:09 UTC

      Apologies for my autocorrect errors in my grammar haha speaking to a true English person I feel it is appropriate to use the language correctly hahaha. All the best

  • 6. Ceri  |  Saturday, 16th June 2012 at 9:53 UTC

    Replacement Graham wanted to share house. Cheap rent, comfortable modern house sharing with just me, flapjack a bonus, lots of storage space for protest tat.
    Alternatively, do you have a spare room I could move into? Am quiet, tidy & house trained.

  • 7. Malcolm  |  Saturday, 16th June 2012 at 15:34 UTC

    Sorry to hear that you are leaving. You will be missed. Best wishes for your work in Manchester. God go with you.

  • 8. Unna  |  Saturday, 16th June 2012 at 20:08 UTC

    Although I haven’t been in the *exact* same situation, I recognize some of the things you mention here – even if some of the things in my situation are happening backwards compared to you.

    I don’t know if I should consider myself lucky that I “have to” stay in Aarhus in at the very least the time it takes me to get my BA; it does give me the time to make proper relations – but somehow I have managed to make myself known and needed in a short matter of time, mostly within local churches. I remember the first Reverend I met here – a very sweet, young woman – saying, partly in fun, but I sense also in all seriousness: “You’re staying in Aarhus now, right? Well, of course you are” more than once. It’s about being likeable, I suppose – and Graham? You’re freakin’ likeable. Smack on your wonderful smile, turn on your charm, and own it!
    If nothing else, we have this wonderous invention of the Interwebs right at our fingertips – I’m keeping up friendships and connections through that. Don’t forget about my own move almost two years ago and how many (*cough*) times the two of us have seen each other in real life since we first met.

    Lastly, I wouldn’t close the door to working in York completely if I were you. Of course I don’t know either York or your carreer path as well as you do, but I have been thinking of future work for myself and – the longing to work abroad set aside – I don’t expect to find work in Denmark after graduating. But as time has passed by, I came to realise that there are several people I would love to work with and several theaters I would love to work for/at here, especially in Copenhagen – and that is the city that has made me the one who I am after all.

    Looking forward to see you again – wherever in the world it happens to be next. 😉

    P.S. I second Sara Osborne’s comment on Facebook.

  • 9. Liam at Church Action on Poverty  |  Monday, 18th June 2012 at 9:06 UTC

    We’re very glad to have you at Church Action on Poverty!


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