From Theology to Foster Caring

21 Feb 2024

Anna Pearson is a teacher and foster carer who attended KBCTC in 2004-05. We asked her some questions about the legacy of Bible College and what studying theology gave her…

Anna, why did you decide sign up for Bible College and what did it give you?

When I signed up to KBCTC I was fresh out of university, looking for some direction in life and keen to deepen my faith.

Studying theology helped me to be more confident in handling the word of God and interrogating it instead of blindly accepting it as I first read it. It helped me to agree and disagree respectfully with different people and to understand how people’s different perceptions of the word of God lead them to act in different ways in different church traditions.

How were you different at the end of the course?

I think my idea of what the Bible was, what Christian faith means and who Jesus is had been radically transformed. The ‘head knowledge’ I had accumulated through a Christian upbringing had definitely both grown and deepened into ‘heart knowledge’ that altered the choices I made about how I live. Most of all though, I had a bunch of close friends and a new understanding of what Christians living together in community can look like.

What have you been up to since Bible College?

I worked for Oxfordshire Community Churches for 6 years managing The King’s Centre, then retrained as a primary school teacher. I also work part time as a foster carer. I volunteered with the church children’s work for 18 years before stopping to pursue an MA in Childhood and youth studies. I currently also volunteer with a Christian bereavement support charity on their bereavement team. I am still involved with a Community Centre project on Pinnocks Way started through the work of KBCTC students over several successive years.

Phew, that’s some list! Can you give an example of where something you learned or reflected on at KBCTC has helped in your day-to-day life?

I think learning to worship every day in every circumstance, no matter my feelings, has stood me in good stead through the toughest times of my life. As I said, I volunteer with the Care for the Family’s bereavement team. I still have a bit of trouble singing all the songs about “death has been defeated, we stand in victory” when death is clearly present and I don’t feel very victorious, but I choose to (attempt to) proclaim a biblical truth, even if death’s sting is still a reality. I think KBCTC taught me the importance of both being real with God and those around me, and at the same time, clinging on to what I believe to be true with everything I’ve got.

What would you want to study now that you didn’t study then?

Anything about the place of children in the Kingdom of God and specifically about ministry to children. They’re a hugely important part of the ongoing life of the church and we have some hugely talented kids’ workers, but within my family of churches [which was home to KBCTC at the time], we have previously provided little in the way of training and equipping people to minister to this group. Most people in the church have made some commitment to the Christian faith as a child, and I think that warrants more exploration of what faith looks like for children and how churches can support young people.

How has studying theology equipped you to be a foster carer? And a teacher? 

I think in becoming more secure in the message of hope that we hold out, and faith that God is at work no matter what circumstance. Foster carers are frequently presented with incredibly dark situations and part of what makes Christians great foster carers is our persistence in believing that change is possible, that the transforming power of Jesus Christ can be at work in any situation. 

As a teacher, I love getting to explain the resurrection to my class of 5 year olds each Easter! I often have a little pray about what angle to take with them – for instance, whether to focus on Jesus’s victory over death, or the transactional nature of his taking the punishment we deserved, or his opening of a way for us to be friends with God. I’m not sure I quite explain things to the same level of clarity as Mike Beaumont(!) but I like to think that seeds will settle in my class’s thinking, that even if they don’t remember the lesson I taught or even who I am in the future, they might remember that there is a God who loves them and has given everything to make a way for them to be friends with him if they want.

What would you say to someone considering KST?

It’s definitely worth the investment of both time and money. You will learn things you didn’t even know you needed to learn and meet some brilliant people.

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