Keynote speaker – Mandy Harvey

The keynote speaker at the 2015 conference was Mandy Harvey, the Cinnamon Network’s Ambassador for Wales.  You can watch her full speech on youtube at:

Mandy spoke passionately and personally of her own journey and experiences in helping churches engage with their communities.  She described seeking God with skin on;someone to not only tell her that God loved her but to also be that giver of God’s love in her life. And it’s this practical out-pouring of God’s love that churches and the people within the church should be in their own community.

Mandy Harvey 1

Mandy quoted an American politician, Cory Booker, a non-Christian, whom she believes describes clearly how Christian should be:

Cory Booker

Mandy reminded the conference how little many people know or understand about church these days.  She encouraged churches to think of ways they can find out the needs of their community to ensure any community project is appropriate.  Her own suggestions included:

  • Listening to our neighbours
  • Getting to know our neighbours
  • Becoming a regular at a local pub & engaging in the ‘bar talk’
  • If you have children, talking to parents at the school gate
  • Join the PTA
  • Walking the streets and chatting to shop keepers and business leaders
  • Reading the local paper & listening to the local radio
  • Studying the local authority’s strategic plan, their research & priorities
  • Finding & using readily available published data
  • Praying & seeking the heart & mind of God

It was Mandy’s closing slide which was still on the screen when Bishop Gregory rose to offer a vote of thanks, which summed up her powerful, inspiring and entertaining keynote speech:

Bishop Gregory offering a vote of thanks

Mandy is part of the leadership team of Parklands Church, Swansea and is the Coordinator for Swansea Hope, helping to introduce many of the inter-church social action projects in the city.  Mandy also represents HOPE Together in Wales and is a Vice-President of Gweini, which represents the Christian Voluntary sector in Wales.

Ahead of the conference, Mandy gave Teulu Asaph an interview, which you can read here: Church is Beautiful when it works well