15 Feb MediaNet Meets: Lucy Denyer
MediaNet represents a wide cross section of Christians working in the media – many of whom have to cope with juggling their work and their faith. This week we find out how Lucy Denyer, the acting Features Editor on the Culture desk at the Telegraph, manages to do this.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my jobs is… working with brilliant people – my colleagues are intelligent, witty, supremely talented at what they do and always interesting to discuss all manner of things with.
And the hardest part?
The hardest part is… juggling trying to do well at work and go the extra mile with being a parent to three little boys at home – always a balancing act!
How do you juggle your faith and your work?
When I started my current job, on the Telegraph’s Comment desk, I promised myself – and God – that I would be honest about my faith. No more holding back, I said. No more secretive scurrying off to CU meetings, pretending I was going to get lunch. I was going to be out, and proud.
Three years later and I don’t think I’m doing too badly. Most of my immediate colleagues know I’m ‘religious’ (horrible word). I’ve even invited some of them along to an annual Advent service I help organise. And when a lighthearted – or even more serious – piece of comment about religion needs writing, my brains are always picked, if not deployed to the keyboard.
And how have your colleagues responded?
My colleagues at the Telegraph are, by and large, the most sympathetic I have encountered in my career to date. I don’t feel judged for my faith; I am able to have honest – if superficial – conversations about what I do on a Sunday morning and why it’s important to me.
Perhaps it’s just me being a bit more grown up, and caring less about what other people think, but it feels like a step forward. It would be fair to say, however, that nobody – as far as I am aware – has found faith through my efforts.
But what does – or what should – faith at work really look like?
Here, I confess, I struggle. Journalists are, by a large, a cynical lot. They are trained to question everything, to approach with a sceptical glance, to always look for the other side of the story. They may be perfectly happy to discuss religion, but they can sniff a proselytiser a mile off. And I am no good at proselytizing.
But should you be good at proselytizing?
A Christian friend at another broadsheet, where I used to work, recently told me about a conversation she had had with another former colleague, who was going through difficult times. The two had built up a friendship over the years together, open and honest about faith, among other things, and my Christian friend one day plucked up the courage to ask the other girl if she would like to give her life to Christ – which she did. “I’ve never led anyone to the Lord before!” my friend exclaimed to me afterwards. I felt ashamed that I hadn’t either.
But there were things she had done that I do, and could do more of. Make friends. Be honest. Build friendships over time. And watch, and pray, for when the time is right.
What do you feel called to do?
I firmly believe that God has placed my in my job for a reason. When I returned to work after maternity leave last year, panicking about juggling a full-on job with three small children, someone prayed for me, and told me to go off and re-read the book of Esther. “Who knows but that you were brought to the kingdom for a time like this?” Esther is asked. The verse spoke to me. There were reasons for me to be doing what I should be doing.
And what of the future as Christian, a mother and a journalist?
I work, and continue to love my job, and try and pray when I can, and occasionally even listen to David Suchet’s dulcet tones reading the Bible through my headphones on the way to work, and ask my Christian friends to pray and support me and guide me in my job. And trust that God knows why, and how, and what he would have me do here, and try and carry on living out my faith, in the world but hopefully not too much of it (because I can be as cynical as the next journo), as best I can. A juggle? Yes. A challenge? Definitely. A joy? For sure. world but hopefully not too much of it (because I can be as cynical as the next journo), as best I can. A juggle? Yes. A challenge? Definitely. A joy? For sure.