With only four months to go until the Catalyst Festival we thought we’d let you meet some of the people who make it happen. First up, Justyn Pride, who leads the Operations Team.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Justyn and my day job (it sounds like I must do something really exciting in the evenings!) is as Church Manager for Church in the Peak, which based in Matlock in the Peak District. Apart from living in the beautiful Peaks, I’m married to Josie, and we have three boys Reuben (5), Isaac, (2) and Levi (1). We’ve lived in the Peaks for 2 years, having spent 4 years in Dublin, and London before that.
Well travelled! You head up the Operations Team – what does that mean?
Our role is to make things happen, and to support the other teams that run activities. We cover the basic facilities that we all use. It might be the car parking, camping facilities, toilets & showers, online registration system, serving teams, stewarding, welcome teams, neighbourhoods, meeting visuals and sound, finance, security, first aid, general health & safety for the site, and looking after speakers and international guests, to name just a few. Phew – the team is busy!
How did you get into operations at a big event like this – is it something you’ve done before?
I’m actually the ‘old man’ of team, and last year I spent lots of time saying ‘I remember at Stoneleigh…’ This was because I’d been involved in Stoneleigh Bible Week for many years and was on the Management Team for it. My first involvement was leading a team in the setup week, which then followed with heading up the toilet and showers team the following year. A radio handle of ‘toilet duck’ by the maintenance team soon followed! I remember at Downs Bible Week [Stoneleigh’s predecessor] (I was a young boy then) saying to someone from our church that were cleaning the toilets, that that was something I’d not want to do. You’ve got to love God’s sense of humour when over 10 years later I was heading up the team.
What stood out to you at last year’s Festival – any highlights?
So many things stood out for me last year. I loved the freshness of the event. It wasn’t just Stoneleigh rebranded, but something new and fresh. The creativity being released, encouraged and supported was wonderful. Just talking to a number of creative people I know and seeing how they were being newly encouraged and catalysed was great. I loved seeing churches being able to just hang out without the pressure of back to back meetings and seminars. Being able to enjoy lots of time together whether over tea in the afternoon, or wine in the evening, and to hear how God was speaking to different people, makes it all worthwhile.
What are you looking forward to most at this year’s Festival?
A couple of things, firstly – my boys in their age groups. My eldest loved it, and still talks about the Festival. These events are great for kids to be in a much large context and for their love for Jesus to be catalysed even more. Lastly I really can’t wait for the worship and to encounter the presence of God whether it be in the meetings, or when you are talking to people and God is just there. There was lots of that last year.