Posted on 17 December 2015 by Rachel


'We win together, we lose together. We celebrate and we mourn together. And defeats are softened and victories sweeter because we did them together..'

Q: Sarah! We miss you at Romance Academy, what are you up to now?

A: It's been a bit of a whirl wind six months! I'm now married (hooray!), living down near the New Forest and working as Youth Adviser for the Diocese of Winchester. It's been all change!

Q: Interesting! How would you describe a typical day in your new job role?

A: Well, it's still early days so I'm sounding out exactly what it might look like but in broad brush terms my job is to be a resource and advocate for youth ministry across the Church of England churches in the area. As a whole diocese we're working towards four key priorities:

1. We grow authentic Disciples 2. We reimagine Church 3. We are agents of social transformation 4. We belong together

So my job is to help churches work out how to make these a reality with young people.

So a standard day could be: - Helping a church think through a job description for a potential youth work role - Visiting a youth worker doing chaplaincy in a sixth form college - Joining in a conversation about how we help churches engage with their local school - Figuring out how a new diocesan training pathway equips the church to be more effective with young people. It's a whole lot of everything all rolled into one! And every now and then, on a really good day, I get invited to speak to some young people or youth leaders about Sex and Relationships! ... You can take the girl out of Romance Academy ...

Q: So you've gone from being Miss Percival to Mrs Sarah Long - How would you describe the start of your married life in 3 words ... go!

A: Side by Side.

It's been a whirlwind of great things and lots of change. It's just LOVELY to wake up and have my husband right there - it's just so good to have him around. It's a challenge learning to adapt to living together in a shared space - especially when we're both stubborn about how we like to do things. So we're learning how to resolve conflict, laugh together when we're exhausted, and put together flat pack furniture. And we're doing it together. Which is just lovely. We had a quote from the West Wing printed onto our order of service at our wedding that's so far ringing really true of married life together (and something to remind ourselves of when we have a bit of a barney!):

'We win together, we lose together. We celebrate and we mourn together. And defeats are softened and victories sweeter because we did them together..'

Getting used to a new surname though ... that's a whole other story of confusion!

Q: How has working at Romance Academy impacted you since moving on? 

A: I have no social filter ... I'll talk about anything. Anywhere. 

But on a more productive, less awkward level, it's had a HUGE impact on my youth work practice, my theology, and how I see the world. I had a list a mile long of things but here are just 3 things that RA taught: 

1. Talking about sex and relationships doesn't have to be awkward - we make it awkward. 
2. There's so much confusion about sex and relationships - so we need to be having conversations.
3. We need to help young people to become curious about alternatives to what rh world offers, instead of just telling them some rules - Let's be Good News! 

Q: Finally ... Christmas is coming up so we'd love to know the funniest gift you have ever been given? 

A: Man ... my dad once was left in charge of getting me some stocking fillers. I ended up with Odour Eaters and a Vicky Pollard mug. I wasn't sure exactly what he was trying to communicate, but I was pretty sure it wasn't complimentary.

Tags: marriage, team ra,

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