A former Hampstead Heathen
Jeanny Wang

From my earliest years I was a north London child. Hampstead Heath was my playground and I remember how wild and mysterious it seemed. My parents had immigrated from Hong Kong, worked long hours in their restaurant and I was often left to my own devices; it made space for me to develop my own ideas and imagination. I had two brothers; my older brother was often away at boarding school. My little brother by 9 years, I looked after at home from a young age. Our lives revolved around running the family business, besides being fed and kept warm children’s other needs were a low priority. Despite private education I did not enjoy school or flourish, but somehow did end up doing something I was interested in, an Art Foundation followed by a Degree in Theatre Design at Wimbledon School of Art.
I satiated my appetite for travel by going East and began my working life in Singapore where I spent 3 years during which I got together with my other half, (another Londoner). We returned in 2000, married and lived in various homes across Northwest London eventually settling with 3 children in boy-girl-boy order. Apart from family life, I occupied myself with various things which allowed me to give expression to my passion for cooking, art, children, imagination and storytelling. I also pursued my growing interest in Theology by completing a diploma. After this many of my passions were then able to congeal around Godly Play which was introduced to me by the head teacher at my children’s primary school. I eventually became Chaplain at that school and my journey with Godly Play UK becoming an Advocate, briefly a Trustee and now Trainer.
I heard clearly my calling to priesthood in the Church of England for the first time only 6 years ago. God, I had sensed for the first time as a child on Hampstead Heath, but I did not see myself a Christian until after I was 17 during the 80s Charismatic revival at a church called Vineyard St Albans. I have been a regular worshipper at many churches since then Independent, Anglican, Baptist and more. Choosing the Church of England, I have been deeply impressed by its doctrine of apostolic succession, its worldwide Anglican Communion and its privilege
and opportunity as the state church of the country where I live. Having come from a low church tradition I have been greatly enriched by the theology and practice of higher church tradition and find myself even more at home in those expressions of worship.
With age my interests have continued to expand and especially on the exercise front, I am to my own surprise now a runner and a regular bicycle user, and for someone with little musical background, interested to discover my singing voice. Serving at St Mary’s is an exciting prospect, a place I have had a natural curiosity about having lived for 6 years in East Acton, passing through on numerous occasions each day as my local hub. It is a worn and weathered place whose gritty and rootsy nature only add to attraction.

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