Q&A with Community of The Way Youth Intern, education student and musician, Sarah Crisp

Spotlight Q&A

Meet Sarah Crisp and find out why she joined the Community of The Way, about her faith journey and how her faith shapes her character and choices

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Sarah Crisp is a final-year secondary education student at the University of Queensland, majoring in History and Drama. She loves travelling and music, especially playing piano and singing in her choir, Voices of Birralee.

Where do you currently live and where do you worship?

Since late January, I have been living onsite at St Francis College, as a part of Community of the Way. I go to church at St Francis, Nundah.

How long have you been involved in the Anglican Church and in what roles?

I’ve grown up in the Anglican Church. My parents ran the Sunday School and Youth Group when I was young and encouraged me to serve. My family is really important to me. Nundah has always been my home parish, even though I’ve worked as a youth minister in two other parishes and now live at St Francis College.

Sarah with her four older siblings and niece in front of Westminster Abbey (shop) in 2018: “This is the first photo of all five of us together for over two years, as two of my brothers have been living overseas”

What is the name of your current role and what does your role involve?

I am the Youth Intern for the Community of the Way. My role includes working alongside The Rev’d Jazz Dow to create and run a programme for the Community, running events and monitoring social dynamics of the houses, facilitating house decisions and being a support within the house for residential and non-residential members.

Why did you decide to join the Community of the Way?

I was interested in the concept of intentional community and what was happening specifically in the Community, as I have friends who had already joined. It wasn’t until Jazz got in touch with me about the internship that I really considered it, as I’m also studying.

What projects and activities are you currently working on?

We’ve just started fortnightly game nights which are open to the whole of the Community of the Way and anyone who wants to join in, along with our group Bible studies and worship services. With everything happening in the COVID-19 environment, we’ve been investigating ways of making these available online.

What have been the highlights of your involvement in the Community of the Way so far?

Living in the house with the other residential members has been amazing. We have so much fun as a group, whether we are having dinner together, watching TV together or simply sitting on the landing outside our rooms just having a chat late at night.

Sarah Crisp and fellow Community of The Way member Aaron Vidyasagar hanging out and having fun onsite at St Francis College on 7 April 2020

What have been the key challenges of your involvement in the Community of the Way so far and how have you worked through these?

When conflicts occasionally arise, I’m the unbiased third-party mediator, so I help keep the peace and resolve issues. Thankfully, there haven’t been too many issues.

What is your advice for those considering joining Community of the Way?

Come check out some of our events. We have a bunch that are open to anyone and everyone, so come and meet and get to know us.

What are your plans and goals for the next 12 months?

Personally, to finish my degree and begin teaching. Within the Community, to help develop the role of the intern further and build the Community up, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Sarah (centre bottom) with the cast of her UQ production of Peer Gynt in 2019

Can you tell us a little about your personal faith journey?

I grew up Anglican, but when I went through high school, much like many other Christians I know, I became disillusioned with the Church. During my university years, however, thanks to the AYCF Ichthus Camps, I was able to reaffirm my faith and grow as a Christian.

How does your faith inspire you and shape your outlook, life choices and character?

My faith helps me lead by example, as I see my role as a Christian isn’t to tell people how they should be living their lives, but instead to demonstrate a Christian lifestyle. My faith reminds me to show love and grace to those around me, no matter how frustrating life can get.

What is your favourite scripture and why?

1 Timothy 4.12: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

I first heard this as a 17-year-old in my first leadership role within the Church. It has been instrumental in shaping who I am as a Christian today.

What person of faith inspires you the most and why?

My dad. He has such an incredible knowledge of Scripture and its historical contexts (and of most things generally) and he is always so willing to give of his talents to both our local church and also to our wider Diocese.

Sarah (middle left) with her parents Neil and Carol, welcoming her older brother, David, back to Brisbane in 2019

What are the primary strengths of the Church and what is the best way to make the most of these for the benefit of our communities?

Keeping to tradition. I love the traditions of the Anglican Church, but I think something we could do better is to educate those entering the Church on why we keep certain traditions. I think we often forget ourselves why we do the things we do.

What is the kindest gesture you have ever received or witnessed?

To assist with COVID-19’s challenges, supermarkets asked healthy people to volunteer during ‘Community Hour’ to help people who are elderly or living with a disability find what they needed. They were inundated with responses.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received and who gave you this advice?

“Don’t ever tell someone to do something that you yourself aren’t prepared to do.” I can’t remember who told me this, but it was early on in my time as a church leader. I’m pretty sure it was relating to not leaving campers to do the dishes or bathrooms by themselves because you thought it was gross, but it applies to a lot of other situations, too.

What do you do in your free time to recharge and relax?

I spend time with my family, travel, play music or binge Netflix.

Sarah in the Shambles in York during a three-month trip throughout Europe and the UK in 2019

What book have you given away most as a gift and why?

I haven’t given it away as a gift, but I’ve leant it to a lot of people: the New York Times bestselling, The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them, collated by a young English teacher, Erin Gruwell.

Where do you do your best thinking?

While driving on a highway that isn’t busy.

What’s your best childhood memory?

Dipping chocolate chip biscuits into my milk with my Nanna while Pop was out of the room because he couldn’t stand it when people did that. I must’ve been about four years of age. It used to drive him nuts and Nanna thought it was hilarious.

If you are having a bad day, what do you do to cheer yourself up?

I watch videos on TikTok, a relatively new video-sharing social media service. They last up to a minute and half and can be quite funny.

What makes you nostalgic and why?

Old hymns played on an organ because it reminds me of my home parish and the hymns we sing. For some reason, specifically the ‘Kelvingrove’ tune, a traditional Scottish melody.

Sarah (front row, right) with her choir, singing at the 2018 Remembrance Day Service at the Australian War Memorial in Villers-Bretonneux, France

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