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Exeter Diocese Magazine - Reverend Jonathon feature

16th August 2018

Article taken from Church of England Devon - The Exeter Diocese Magazine

A longing for young people to catch a glimpse of the ‘life giving joy of the Gospel’ is a key inspiration for each new day at school for Jonathon Ross-McNairn; the first fulltime chaplain at Trinity School in Teignmouth. We caught up with Jonathon on a busy school day...

Conversations with God

Jonathon was a commercial property solicitor before a dramatic ‘Damascus Road’ conversion experience whilst on an Alpha course turned his “world upside down!” He then clearly heard God tell him to “leave the law and go and get ordained.” A message he found to be both “exciting and terrifying!”

He was ordained in 2011 and is now in his fourth academic year at the school which he is clearly enjoying.

Prayer is fundamental to Jonathon’s work in the school as he supports and encourages both pupils and staff in “their own personal relationship with God.”

He is currently trialling a new initiative called ‘Conversations with God’. He explains that it promotes everyday conversations: “We can talk to God at anytime and anywhere. If you were sitting in a room and God was opposite (just the two of you) what would you say? What would you ask for?”

He adds: “There is no set formula to praying. No magic words! We are called, as Jesus said, to pray in a childlike way. With honesty and rawness.”

Interactive prayer stations and a prayer tree are just some of the ways Jonathon encourages everyone to speak and listen to God. He said: “There is one main aim - to enable people to personally connect in prayer with God.”

As for Jonathan he prays best when he is out for a run. He said: “It’s monastic in a way. The ‘work’ of running enables me to connect with God through prayer and - vitally - to listen to what the Spirit may be asking me to do or say or often let go of!” He also values praying alone in the school chapel, a place he describes as ‘very special’.

He finishes: “The young people are curious about the world and as spiritual beings I want to create platforms for them to grow in that. I do use storytelling and encourage questions, silence, humour, creativity and participation.”

It is clear that Jonathon is doing all he can to support the prayerlife and spiritual development of the young people and sees his role there as a huge delight and privilege.