Introducing Seth Pinnock

There are some things that might not make sense to us in the here and now, but when we look back in retrospect it becomes clear that they were part of something bigger.

God often gives us full circle moments. Every touch leaves a trace; there are some things that might not make sense to us in the here and now, but when we look back in retrospect it becomes clear that they were part of something bigger.

My name is Seth Pinnock. I’m Birmingham born, living in London. I’m a worship leader wannabe, a songwriter hope-to-be and a Jesus lover. I’ve been working in what I like to call the ‘Jesus-centred justice space’ for nearly 15 years now (which makes me sound older than I am). It started when I was a teenager, and was born of a real desire I felt for my friends around me, and for myself, to know that there is more to life than what your environment dictates. For a lot of people around me, their environment dictated that they were nothing, but I knew from my experience that when you fall in love with Jesus, the communion that you experience helps you find purpose and identity. It helps you see yourself the way He sees you, rather than how your environment, your situation, your circumstances or the opinions of others dictates.

The outworking of that passion began at youth gatherings and small events, and it’s mushroomed into conferences and campaigns. After 10 years, it crystalised into a charity called Symphony, and that’s where I am most active these days. I get to serve organisations like Home for Good that match our passion and desire, joining hands because unity helps us move forward.

I’ve joined the Home for Good team as an ambassador, advising and consulting the work around engagement with the Black Majority Church in the UK. I’m playing my small part in creating ideas and vision, and cultivating conversation with church leaders to learn how we at Home for Good can be better equipped and informed to serve the Black Majority Church as it engages with fostering and adoption. We know that black children in care wait the longest. They are overlooked, they are affected disproportionately. The statistics are just painful. We want to reawaken the Church to this issue, call it to action, and reorientate Home for Good at the same time to build better relationships with this unique demographic.

When Home for Good invited me to be an ambassador, it made me reflect on my own story, and my parents’ story, and my parents’ parents’ story. In doing this, I recognised one of those full circle moments.

My parents’ parents came over here on the Windrush. They came over by invitation, but were met with violence and rejection. They really struggled; they weren’t able to open a bank account because the bank managers were racist, they weren’t able to buy a house, and they ended up renting small spaces above pubs. It was impossible to equate what they perceived as the ‘land of opportunity’ with the hostility they experienced.

Their struggle caused a strain and a breakdown in their relationship. My grandmother ended up a single parent, not by location, but by relation. He was there in the house, but not in heart. She raised 13 – yes, 13 – children. As you can imagine, things were incredibly tough being below working class in Coventry with 13 children. One of those children was killed in a motorcycle accident when he was riding his bike at nine years old. This led to social services intervening, and the family was separated. My mother was the second youngest and one of only two girls among those 13.

A family called the Taffs had also arrived on the Windrush. They were ministers of the gospel, having been pastors in Jamaica, and they were keen to get embedded in the local Baptist church in their new city. Like so many others, they were met with severe rejection and told not to come back to church. “Your singing is too loud,” “We don’t want you here,” “Your kids can’t play with ours.” So the Taffs started their own church, meeting in bedrooms and school halls. We know that today the Black Majority Church is the fastest growing church in the UK. Such stories come from very humble beginnings.

My grandmother went to one of those little church meetings. The Taffs heard her story and said, “We’ll take Jennifer in. We’ll raise her as our own.” Jennifer, my mother, went to live with the Taffs. I call them Aunty and Pappa Taff.

Mum was never formally adopted in terms of processes and papers, but there was absolutely no doubt that she was a member of that family. As she raised me, she modelled what it is to embrace and welcome anyone and everyone. Growing up, our house was more like a community centre. There was always someone over for dinner, someone coming to stay, a choir practice happening in the living room or a meeting happening in the kitchen. I remember one day my mum came home having met two brothers who had been kicked out of their own home, and she said, “These boys are going to live with us for a few months.” And that was that. One of them is now my younger brother’s godfather. Family is thicker than blood, it’s the spirit that brings us together.

I know that in the trajectory of my life and in everything I do, I stand on the shoulders and the decisions made by Aunty and Pappa Taff. I know how important it is for every child to have a family. My mum is testament to that. Welcome is embedded into our DNA.

I’m really excited to be working with Home for Good. I’m excited to connect with people who have stories similar to mine, or who are from the African and Caribbean community and want to help us create a space to explore caring for vulnerable children together. I feel that this is a cause that dovetails with the heart of our community. I’m excited to get into churches – I’ve had some incredible conversations with church leaders so far and can’t wait to join with congregations both physically and virtually. What really excites me is the thought that in five or ten years’ time, I could hear the story of a young boy like myself who, because of the action we’re taking together, has experienced a total change in the trajectory of his life. To God be the glory.


Find out how you can play your part in finding a home for every child who needs one here.

Author:
Seth for Home for Good


Date published:
7 October 2021


Tags:
Stories


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