Meet Our New GC Members: Caitlin Wakefield

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, including what and where you study.

I'm a Master's Theology student at the University of Glasgow. My academic interests focus on bodily, queer and feminist theology and I also have a penchant for biblical studies. Outside of academia I like drawing, knitting, baking and generally faffing about. I like a wee rummage in a charity shop or junk fair and I like to think I'm good at decorating. I really love going to church and getting involved with the drama of a high church mass. I also enjoy weird church history and am slightly obsessed with nuns. After church on a Sunday you can find me having a drink and a debate with other church nerds.

I live with my partner Naomi who introduced me to, and nurtured my love of, Danish film star Mads Mikkelson and his glorious cheekbones. Together we like to cook, dance about, and read a queer subtext into every novel, film or TV show.

2. Your role on GC is all about LGBTQI+ representation – why is this particular issue an important one for you?

LGBTQI+ inclusion in church life has been at the forefront of theological debate for some time now. I believe that we're past the point of arguing about the validity of queer people in the church, and need to move on to consider how queer people should be welcomed and encouraged to contribute to church life. This is particularly important to me because, as a queer person, I want to see churches and Christian groups not only accepting queer people despite their sexuality, but recognising that queer people have unique perspectives to offer.

I also think this is very important for SCM; as a campaigning student group it is important that the values we support are mirrored in our membership. During my term I hope to represent a queer perspective at meetings, to encourage conversation and debate, and to be an ear for any SCMers who have questions about anything under that remit.

3. On a personal level, what are some of your first memories of experiencing ‘faith’ for the first time? (e.g. at church, home, school or on television)

This is a tricky question! Although I sang hymns and prayers at school I wouldn't describe it as experiencing faith. My first experience of faith can only be likened to desire, a longing for something – I think that Psalm 42 puts it better than I ever could. This is something that I still experience from time to time and I find that it can barely be grasped with language, although the queer theologian Marcella Althaus-Reid put it well when she wrote that the divine can only be encountered 'at the crossroads of desire...this is an encounter with indecency, and with the indecency of God and Christianity.' On the other hand, I also find that part of faith is consistency and discipline, and this was something that I witnessed as a child and a teenager through the examples of my grandparents and a few teachers.

4. Is there anyone you look up to? Why?

My late grandfather. He was a very honourable man; fair, kind and generous. He had a deep faith, he loved his family and was good to his friends. He also enjoyed himself a lot – playing cricket, growing vegetables, travelling with my granny and taking her to dinner dances. He was a principled and reliable man, always on the square. In remembering him I have a role model for Christian charity, ethics, persistence and duty.

5. Let’s play desert island discs, the songs version – which three songs would you take with you and why?

Number 1 would have to be ‘Cloudbusting’ by Kate Bush. She is my favourite artist and the song has so much to recommend itself - half sad, half happy, catchy, complex and brilliantly sung.

Number 2 – ‘The Bewlay Brothers’ by David Bowie. Such an excellent song with really great lyrics. This also happens to be one of my dad's favourite songs. 

Number 3 – ‘When the Man Comes Around’ by Johnny Cash. Who doesn't love this song? I think if I were on a desert island I would enjoy the biblical imagery - 'the virgins are all trimming their wicks.'

6. If you could step back in time and write a letter to your 15-year-old self, what would you say?

1. Be nice to your mam, she's trying her best.
2. Reconsider bleaching your hair – it will fall out.
3. Stop the diet coke habit, before it becomes too late.
4. It's fine to be a bit odd, stop worrying about it.
5. Have a think about the genders of the celebrity crushes you have, you might come to some realisations a little earlier.

7. What are you most looking forward to after graduation?

The slow march of time towards the grave. Just joking. I'm really looking forward to getting a cat. We're thinking of calling it His Holiness Pope Innocent III.