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Lindsey Jones, Chartered FCSI and Principal of Group Risk and Compliance at JLT Group in Bristol, belongs to the Priory of the Poor Knights of Christ – a Christian Order which she joined in 2014, and to which she was subsequently elected Prior.
The Priory is the newest Templar Order in the UK, and the name is a nod to the original title of the medieval Order of Knights Templar, whose ethos the Priory has adopted and modernised to meet the challenges of today’s society. As Prior, Lindsey’s role is primarily to unify a diverse membership and guide the spiritual direction of the Order.
“Templar Knights are active citizens taking our faith with us wherever we go. We are committed to practical Christianity for the 21st century, aiming to be ‘the hands and heart of God’ in our local communities. We give of our time, hearts and money, befriending the most vulnerable people, whose complex needs leave them struggling to cope in a society which appears only to value the outwardly beautiful and economically viable,” says Lindsey.
Lindsey began her working life as a cashier at a bank, followed by several jobs around the UK, including six years in the City of London, working in sales support and compliance for two large life and pensions companies, a private bank and a City IFA. Immediately before joining JLT Group in her current role, Lindsey spent ten years as a director of an investment management firm in Bristol. “I chose to specialise in compliance as that side of the industry developed, and obtained my CISI Diploma in Investment Compliance in 2008. Without a doubt, integrity, ethics, restoring public trust and conduct risk management are areas of major importance within financial services both now and in the future.”
Lindsey’s involvement with the Order is very much a way of life. “I feel my aim to ensure that ethics and integrity prevail in the professional arena complements my charity work. Our members support many and diverse charities by acting as volunteers and trustees, including homeless shelters and drop-ins, soup runs, community centres, food banks, ex-servicemen, hospices, an orphanage, a leper colony and elderly care. We are especially proud of our members who channel their vision into their occupations, including the probation service, dementia care, chaplaincy in palliative care and working to improve prison conditions overseas. As Christians of different denominations we are all active in our local churches."
A better fit
“I was brought up as a Christian and am a member of the Methodist Church, but I have always struggled with the dogma, divisions and traditional views which are prevalent in the mainstream denominations and which, in my opinion, tend to hold them back. Churches can be very insular communities, whereas faith to me should be something you carry with you at all times and in all places, to serve the wider community even if they don’t share your views. The Christian chivalric Orders seemed to offer a solution, embracing as they do the values of service, ecumenism, charity, equality and interfaith dialogue. They also incorporate the discipline of adopting a Rule of Life, but without the rigours of Holy Orders – as I definitely wasn’t cut out to be a nun!”
The Order offers financial support at a regional level to the sick and the elderly, and to local community initiatives dealing with inner city deprivation and the relief of poverty: “Our assistance is offered unconditionally on the basis of need, without judgment or discrimination. While we do all this because of our faith, we accept that this is not everyone’s way and we do not evangelise. We are keen to join in public forums and debate and will publish statements where we feel our contribution is helpful.”
Some of the charities Lindsey is involved with include Caring at Christmas; Bristol Nightstop; The Stranger’s Friend Society, and the Bristol Homeless Forum. “I have a variety of management duties and hands-on volunteering roles which take up most of my evenings and weekends. Luckily my husband Steve is also a Templar and is Chair of the Bristol Soup Run, so he is very supportive.”
“Some of the homeless soup runs were quite intimidating to begin with, and also quite upsetting. People often defend themselves from abuse by being aggressive, and mental illness or substance misuse can make people’s behaviour very unpredictable. But I’ve made friends with the ‘regulars’ in the centre of Bristol over the years and now I really look forward to meeting with them all.”
Lindsey’s involvement with the Order gives her a sense of identity: “There is a refreshing lack of red tape and dogma, meaning that we can make decisions quickly and just get things done.”
This article was originally published in the July 2016 edition of The Review. The print edition is available to all members who opt in to receive it, except student members. All eligible members who would like to receive future editions in the post should log in to MyCISI, click on My Account/Communications and set their preference to 'Yes'.