CMS Mission Partner

Rev Jane Shaw

Revd Jane Shaw

Revd Jane Shaw, our CMS Mission Partner for five years, was based in Lahore and was the only serving woman priest in Pakistan. She was in charge of Bishop Rockey Chapel as well as working as a hospital administrator. She initially went to Pakistan for three years, but continued there for a further two years and St Ninian’s was sending financial assistance.
September 2010: Jane finished her five years in Pakistan and is now safely back in the UK and settling back into life here.

From the Spring 2011 edition of the quarterly newspaper of USPG
A lot of the news we hear about Pakistan is highly negative: they say ‘Pakistan is about to implode, it’s a failed state, the situation is catastrophic’ – but this isn’t the case. Pakistan still works and the people are incredibly resilient and resourceful. They rightly don’t expect much help from government, and they do not have the same social safety nets that we do. So they help each other and get on with life.

During my time in Pakistan I learned how religion defines personal and national identity. I developed a great respect for Islam and met some extremely devout and saintly Muslims. But the religion gets distorted and misused (as can happen with Christianity); any religion that imposes its teaching with violence is on the wrong road.

Pakistan, like many countries, is ruled by an elite driven by self-interest. When he became President of Pakistan in 1978, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq took the country much further towards an Islamic state. He introduced Blasphemy Laws, which are often misused, leading to unfounded accusations and attacks on people from minority faiths.

Another difficulty is the rigid nature of the education system, with a highly pressurised style of rote-learning and too few places in higher education. On top of this, people face rising food prices, power cuts, water shortages, chaotic traffic, and sudden unaffordable expenses, such as medical bills or family weddings. So it is not surprising that the incidence of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and depression continue to rise.

Living in Pakistan has certainly taught me patience, the grace to accept others’ help, and the wisdom not to judge because I never know the whole story. Have I made a difference? I hope I have given encouragement to other women to consider whether they have a call to ordained ministry. I’ve helped people to develop their gifts to serve God in different ways, supported young people in their Christian journey, and comforted people in times of distress and grief. And I worked with some lovely people and made many good friends.

Whatever I have been able to achieve, I commit it all to God and now look forward to serving him in a new place, here at home in the UK. And I continue to pray for my dear friends in Pakistan.

CMS Mission Partner Profile:
Revd Jane Shaw
In 2004 Jane was a new mission partner who planned to work in Raiwind Diocese, Pakistan. She saw it as a chance to support, through offering ordained ministry, Christians who are a minority with relatively few resources, and often forgotten by their more affluent brothers and sisters in the west. “It’s an exciting prospect, if sometimes a bit scary!” she said. “God’s call to mission service was rather unexpected,” she explained, “but, on reflection, coming to work with CMS seemed a very natural development.”

Jane had known CMS and its mission partners for 15 years and was an active member of Yorkshire CMS. Jane had always been happy working overseas and indeed spent much of her early life in East Africa and Asia as part of an army family.

After graduating from Cambridge in Classics, she trained with the NHS in hospital management. She held posts in six different NHS authorities over the next 20 years, both in operational hospital management and in planning.

In 1989 Jane fulfilled a long-held ambition and began to work overseas with Save the Children, first at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda, and then with a World Bank family health project in Peshawar, Pakistan. She came to know several CMS mission partners in Uganda and, before going to Pakistan, became a member of the CMS Salt Programme, which provides a network for Christian professionals working abroad.

Returning to the UK to be near elderly parents, Jane secured the post of lecturer in hospital management at Leeds University, teaching on Master’s courses for health professionals from developing countries. The work also entailed research and consultancy in developing health systems, so Jane was able to keep in touch with many alumni in person while visiting their countries.

While still holding that post, in 2001 she was ordained in the Church of England and subsequently served as non-stipendiary assistant curate at St John’s Church in the Moor Allerton team ministry in the north of Leeds. She completed that appointment in 2005 as well as leaving the university post in September of that year. After three months’ training, she travelled to Pakistan in early 2006.

When not at work or undertaking ministry, Jane’s hobbies include bell-ringing, choral singing, gardening, dress-making and reading.