The ward of Ordsall in Salford has some of the most deprived areas of Greater Manchester but it has also seen real transformation in the last 10 years with the development of MediaCityUK. Tanya Burch was kind enough to answer some questions about her work as a Councillor in that ward and how her faith connects with her job.
What is your current role in Salford?
I am a Councillor for the ward of Ordsall, the largest ward in the city, which includes Ordsall Estate, Media City UK, Greengate and a part of Chapel Street. I serve on Planning Panel and Employer’s Forum in Salford, as well as on Scrutiny Panels for GMCA (Greater Manchester Combined Authority).
Why did you get into politics?
There were many reasons, I guess, why I got into politics. I was born and raised in Ukraine that has always been quite a politicized country. I’ve lived through revolutionary events during the collapse of the USSR and the people of Ukraine fighting for their independence. I saw the transformational power of the whole nation deciding to change the regime and the culture of their country–and they succeeded.
When in Britain, I couldn’t understand why people who had pretty much all the laws on their side, don’t always use them for positive change in the society.
My husband and I have always been actively involved in our church and I was also running several community projects. My projects reached the stage when I couldn’t sustain them on my own so I looked into the ways to get help.
One of the obvious ways forward was to become a Councillor and have the whole Council supporting you. Looking back, it was quite a naive view of politics. Nevertheless, I can see now that politics is a powerful vehicle to bring about change in our society.
How has your faith helped you in your work?
Jesus Christ is a great example of selfless sacrifice, unchanging love and unstoppable power and He is a daily inspiration to me. Love for my neighbour, forgiveness and compassion are just a few Christian qualities that help me in my work at the Council.
Knowing that nothing is impossible with God helps me believe that in spite of Austerity and other challenges faced by our communities, we can still do our best to support our residents. Faith calls those things that are not as if they were. It is my faith that helps me see prosperity and peace when I look at deprivation and lack.
Daily communion with the Lord in prayer is definitely a source of wisdom, peace and strength.
What is your biggest challenge as a Christian in politics?
I have noticed that people at times assume that they know what I believe in without ever discussing it with me.
Some of these assumptions are laughable, untrue and have nothing to do with the Bible. The challenge is to hold back from trying to explain what the truth is, but to just keep living a quiet peaceable life for the people to see what I really believe in. If asked, of course, I’m happy to explain and share what I believe in.
What is your vision for Salford?
MediaCityUK is probably the most significant development in the history of Salford. However, our people are the greatest asset of our city and I am passionate about doing my best to see local children and young people benefiting from these tremendous developments.
What can we pray for you?
Please pray that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart would be pleasing in the Lord’s sight Psalm 19:14. Please also stand in faith with me that all my children are taught by the Lord and great is their peace. Courage, wisdom and humility, please pray for these.
Thank you ever so much for your support, it means more than you will ever know.
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