Emma Blain is editor of The Church of Ireland Gazette. She lives in Dublin and has two children, Hunter (7) and Matilda (5).
Q. Can you tell us something about your background?
A. I live in Dublin, where I was born and raised. My parents are Sydney and Dorothy. I grew up in Rathmines, where my father was the principal of the Church of Ireland College of Education for 24 years. I come from a family of teachers - going back a couple of generations - and both my sisters, Judy and Nikki, are primary school teachers.
However, I chose a different career path and I began my career in journalism while I was completing my Master's in politics at University College Dublin. As well as being the editor of The Church of Ireland Gazette, I am also a Fine Gael county councillor and have been an elected representative on Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council since 2016.
I feel very fortunate to be able to work in these roles that I really enjoy and, as a local politician and through the Gazette, I enjoy a special connection with the communities I represent. I have two young children, Hunter (7) and Matilda, or Tilly (5).
Q. How and when did you come to faith?
A. I was born into the Church of Ireland. My parents came from small rural parishes, in Donegal and Co Laois, but I was baptised in the largest Church of Ireland parish in the Republic of Ireland (Taney, Dundrum), where I am still an active member.
Q. Does this faith play a real part in your life? Or is it only for Sundays?
A. I would say that it is a part of my everyday life, though maybe not in an obvious way. As the mother of two young children, I try and impart to them the most important of Jesus's teachings: to love one another and show kindness to all of God's creations.
Q. Have you ever been angry with God? And, if so, why?
A. I can't think of a time when I have been truly angry with Him, but I do believe that many people, regardless of the strength of their faith, have had moments over the last year where they have questioned God and His plans for humankind. I can only hope and pray that the coming year will a better one, for everyone.
Q. Do you ever get criticised for your faith? And are you able to live with that criticism?
A. I can thankfully say that I have never been subjected to criticism for my faith, or my denomination.
Q. Are you ever ashamed of your own Church, or denomination?
A. On the contrary, I have often had cause to be proud of my own denomination. Last year, the Church of Ireland marked the 30th anniversary of the ordination of women - a very important milestone.
As a woman and, in particular, as a female politician, I greatly appreciate the importance of female leaders within our communities and our Church.
I have been impressed and inspired by many female clergy and continue to be inspired. Women are under-represented in so many fields - in sport, media and politics - and the importance of the messaging, "If you can't see it, you can't be it" is as applicable in the Church as it is in these other fields.
Q. Are you afraid to die? Or can you look beyond death?
A. I'm not afraid to die, but unfortunately it's a fate that awaits us all. What I do fear is leaving my children behind.
Q. What do you think about people of other denominations and other faiths?
A. Having lived all my life in Dublin as a member of the Church of Ireland, I have always been comfortable being in the minority religion. So, while I attended Protestant schools, I had many friends and colleagues of other denominations and faiths and of none.
I have always valued a person's attitude and kindness towards others above a judgment of them based on their faith, or denomination.
Q. Would you be comfortable in stepping out from your own faith and trying to learn something from other people?
A. Absolutely. It's important to continue to learn from other people in order to develop a deeper understanding of the world.
Q. Why are so many people turning their backs on organised religion?
A. One positive that has come from the pandemic is that, although our church doors have been closed for many months, technology has brought the Church into our homes again. Many people who had fallen away from the Church have now found a way back in again.
Q. Has religion helped, or hindered, the people of Northern Ireland?
A. On the surface, it's clear that religion has played a large part in the complicated recent history of Northern Ireland. Still, it could be said that it was those who ignored the precepts of religious teachings that contributed to violence and, more importantly, it was those with deeply-held religious beliefs who were so instrumental in brokering peace.
Q. What is your favourite film, book and music, and why?
A. When I have the opportunity to watch a film that isn't a Disney, or Pixar, animated feature, I enjoy a war movie - Dunkirk and 1917 have been recent favourites. I play the cello and the piano, though I don't dust off my cello as often as I should. My Spotify playlists wouldn't reveal too much about my favourite music, as I tend to play everything from Vivaldi to Prodigy, depending on my mood, or the weather. I like crime fiction, though the most recent book which has really left a mark on me is American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins.
Q. Where do you feel closest to God?
A. At Glencolmcille, in south-west Co Donegal, which is the ancestral home of my father and where I spend most of my holiday time. The wild, raw, beauty of the place makes me appreciate the wonder of His creation and it's easy to switch off from city life and reconnect to what matters - especially as the broadband signal is terrible up there.
Q. Finally, have you any major regrets?
A. I try to look to the future, instead of worrying about the past.