Norwich couple want to bring hope through music
Norwich GP Ike Nnene and his teacher wife Linda, are dedicated to bringing hope and light to their adopted city through gospel music, wellness clinics and marriage support, reports Jenny Seal.
Ike and Linda Nnene continually ask themselves, “how can we make a positive difference to the societal issues we encounter day by day?”
The couple and their teenage children, Benjamin and Alice-Lily, have lived in Rackheath since February 2016. Ike is a GP at Thorpewood Surgery and Linda works as the Head of Law and Politics at the City of Norwich School (CNS) while also studying for a doctorate in Educational Attainment.
Attenders at Soul Church in Norwich, the couple are dedicated to using their passions, skills and experience to positively influence the local community.
Linda explained: “Ike and I are grateful to God that He has given us positions where we are able to meet people who face difficulty. As a couple we ask ourselves: ‘how can we make a difference?’, ‘how can we have an impact?’, ‘how can we run programmes that are relevant?’”
One way that Ike and Linda seek to answer those questions is through gospel music. In August, they performed their first annual Power and Beauty Gospel Concert to a packed venue at The Blake Studio in Norwich School, with a band of talented musicians the couple had brought together.
“If I had to describe Gospel music I would say that it is everything positive”, Linda said. “It is edifying, it fills the soul. The message is uplifting.” Ike agrees: “We just want to praise God, celebrate His goodness and spread the word. Gospel music is liberating, it allows you to overcome obstacles in life.”
In 1996, Ike and Linda, who were living in London, were introduced through a friend, who recognised their mutual love of gospel music and involvement in choirs. Their first date was to see the popular American gospel music artist Hezekiah Walker in concert.
“We are blessed that God has brought us together with a common interest,” Linda said. “And we have run with that.”
Before settling in Norwich, the couple lived in Beccles where they led the Gospel Choir at the New Life Christian Fellowship Church. During a Christmas Lights Switch On in the town Ike, Linda and friends performed a Christmas gospel concert.
“That is when we could see that people wanted more of this,” Linda said. “Music is positivity and when you add the word of God that is a powerful thing.”
The couple write and perform their own songs which are available to download from iTunes and Spotify.
Linda said: “When it comes to the lyrics, our words are heavily scripturally based. There are no apologies there.” Ike continued: “Every song is able to inspire others, challenge them and encourage them with something positive.”
In keeping with their desire to bring hope through gospel music, the couple are also passionate about the principles of positive psychology and health.
Earlier this year, the couple ran a Wellness Seminar at Thorpewood Surgery, open to patients of the Medical Practice.
“The Wellness Seminar was inspired by what I see on a regular basis; my patients that come though the surgery every day,” Ike said. “As a GP I see lots of people with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. And the ability of the existing service is not as entire as we might like. I do value the input of professional services. But our aim is to use the Wellness Seminar as an additional thread of support, to say that you can actually get better.”
Ike continued: “I always challenge people to think that they can get better. I encourage the potential to get better because that potential has often been supressed.”
“This session enables people who have been through difficult times to learn about the power of positive confession, to find the ability to forgive and open up to a lifestyle of praise. As well as forsaking bitterness and embracing the positive, we emphasise practical aspects such as exercise and rest.”
About the session, Linda explained: “Ike made it quite clear that we were coming as a couple, and as a Christian couple, and people were very receptive to that.” The couple would like to develop the Wellness Seminar and are considering opening up sessions on a wider basis within Norwich.
Ike and Linda are clearly an impressive team - they have been married for 21 years. Consequently another of their passions is to advocate for marriage and family life.
Through their work and personal lives they naturally attract people who open up and share with them about their marital situations. Typically Ike and Linda have asked themselves in response, ‘how can we help on a wider scale?’
Ike said: “I look at a child taking its first breath today and I ask ‘what is the best thing we can do for that child?’. Is it investing in criminal justice or drugs prevention? I believe if that child can be brought up in a secure environment with love and good role models that will offer the best future.
“When the home is stable, people tend to do better. Marriage underpins society. If you have a stable environment, everyone can operate at their optimal level and children can thrive.”
In response, the couple have started a YouTube channel, called ‘Marriage on Song’ with vlogs of the couple encouraging positive marriage relationships.
“Even the Government finds it difficult to talk about the benefits of the family unit,” Linda said. “It is only God that will save us in this regard. I see, in my work, that children who come from a broken home inevitably have issues. Our society needs people to say that the family unit is a good thing and we make no apologies about that.”
Ike said: “Just encouraging people to take the right step is powerful; creating that hope, that light.”
You can find out more about the various ministries of Ike and Linda Nnene and hear their music at:
Pictured are Norwich couple Ike and Linda Nnene. Picture by Senpix.