I was brought up in a family that did not go to church although I was encouraged to go to Sunday school from around the age of 4 which I did, at my local Baptist church. I gave up church when I was around 11 and started believing the big bang theory. Although I was not a church ‘hater’ I certainly was pro-church and thought most people who went to church were hypocrites. I had my daughter when I was 32 and my son when I was 35.
I started going to church when my daughter was about 4 and my son 1. I was the administrator for playgroup who met in a building belonging to the church. I was a representative on the playgroup committee where there was also representation from the church. It was a Baptist church and the minister - Barbara was fairly new.
I had started to do some marketing work for her husband as an agent around the children and my other part time jobs at that stage so had gotten to know Barbara and Bill a little. Education Sunday was held once a year around September time and the Baptists encouraged all people from the playgroup to go to church to attend the service and then a lunch afterwards.
Although I did not go to the service, I did attend the lunch with Pippi, my daughter. The lunch was pleasant enough and I enjoyed the company but would not have thought much more about it except that Pippi had been playing with some older girls called Lizzie and Amanda Boyland and loved it. They had encouraged Pippi to start to go to church.
Soon after that Pippi was regularly attending church and Sunday school. Sometimes I would stay with her and other times I would find excuses and would merely drop her off and pick her back up again.
One Sunday around a year later, I was sitting at the back of the church, when suddenly I looked around at everyone else deep in prayer and wondered if they were mad or if it was me. Although this thought came out of the blue, I should not have been that surprised. I used to host open mornings on Christmas morning and invite several neighbours and friends from the town we were living in for drinks and nibbles. Barbara and Bill had attended as they had done before and after, but that year Barbara had given me a bible.
Although I had owned a bible as a child, I had never read it and so decided during that time to try to read it. I decided to take on the momentous task of starting at the beginning. I did not get that far – somewhere into numbers I think but I do remember thinking there was an awful lot of time discussing how to make unleavened bread!
I did have a few discussions with Barbara about my reading, she was good and never pushed me. Anyway, back to the Sunday when I was sitting in church wondering if I was mad or everyone else was and realizing it was me. I spoke to Barbara soon after who was obviously delighted that I was now showing real interest in Christ. After a few months, I arranged to be Baptized.
I decided that I wanted to invite as many people as I could and ended up with something in the region of 115 people attending on the Sunday in September in 2006. This was the day after Pippi had fallen out of the bedroom window – see separate post.
I went on to do a couple of mission trips to Sierra Leone for a couple of weeks each which I will get around to posting about at some point, as well as helped with St Vincent De Paul and currently the YMCA and training to be a street pastor.
Although life threw many curved balls after that, it was the best thing I did although I have since become a Catholic. My faith is important to me and I believe it helps define who I now am. I have made many mistakes and done many things in my life that I am not proud of, however, my faith now helps me to make better choices, and particularly since I became Catholic (I think I needed the structure keep me on the right path) – although I know I am only human and I will still fail.