We all come to accept Jesus into our lives at different stages. Some people have gone to church since being a child, others used to go, then lapsed, and come back, and others may have come to faith later in life, like me! I would like to share my experiences in the hope that others may follow suit.
I was sent to Sunday school as a child though my parents were not churchgoers. I did not really like it; not disliking the Bible stories and the actual Sunday school bit, but afterwards we would go into church and join our parents there. As I was on my own I would have to sit with the teachers. I never felt like I fitted in. Of course, now I know the importance of being part of a Church family.
Well, my first real brush with the glory of God was the day my first child was born, a much longed for and wanted baby, and I was blown away, realizing the marvel of creation and wanting to know more about the God who had allowed this miracle to happen.
I vowed that this child would be brought up with God in his life, and as I took him, and eventually his sister and brother to church, I began to learn more about the Christian faith myself. It didn`t happen overnight, I finally felt ready for confirmation six years later. We moved to Rainhill shortly afterwards.
Like many others I have attended church regularly, and feel really blessed to be part of our Church family at St Ann`s. I have though, I confess, always thought that the actual leading of worship was down to the ordained priests and licensed readers, because of course they know so much more than I. However, last September, I noticed on the pew sheet that St James` House lifelong learning team were running a new course in the diocese, called `Life Call` `Directions` for people who felt were being called by God but were unsure as to what He wanted them to do.
Again the old doubts surfaced; Did I know enough? Would I look stupid and out of my depth? I prayed about it and found the answer, if I did not enrol I would never know. So I decided to give it a go.
I turned up for my first session full of trepidation, like a child on their first day at school. It is after all many years since I have been in a training course situation. On entering the room I was faced with about forty strangers from all over the diocese and my tummy was in knots! Then we sang our opening hymn, `Take my life and let it be, consecrated, only, Lord to Thee`, the singing of this hymn by more than forty Christians led by a super guitarist was more powerful than I can explain, and I knew for certain I was in the right place.
The course was split into three terms, in which we gradually explored what it was that God was calling us to do. Each session was about two and a half hours, starting with worship, then some lecture time, and finally in depth discussion in smaller groups. It was an invaluable experience. At the end of the course, in July, we celebrated with a meal and Eucharist led by Bishop Richard. We all felt sorry that the course had finished, as we had bonded together in sharing our Christian journeys.