Tell us about yourself. Where are you from, what do you do?
I grew up in Tunbridge Wells in Kent but have lived in Sheffield for nearly 25 years. I originally came to Sheffield as a student, met my wife Gill here, and decided to stay. The church I normally worship at is The Vine Sheffield. It’s an Anglican parish formed by the coming together a few years ago of two churches – St Stephen’s Netherthorpe and St Bartholomew’s. I’ve worshipped there for the past 18 years and am training to be a Lay Reader (someone licensed to preach, teach and help lead worship). The lay reader training is something I’m doing in my spare time. I spend most of my week working for Church Army, a national Christian charity with a head office in Sheffield. I work there as research team leader.
As part of my Reader training, I’m doing a placement at St Matthew’s from September to Christmas. I’ve really enjoyed the experience so far and am very grateful for the warm welcome that everyone has given me.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
Gill and I have two sons (aged 10 and 3) so much of my ‘spare time’ is spent looking after them. But when I get the chance, I love to run. It really helps me switch off and unwind. I’ve run quite a few marathons over the years but more recently I’ve moved up to ‘ultra-marathon’ distance. In September, I did a 126- mile three-day run along the Northumberland coast raising funds for Church Army. It was an incredible experience but I was a little tired by the end!
When/how did you come to faith?
I grew up attending the church my parents attended. But I did not think particularly deeply about what I believed until I was aged 12 when I started to question the existence of God. I remember praying something the lines of ‘God, if you’re real, would you show yourself to me?’ It’s hard to explain how but, after a couple of months of searching and wondering, I felt that my prayer had been answered. I then prayed a prayer of commitment to Christ. As a teenager, my faith drifted at times but I maintained a connection to church through a strong peer group of Christian friends.
What is your earliest memory of church?
I remember being asked to help an elderly gentleman find the hymns in his hymn book. I was probably aged 6 or 7 at the time. I also remember having to play David in a dramatized telling of the David and Goliath story at a family service. I think I was chosen because I was quite small. Some things never change!
If you could be locked in a church with anyone, who would it be?
I’d quite like to have the time on my own to be honest. I’d really appreciate a few hours alone in a beautiful church (with my phone switched off!) – a chance to sit and be still, to think and to pray. But if I could meet any person from Christian history, it would be great to spend some time with St Augustine. I started reading his ‘Confessions’ a few years ago but didn’t get very far. Maybe I could ask him to tell me the full story in person!