I was born in Ladywood, Birmingham, and faith for me began as a 5 year old when my father said to me that I should not say ‘Oh God’. My father encouraged me to attend local churches and be connected to the Salvation Army, which I was also with via an excellent music teacher at my secondary school who was a Salvation Army Officer and encouraged me to seek a personal relationship with God, which was finalised by a school friend in my final year who explained the gospel to me and guided me through faith in terms of giving my life to God through Jesus. She also supported my attendance at church, where I still have contact with fellow Christians from 30-40 years ago.
Following on from 13 years of teaching children in mainstream and special schools, I attended a missionary conference in Scotland with a Christian friend. The result of this was that God called me to mission and on leaving my work as a teacher, I studied at a bible college in Berwick Upon Tweed (it doesn’t exist anymore) for three years and experienced God’s call to mission in Austria where my wife was from. During the time in Austria, I worked at a Christian Conference Centre and for an Evangelical church for 7 years in total. Support by both was excellent and appreciated.
Since returning to the UK in 2019, I asked my eldest son, Philip, who was doing 2 years of voluntary church work in Durham, if he could recommend a church near to where I was living. With the experience of an old friend connected with St Stephens, he recommended it to me and I was delighted once I started attending services and house group meetings. It was wonderful to be part of St Stephens before I returned to Austria again in 2020.