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Letter from the Rectory - April 2024

Dear Friends,

I recently read an account of someone called Emily’s Christian journey. This is her story told to the Eastbourne-based organisation ‘Speak Life’.

‘As a child my only experience of God and Church was the grace we said before tea on a Sunday; a smattering of ‘bargaining prayers’ uttered in desperation (usually when I had lost something I wasn’t meant to have); and, somewhat randomly, doing the conga as a Brownie for an episode of Songs of Praise! Later, at the bequest of a friend, and perhaps cajoled somewhat by the promise of free food and an evening with my friends a handful of friends and I attended an Alpha Course. Upon completion, due mainly to us being 15 and therefore clearly significantly more intelligent than everyone else, we all decided that Christianity ‘was simply not for us’.

Meanwhile, the same friend’s mother diligently opened up her Church Hall to our merry band of misfits each Friday night and stood making hotdogs and squash, as we grumbled with an ingratitude only teens seem capable of possessing. But for those awkward years that stretch between childhood and adulthood, she provided a space. By the time I moved on over 35 young people would be there most weeks cheering ‘Mama E’ on.

My next brief encounter with church was a few years later as a young mum. A different friend invited me to a Christmas event she was singing at. On leaving I mumbled to the vicar that ‘I’d come back in January for sure’. I was simultaneously wondering if God was real and, if so, would he smite me down for lying to a Christian leader. Little did I know that less than a month later amidst unforeseen tragedy and genuine curiosity, a 21-year-old me found herself in church saying a prayer that would alter everything – not just me, but hopefully for generations to come’.

From my experience, parts of Emily’s story are repeated in many other people’s Christian journey: she was initially encouraged by friends, but then it was both ‘unforeseen tragedy’ and ‘genuine curiosity’ that drew her. Wherever you are on the journey, I’d encourage you to explore it more; it could even, like for Emily, ‘alter everything’.


James Campbell

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