My name is Andrew.  I am a retired GP from Lancashire who moved to St Ives in 2011.

I grew up in an agnostic family, but went to an independent school with Anglican ties, in Liverpool.  Weekly chapel services gave me the basics of things like the Lord’s Prayer.  However, despite dallying with confirmation classes, and saying the Lord’s Prayer every night (despite not knowing why), I was a confirmed skeptic when I went to Bristol University to study Medicine.

God, however, had different ideas.  I was in a Hall of Residence annexe where all the other medical students were Christians.  I can be stubborn (ask my wife!) and it was over a year of argument, and lots of prayer by my Christian friends, before they managed to drag me to church (an Elim Pentecostal church) where I accepted Jesus as my Saviour.  My natural cynicism soon persuaded me that it was all mass hysteria, and I refused to go again.

God doesn’t give up on me though.  I was persuaded in due course to go to an evangelical Anglican church, and once again was overwhelmed by the presence of God.  I started regular church attendance and joined the university Christian Union, where I met my wife and we married in 1971.  I also still have close Christian friends from then, who have walked much of my Christian journey with me.

I knew very early on, within a year of conversion, that God was calling me to ‘something’ but I didn’t know what.

After qualifying I trained as a Gp and settled in a village practice just outside Preston, and worked there for over 30 years.  We worshipped at various times in the Methodist church, and a Methodist/URC project, but ended back in the good old C of E, where I helped the youth work, and was on the PCC, and deanery, and diocesan, synods.

I continued from time to time to explore my calling, looking at Ordination, particularly thinking of ministry in secular employment, as I had a holistic approach to my medical work.  I spoke to ordained clergy, archdeacons, even bishops.  All encouraged my exploration, but no doors opened, and I more or less forgot about it.

But God didn’t.  Before we came to live in Cornwall we used to come down every couple of months, and we worshipped at St Ia, in St Ives.  The then priest, a lovely godly man, Andy Couch, challenged me one day a couple of years before I retired and said that I was called to work in the church on retirement and encouraged me to train as a Reader.  I was accepted on the Blackburn/Carlisle training course within two months – doors finally were opening.  I qualified at about the time I retired in 2010, and was for a time a Reader in both Blackburn and Truro Dioceses, though now only in Truro.  Today we worship and I assist, at St Anta and St Uny in Carbis Bay/Lelant.

A few observations I have learned along the way:

  • God works in our lives before we know Him – otherwise why say the Lord’s Prayer as an unbelieving teenager? He answered that prayer and has answered many others.
  • He knows better than we do what we should be doing and His timing is better than ours.
  • He is with us in hard and difficult times and He gives us all we need to cope.

And of course he wants me to grow as a Christian, to serve Him, and to tell the world of His loving, saving grace.  I do not know where He wants me in the future, but I can trust Him that he will guide, comfort and strengthen me all along the way.