It’s taken me a little while to write this because I am still very much on a journey when it comes to my faith.
I suppose looking back there have been moments in time which have formed and shaped my idea of faith and strengthened the way I see the world and live my life.
I grew up in a family who never went to church, it was something other people did and not part of our lives at all. But, as a teenager, I found myself being drawn to sitting for quite long periods in empty churches and churchyards finding a stillness and peace. Even now, that is one of my favourite things, opening the door into an empty church and just sitting, feeling close to God.
When I was seventeen, I had what I suppose is called a “God” moment. I find it difficult to write or talk about in any depth because it was so personal, but perhaps the best way to describe it was a “vision” and it has stayed with me and given me huge strength throughout my life.
The first church I felt really connected to was and still is, St Mary’s in Putney, London, where I lived for many years. It was a church that spoke to me in its energy, passion, vibrancy and inclusivity.
Giles Fraser, who is now well known as a broadcaster and commentator, arrived as vicar and his sermons were inspiring. I remember one in which he spoke of selling the “Socialist Worker” on the streets. Whatever you think of those politics, it was refreshing to hear a vicar who spoke as an ordinary person and for the first time, I realised the huge connection between Church and social justice.
I originally trained as a teacher, so very soon found myself on the Sunday School rota and such was the popularity of the church (standing room only many weeks) it seemed as though there were hundreds of toddlers in the room, so I went home covered in glue and exhausted but uplifted!
My son was happy at St Mary’s primary school and life was good, until my husband suffered a health scare and it changed everything.
We knew that if we got through it we would reassess our lives and we were clear that we would move to Cornwall, which had always held a special place in our hearts. We knew that if it was meant to be then it would happen. And it did, our house sold in three weeks and there was no turning back. Our families and friends thought we were completely crazy as we didn’t know one person in Cornwall and I loved my job at the BBC and also couldn’t afford to give it up!
But we threw everything up into the air with a sense that God was there guiding us and giving us strength.
And so, we arrived in St Day, (having bought the first and only house we looked at)on a very wet, windy night wondering about this new life.
The next day, the sun was shining and we ventured out…. into an incredible community. We literally felt arms around us.
The church, Holy Trinity, while very different to St Mary’s, welcomed us from the very first week and enabled us to feel part of the community.
After commuting to London for four very long months, I transferred to Radio Cornwall and I now have what I consider to be the best job in the world because I get to see the incredible work of volunteers and churches making such a difference to communities and supporting the most vulnerable. I find the power of the church, when used to transform lives, inspiring.
Through my work and the wonderful people I meet, I feel my faith grows stronger everyday.
It is truly a privilege to be here and to be able to feel God’s love and guidance in so many ways.