This Sunday marks John Patterson's final Sunday of public ministry in his role as a Licensed Lay Minister. This week's blog is written by John, reflecting on his years serving the local church. Sadly we cannot celebrate with a large parish lunch as planned, due to current Covid restrictions, but we will let you all know when we find a date to do this in the near future...
You can download this week's pew-sheet here:
MY FAITH JOURNEY -A Reflection by John Patterson
Thank you to everyone for your good wishes and kind words after my decision to retire as a Licensed Lay Minister. I have been thinking about this for a while now and after 25 years as a Reader/Licensed Lay Minister, plus fast approaching my 75th birthday, I feel it is time for me to step down and make way for the younger people in our congregation to move on in their faith journey. As Father Andy has mentioned, I will not be leaving St. Peter’s and All Saints’ and will always be available if needed as an Emeritus Licensed Lay Minister.
Looking back over my faith journey it all started when I was eight years old and attended Sunday School. The foundation of attending Sunday School set me on my path towards being a committed Christian. There were two occasions in my young life in 1963 and 1989 when I was close to death and on both of those occasions God was present with me.
In 1977, when our twins were born, we wanted them to be christened and we were told by the priest at our local church in Great Horkesley, Colchester that, because neither Theresa nor I were confirmed and none of the God Parents were confirmed, our twins could not be christened. I promised the Priest that I would attend church and bring our sons up in the christen faith if he christened them. So I started to attend church and the twins were christened.
In 1979 we decided to move to Brentwood onto the new Thriftwood development, which we did. One day there was a knock on the front door and the Vicar of St Stephen’s, Rev. Peter Collins, was standing there. He told us that Rev. Philip Price from Great Horkesley had been in touch with him and he came to welcome us and asked that we attend St. Stephen’s Church, Ingrave. This we did and in 1982 both Theresa and I were confirmed at St. Mary’s Church, Shenfield.
We attended St. Stephen’s Church on a regular basis. Theresa would have coffee mornings in our house because, being a new estate, there were plenty of young mums with small children and Rev. Peter Collins used to come to the coffee mornings on a regular basis and mix with all the new mums. Because St. Stephen’s Church didn’t have a school in its Parish, this was a good way for our Priest to get to know the new families arriving in his Parish.
Joyce, Rev. Peter Collins’ wife, started up the Sunday school, with Theresa helping out and all the young children started to attend and so St. Stephen’s Church started to grow.
In 1985 Rev. Peter Collins moved to Royston in Hertfordshire and we had a new priest, the Rev. John Ryeland, who was very involved in the Healing Ministry. As I also became involved in the Healing Ministry, I attended conferences run by John Wimber and Billy Graham and went on Christian holidays in various parts of the country. Rev. John Ryeland is now Head of the Christian Healing Mission at Chorley Wood.
I was instrumental, with the Rev. John Ryeland and others, in setting up one of the first Alpha Courses, other than where it all started at Holy Trinity, West Brompton.
Both Theresa and I ran Confirmation Classes from our home and we were privileged to see some rather wayward teenagers turn their lives around and come to the Lord.
We also had a Home Group which run for seven years and had an attendance of up to 20 odd people every Monday evening in our house. Our sons would often be woken up by the laughter and banter we had together.