None of my family ever went
church except for weddings, Christenings and funerals, but my sister
and I were always sent to Sunday school every week without fail, no
matter what the weather.
During the war we attended a tiny chapel - Gospel Hall, it had forms
for seats and I can still remember the smell of polish and old books.
The Principal was a gentle, soft-voiced man assisted by two sisters,
who told us stories about a man called Jesus. To me it was
that – stories, and God was an old man up in the sky who knew when you
told lies or stole a bun from the local shop when you were hungry.
After the war we moved back from my grandmother’s house to our own
house, and my father came home after 5 years away. I had
forward to that, but the man who went wasn't the same man who came back.
Our next Sunday school was at the local Parish church, there were a lot
of children there and the teachers were very nice ladies, but once
again - stories and we were given little pictures to stick in our
little books. I thought the pictures depressing, men in robes
pious women who always had their eyes turned to heaven. I didn’t think
much of Sunday school and played hooky whenever I could. (Awful child!)
The one good thing about this church was they had a great social club,
and as we got older we were allowed to go to the dances and at an early
age, 11 or 12, my friends and I learnt to dance the quick-step etc. The
church was our social life until we were 16 or more. I have very fond
memories of this time and this was also about the time that my friend
and I started to attend the Evensong service every week. Had
seen The Light? No. We had seen the good looking boys in the
I drifted away from the church, met and married my husband and went to
live in Coventry. Norman was in the fire Brigade and worked 12 hour
shifts. After 11 months we had our first lovely baby boy, Mark,
followed 5 years later by his sister Louise. By this time we had
managed to buy our first house on a new estate, and most of the
families were like us, big mortgages, no cars and a bus only 2 to 3
times a day. Social life – zero!
One day a leaflet came through the door. It said the Curate
the distant parish church had bought a house on the estate and was
holding the first service on Sunday at the little school a mile away.
It was a big effort to get there with the children, but I made it in
Only three little families were at that first meeting, but Harry Wilson
the Curate and his wife Wendy lost no time in starting a friendship
club for the ladies, and a Bible group with just 2 or 3 people. I had
been to a Church of England school for 5 years and a Sunday school
until I started work, yet I had never understood why Jesus had died on
the cross until Harry Wilson opened my eyes to the Gospel. Until then
the Bible was just a book that was read in church. I had never taken
much notice of it. It was just an old book.
Six months later we went to a Billy Graham rally from London and I went
forward to become a born again Christian.
We have moved houses quite a lot since then, but we have always found a
church to attend, some good, some not so good. Bethel church in
Coventry was a great church, the minister was a gem. If we missed going 2 weeks he came looking out for us. Our two
eldest children received Christ there while in Sunday
school. End of story? No!
We moved back to Lancashire when Mark was 19 and Louise 14, and our
youngest son Simon 8. We found a church and we felt happy there,
although the Vicar was young and very ambitious (he is now a Bishop!)
We got on OK. Then one or two manipulative angry people joined our
church. They found fault with everything that didn't put them centre
stage. It happens sometimes in churches, but this was nasty. I became
angry and disillusioned, so I left and after 28 years of being a
Christian, my faith hit rock bottom.
The only way to describe how I felt was that I was in a room that was
bare and bleak. The room was called Christianity, and in that room
there were closed doors, and I wanted to open every one – so I did.
The first door led to books on mind, body and spirit, some of them did
open my mind. Another door led to the Quakers. Next Buddhism,
next Islam, next Agnosticism (no joy there). What was I looking
for? God and the faith I had lost. It was a long journey and
10 years and I learned a lot not only about God, but about myself.
Now I realise God never lost me. I was on a learning curve, looking in
all the wrong places, but it did teach me that Christianity is the only
religion to offer us the free gift of God’s love and
gift bought with a price. Jesus on the cross paid the price, once and
This hymn tells my story the best:
I heard the voice of Jesus say
Come unto me and rest.
Lay down thou weary one, lay down
Thy head upon my breast.
I came to Jesus as I was
Weary and worn and sad
I found in Him a resting place
And He has made me glad.
End of story? NO. It’s only just the beginning. One
more step every day.
You may get in contact with Beryl via the