Just Looking

Just Looking

People come to St Dunstan’s Church for a whole host of reasons.

They may have moved into local area and are looking for a new church.  They may be interested in getting married, or having a child christened/baptised.  They may want to hire the church hall for a party or find out what activities go on in the church during the week like the parent and toddler group.  

If you just want to see what St Dunstan’s is like then come along on a Sunday morning. You’ll find a warm welcome. You’ll also have a chance to watch what goes on, meet some of the people who come and ask any questions you might have about the life of the church.

We look forward to meeting you.

Sharon's Account

A Journey of Faith

The short version of my journey towards faith looks like this:

Childhood: Conviction, I loved going to Church as a child.

Adolescence: Straying, I put God on the back burner, and did some pretty terrible things. I reached a point where I felt empty and lonely, I felt what was the point of life, and I was filled with a sense of hopelessness and depression.

Adulthood: Turning back to God and belief

It was for me a very gradual realisation about what I truly believed and came to see as essential for my well being, both physical and mental, but it dawned on me too that faith in Jesus and living that faith out was the answer to how I could live a life with purpose and meaning.

I was brought up in a Christian family who went to church every Sunday and my family; were very much involved in the life of the church. I loved church, Sunday school bible classes, the socializing, celebrations, parties and outings and had a very strong pull towards the Church and a strong conviction that Church was a really good place to be. So, when I was 12 years old, I jumped at the chance of being confirmed. This decision was despite the fact that around that time my parents and family had stopped going to Church, the reason being that something terrible had happened. At 12, I sensed that the terrible thing was about human failings rather than God. My conviction was so strong, that I even got myself to the church on my own for my confirmation. On my confirmation day, I had my first tangible experience of God; it was a faith building moment. This faith building moment and my first assurance of the presence of God happened when the Bishop laid his hands on my head to pray for me: at that moment I felt a warm glow, and I was filled with peace, joy and a sense of affirmation. For several years, until I left home I kept on going to church, and Bible studies and Church youth groups. However, once I left home I started to slip away and apart from a good friend at physio school, whose brother was training for ministry, I would probably have stopped going to church altogether. And of course I did reach the point after college when I did stop all contact with God. For me, the consequences of living life without God, ie without prayer, without the friendship and guidance of other Christians around me, without Bible study, were emptiness, loneliness, hopelessness and eventually mild depression, for me that was what being separated from God felt like.

Now when I look back I can see times and places where God kept his hand on me, sometimes I chose to ignore those opportunities to turn back to God and Church, but eventually I came back, and I know that this was through the prayers of other Christians, people I met and of course my own choice, my conviction of needing to re find God and my faith. Since that time there have been many Faith building experiences and these have led to a restoration of hope, joy, peace and a life with purpose.

What follows is the story of one of those faith building experiences. In 2008 my youngest son was taken ill, we started out at our local hospital, the first week was very scary, instead of getting better, his condition continued to deteriorate, none of the treatments were having any effect, this was despite 24 hour care from the medics. One night he was very ill and the doctor barely left his bedside, I found myself asking the doctor, if my son was going to make it. Despite the doctor trying to reassure me that there were more treatments that they could try, my fear and anxiety would not leave me. Our church and family and friends were amazing, they supported us and loved us with acts of kindness and helped out with all the practical issues that go with having a sick child in hospital. My husband and I were camping out in the hospital room with my son. Despite all this love and care, and despite all the prayers I started feeling very angry with God, why hadn’t our prayers been answered, why was our son getting worse and not better. Eventually, my son was moved to a specialist hospital for further investigations and treatment, one night when all was looking quite desperate and there had been no change in his condition, as I sat at my sons bedside to pray with him before trying to get some sleep, my 8 year old son said to me, "mum you don’t feel like praying to God tonight do you?" I was taken aback but decided I should be honest, so I said yes that’s right Charlie, I am feeling pretty cross with God at the moment, and I am struggling to pray. My sick son replied don’t worry mum, listen to this, he had been listening to music on his new Ipod shuffle, he had just celebrated his 8th birthday in hospital. The words I heard were these:

"When I am surrounded, your love carries me" these words are from a worship song that we sing in Church, I was shocked, and this was for two reasons; one my son was choosing to listen to Worship music and despite all his suffering appeared to find some solace in this, but secondly it felt like God reminding me that amidst all my worry, fear and anxiety, God was right with me, and I just needed to hold onto that, even if I could not feel or sense it. It reminded me that the love that we were being shown by our church family, friends and family, was part of Gods love and eventually I was able to see that it played a part in my sons healing too. God was able to reach out and find me through my sick son,and a worship song he was able to reassure me and comfort me. The next day my son started to turn a corner and the heart surgery that we thought he might need was cancelled. It also reminded me that in order to find faith we have to put ourselves in the way of God.

I could tell of many faith building experiences like these since turning back to God, and now I know that I do not want to turn away from God again, I am sure I will be tempted and I am sure I will have doubts, but now I feel that my faith is such, that I will hold onto God as my rock whatever comes my way.  

 

If you are looking for the answer to a practical question and cannot find it on our website then please contact our Administrator Chantelle on
020 8740 1383  or
office@stdunstanschurch.org.uk

If you would like to know more about the spiritual life of the church or have questions about the Christian faith or would just like someone to talk to then contact our vicar, Jon, on 020 8743 4117.

 

Sunset