The first time I felt a calling was a year or so after my mother died. I was 23. About 9 months after she had died, I picked up the keys to a new house I had bought in Faversham, Kent, UK. The lawyer’s office was on Castle Street in Canterbury, not far from the Cathedral. I went into the crypt and prayed and wept in a most uncontrolled way. It was like a Dam had been removed as soon as I walked in there. Of course, I had cried before, but this was different, it sought out any ounce of feeling and brought it to the fore, from deep down. I knew then that my mother was in a good place.
It was a happy time. I had just got the keys to a new (albeit very old) property, but the peace within that place, so filled with the presence of Him was quite overwhelming.
I immediately began investigating how I might better serve Jesus.
I felt the presence of God whilst diving in the Canary Islands in 2010. At a cave 30m below the surface of the Atlantic, I was overcome with serenity and absolute peace of the place as fish darted here or there as I shone my torch into the gloomy cervices. I watched as my breath bubbled to the surface of the cave, trapped against the rocky submarine ceiling; running like quicksilver to find the highest point, before stopping forever.
I thought for a minute or two of my father, who had passed away seven months prior. My thoughts were despondent and I felt very lonely. For a fleeting moment, I thought about removing my breathing regulator and expunging all the air from my tank, a simple operation if you know how. But that thought passed, and I swam on.
After exiting the cave, not long after, suspended in the current over a very deep, bottomless-looking, drop-off; a beach towel floated toward me like a flag. The beach towel featured the Motif of a Football Team which my late father had supported.
What were the odds of me finding that towel in that ocean at my lowest ebb, I wonder?
I snatched the towel from the current and put it in my large pocket. I have the towel to this day at home.
Although I have illustrated God’s presence in these two significant moments in my life, it is clear to me that He has been present throughout.
I am exploring a calling which has come to the fore at various junctures of my life for more than 20 years. This time now is all the more powerful I suppose due to the extraordinary time we find ourselves in, which has since February 2020 allowed me to reflect and pray more. It culminated at the beginning of August when I interpreted what God has been saying to me quite consistently; as a message to act and to act now. That any more time allowed to pass is just doing something He has not urged me to do.
For my part the Church of England is part of my DNA being involved in my local parish church from Sunday school age and then during my 20-odd year career with homelessness charities, culminating with my working with Canterbury Diocese from 2002 up until 2009.
I have had various conversations about my calling over the 20-years with various folk, most notably my old boss, the late Rev Derek Crabtree who was wholly encouraging but my job in Canterbury, UK was with a homelessness charity the excuse at the time which meant I did not follow this path..
Since August this year, I have connected with Father David, although my relationship with St George’s started when my son was born in 2017 and Baptised by the Rev, Father Tom McCusker. The, in February 2018, Fr David officiated at a service of remembrance for my late friend, the British Fine Artist, Mr. Brett Neal, who past away unexpectedly at the age of 55.