Hi all from Staffordshire

Discussion in 'New Members' started by Gav81, Jul 16, 2020.

  1. Gav81

    Gav81 New Member

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    I've been reading this forum on and off for 8 months or so and thought it time to sign up and say hello, I've really found this forum a great source of information from posters past and present. Just a little background on me, I'm fast approaching 40 and ordinary working class guy, baptised in the CofE and pretty much spent all my adult life bordering on the atheist belief system and all that comes with it, never married as its just a piece of paper to me with my thinking of old! I have kids but something changed since the birth of my daughter last year. I kept an open mind and my ignorant views and foundations slowly started to crumble, after hours if not days of study I fully surrendered to God and prayed for the first time from the heart for forgiveness and for guidance from the Holy spirit. The first thing I did is go to Church for a Sunday service which I enjoyed, I got to speak with the priest at the end and mentioned briefly that I was new and had picked up a King James Bible, first thing he said was I should get a better translation, this confused me a little so did some study so got hold of a NRSV to complement it even though I had a dictionary for archaic words. I ended up sending an email that day directly as I felt it right to let him know who I was, sort of explaining about my predicament and that I'm not just coming to get the baby baptised like most do never to return, that's the first thing a lady thought as she asked are we here for baptism so said no not yet. I was very open and honest but never said anything disrespectful, I suppose I was looking some advice because I made it clear my girlfriend was very willing to get baptised and confirmed as she comes from a non religious background. I was looking forward to some guidance, I never got a reply but the following week after the service the priest awkwardly admitted he's not got round to replying yet but would do which is fair enough. Anyway, I never did get any response! Due to changes with work I couldn't attend the next few weekends but then after that I just felt awkward being honest. I'm certainly not a needy man and never asked anything awkward it was an open goal to get a family involved to come to church. I started to see things differently and it seemed to this priest it was just a job? being baptised in the CofE made it my first port of call, I was drawn to the Anglo Catholic side and belief in Scripture so it was also depressing checking in my village and town I grew up both having a Woman priests, I'm not sexist it's just wrong going on scripture alone! So I've been an at home Bible reader since. Everything I've seen in the media from the Church of England during the lock down has been horrendous, they come across as pompous middle class Liberal Democrats, that priest in Manchester calling for sackings wasn't the icing on the cake it was the Archbishop of Canterbury playing identity politics saying Jesus was black recently a week after saying statues will have to come down. I think during this crisis they have turned more people away to even consider going to a CofE, just my honest opinion coming from knowing nearly nothing. I don't know where this will lead me but I think Gavin Ashenden speaks very well on recent YouTube videos, will it lead me to be Catholic? I don't know. It all sounds so great reading the 39 articles and links from this forums site but the reality is its miles away from the CofE now. I've often thought about contacting that priest via phone but it just isn't worth it, like he's had plenty of time at home doing nothing since the lock down maybe I'm just too much a sinner to have in the small select group. Sorry if this seems a rant and I don't doubt there are many godly people within the CofE I'm just going on my own eyes locally. St Bartholomew the Great in London online services have kept my interest that all is not lost with the CofE but that's a seems a world away from my market town in the Midlands! I try to avoid politics as I've little interest but it seems to me the CofE comes across as a wishy washy lib dems party, these games have nothing to do with the Gospel. Apologies if I come across as attacking, I thought it would be easy to just turn back to Church, repent, get married and lead a true Christian life trying to follow Jesus!
     
  2. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    Welcome. I hate hearing stories like that but I know it happens all the time. I was in the US Navy and then the husband of a military family for an additional 4 years. Quite often, my family would visit a church and get an implicit shrug; we were just another military family, we would rotate out in 18-24 months and the church would never see us again so they made no real effort to embrace us as part of their church. I suppose the experience prepared me to be a better priest.
     
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  3. Gav81

    Gav81 New Member

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    Thanks. I did send maybe a long winded but very honest email as I could tell they thought we was going for baptism only. I would of thought they would embrace sinners more what with the dwindling numbers. I thought eventually I'd get a response with not showing up, my daughter kept going the churches praise and play groups midweek so the priest would often see my girlfriend in attendance. I've often wondered if I should call instead and have been tempted to but it would be awkward to listen to the excuse of being busy as they've had no doubt about it plenty of free time recently. I've read some really great posts on this forum but sitting a home with just the Bible isn't enough, I want us all to be part of a local Church, we do have another which is actually in my Parish boundary but it's low church I think the term is? They don't have the evensong monthly like the one in Town, so never considered it. It makes me sound delicate reading all this back but it does feel like a huge rejection. Maybe they have just given up even trying to get anyone new in, I just don't know. I often wonder if I'd of been ignored if I was questioning about getting married immediately and quizzing about costs, probably not when it comes to business. The irony is I was talking about that in my email anyway on plans. I've done many things back to front!
     
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  4. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    This was a wonderful post, full of heart-felt concern and a deep longing to reconnect with the church, so it really made a difference for me this morning.

    As for options, have you investigated the two reformist traditional Anglican movements going on in the U.K. right now:
    -Gafcon UK, a church plant project established by the international Gafcon movement and especially from within the States here, led by Bishop Andy Lines.

    -Free Church of England, which regardless of its founding history has become something of a bastion of orthodox Anglicanism under Bishop John Fenwick. He too has many ties to the US, and I’ve met him personally many times.
     
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  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    You are most welcome here, Gav81. I can sympathize with your frustration and feelings of rejection. What you have experienced is not a knock on you, though, it's simply that we are all sinners saved only by God's grace and we all 'miss the mark,' usually by a country mile. So those people you've encountered are not doing things to spite you, they're just muddling along and often failing like any of us do. Their mistakes are no reflection on you and they're not consciously turning you away; they're just too wrapped up in their own problems. Being a Christian does not mean that God hits us with a lightning bolt and suddenly we're perfect people. That priest certainly should have followed up, but please don't let his failure and shortcomings change your faith in God. People will let you down, but God will never let you down. Even when we are not faithful, God remains faithful to us (2 Tim. 2:13).

    I think that priest may have had experiences that led him to think you would struggle too much with the KJV, but it is an excellent Bible and I recommend it. If you were having difficulty with some words, a MEV (Modern English Version) Bible would be my second choice because it is most faithful to the KJV while it changes the archaic words to their more currently used forms.

    I hope you will give that priest a second chance (and maybe a third and fourth chance if necessary), but also you might check around to see what other churches you have nearby and consider having a chat with one or two of the pastors/priests/vicars/rectors. Sometimes it's more important for a new or 'young in faith' believer to find the right shepherd with whom you can relate, and who will help you grow in your faith and your knowledge of God's word (maybe even one who uses the KJV!), than it is to have one with impeccable theology or great credentials. (I'd always rather have one who is excited about his faith than one who is going through the motions... there are some of the latter.)

    As you and your girlfriend grow in knowledge of God's word, I suspect that you both may come to a desire to formalize your commitment to each other in matrimony. The marriage covenant vows are a type and shadow of the unbreakable covenant vow God has made to us through Christ and of the close, intimate relationship we will enjoy with Him for eternity. May the Holy Spirit lead you into all truth. If you like to read, a good book on the subject is "The Miracle of the Scarlet Thread," by Richard Booker.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
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  6. Gav81

    Gav81 New Member

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    Thanks and I'd not heard of them before, having a quick look I don't have any Free Church of England close to me unfortunately. I appreciate the info as wasn't aware of these.
     
  7. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Active Member

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    Sorry for your struggles. I have prayed for you. If you find a church with a man priest remember that even if he is crazy or teaches false things it does not invalidate his orders so you still have redress to the sacrements.
     
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  8. Gav81

    Gav81 New Member

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    Many thanks, plenty of food for thought