I was born in Nottingham and brought up in Leicester. I did a variety of jobs before meeting Janey in 1979 at Her Majesty’s Inspector of Taxes, where we shared a bag of crab claws whilst on an overtime shift! I began attending a church in the middle of Leicester’s Indian-Muslim area. This made life interesting as the Pastor at the time had a good understanding of Jewish roots and the importance of Israel and often preached on the subject.
Janey and I married in 1981 and have three children. After being made redundant from British Gas, I felt led into pastoral ministry, and it was whilst still doing my theological studies, I was asked to take on the pastorate of the church we were attending.
We made our first visit to Israel in 1996 where we had our first taste of Christ Church in Jerusalem. In the two subsequent years we visited again; this time organising, leading and guiding groups. In 2000 I became Midlands Representative for CMJ, speaking in churches, at prayer meetings, and Bible-study groups; I also helped a small messianic group in Leicester to start – which is now a full-blown congregation.
Together Janey and I began the CMJ Youth ministry, which we called Life From The Dead. Through music, food and teaching we were able to link young people in UK churches with their peers in Israel. Sadly the field team was disbanded during one of CMJ’s financial crises and I became Deputy Director of Prayer for Israel in 2003, but in 2004 a skiing accident curtailed my travelling and speaking opportunities. Soon after, we received an invitation to manage the Christ Church Guest House in Jerusalem, so in June 2005 we left our son Dan in charge of our Leicester “nest”, and with our daughters Rachel and Leah, relocated to Jerusalem’s Old City. We had a wonderful, roller coaster five years in Israel; returning in 2010 and taking up our current positions with CMJ UK. Our aim is to find creative ways to present the Jewish Jesus to the Jewish people, and to teach the church about her Jewish roots.
I have a fairly ‘colourful’ background and won’t go into detail but this period ended on the best night of my life, Friday 13th April 1979 when I finally surrendered to God calling me into relationship with Him. I’d started smoking when I was seven years old and by this time was on 40 + a day! But that night God miraculously took away the addiction completely. This had a major effect on me and almost overnight I became one of those ‘in your face’ new believers who tries to save everyone from hell! I regularly went out with the pastor of my new church to preach and testify in the town centre. A number of my colleagues at the Inland Revenue where I worked came to faith in Jesus including my boss and his wife who later went on to be missionaries in the Arab Emirates.
From my youngest age I remember always being told that Jewish people were special to God and that we should respect them, so I did, but never really understood why. I later discovered that my aunt spent most of her life living and working with Messianic Jews in Leicestershire. I recently found an old biscuit tin in my mum’s attic with records of my aunt’s financial giving to CMJ and Messianic Testimony! She had prayed ardently for her family to be ‘saved’ and we were praise God!
I first met Paul when he came to work in my office and I was asked to oversee him during his first weeks. As we began getting closer I told Paul that if he wanted to see me it would have to be in church… the rest, as they say, is history! Despite being told by professionals that neither of us could have children Paul and I clung to the promises we believed God had made to us that we’d be parents. After four years Daniel was born followed by Rachel and then Leah. “He makes the barren woman to keep house and be a joyful mother of children.” Psalm 113 v 9. And “Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.“ Psalm 128 v 3.
I’ve had a variety of jobs including, petrol pump attendant (you don’t get that service anymore!) supermarket work which I loved, managing a hostel for homeless mothers and babies, managing a drop-in centre for street people, a busy pastor’s wife, church youth group leader and lots of other stuff in between!
In 2005 ‘coincidentally’ both Paul and I were made redundant in the same week and realized that God had something special for us to do. That special something was to follow a call to Jerusalem and manage the guest house and compound at Christ Church. We completed five years working alongside wonderful Jewish, Arab and international brothers and sisters. We saw many people choose to follow Jesus during that time. Now the adventure continues in the UK! We have fantastic colleagues and there’s a real sense of the ‘CMJ family’ that’s part of our strap line. Paul and I love working together in this ministry - he’s the clever one and I’m practical so it works well!