growing closer to God

working together, serving our community in Christ's name

Faith Journeys

Below you can read about the Faith Journeys people in our church have taken through their lives:

Ruth (our former Minister)

Ruth (our former Minister)

My faith story so far ....or.... God, do you ever stop nudging me !!!
As a young child, my earliest recollection of 'faith', is when I attended the Salvation Army in Blackpool. My father played Tenor Horn and Trombone in the Army band, my Nana and Papa, Aunts and Uncles and my cousins would all sit in the congregation. I can remember the enthusiastic singing, singing that emotionally moved me, the harmonies and the tambourines. Worship was certainly an occasion!! All my family and the majority of the congregation were in the distinctive uniform ....and was fascinated by the bonnets!( if I was good my Nana would let me try it on in the afternoon).
As a teenager, worshipping at the Army stopped as my parents separated and subsequently obtained a divorce. I missed it terribly, as my cousins still attended, however nurturing my faith continued in a new direction when I attended an all-girls Church of England School. I think it would not be too strong a word to say I detested it !! I felt an outsider, especially as everyone in my class was being confirmed and I couldn't as I had not even got baptized ( the Salvation Army do not believe in the sacraments of baptism and communion ),so I felt excluded. However I did join the choir, and as we had a daily assembly, the ritual of worshipping God through song still continued. I remember we sang a lot of psalms, and I enjoyed being part of the music making whether in the daily assembly or at the large Parish Church adjacent to the school. We had Divinity lessons from Rev Haigh, a larger than life man who always wore a black flowing academic gown! I had questions... lots of them.....but was too shy to ask. So when I was 16yr, and with one 'O' level, I said goodbye to my Anglican encounter, and the 'strict' God than I had met at Elmslie Girls School.

I started my SRN Nurse training at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, and I felt that God was not really present in my life. I was busy doing shift work, and going out, however I met my first husband, who was a practising Catholic!
I was married in a Roman Catholic Church with a full Nuptial Mass, and promised that if we had any children they would be brought up Catholic. Katharine and Hannah were born, and when my husband and I separated, I fulfilled the promise I made years earlier and took them to Mass. Every week I attended Mass, the girls went to a Roman Catholic School Primary school, and I was immersed in the weekly Catholic music group.. I could even recite the Mass liturgy by heart!! I had a wonderful Priest who I could talk to at this point.. Father Ted !!( yes that was his name ). He would come round to my house, and we would chat. He explained that I would find becoming a Catholic difficult, .. as I asked too many questions and that he felt the Catholic Church would not be able to fulfil my questioning
I had a growing sense that I was not alone , that something was protecting me , and yet I felt frustrated at my situation, a single mum, with two young children, and alone . I became angry, and at one point late one evening, in the front room, I shouted out loud at God and said that I felt alone , and helpless, and that He had to sort things out for me . I had a sense that I was not alone anymore ... a great sense of peace .. that all would be well. My father was a huge support at this time. He said to me that the door is there for me to open, God is on the other side, but the handle is my side. I had to push the door open and allow God enter into my life. I could stand there for a long time, but sooner or later I would turn the handle. This sense that God was with me, led me to be baptised, so on Easter day 1992, with just my children present I had a full emersion Baptism at a Pentecostal church in Lytham.
It was at this point that I decided to find a church that would nurture me, as new Christian. I did not understand what all the theological terminology meant, but I wanted to learn more. I attended Spring Harvest a couple of times, and became involved at St Anne's URC, where after a numbers of months, Rev Nigel Uden became my minister.
During this time I was involved in informal discussion groups, and soon became an Elder, and was more involved in the life of the Church. I was becoming more fulfilled in my role and responsibility within the church, than I was with my nursing and teaching; the spiritual side of me and of others was getting to be more important than ever before.
I was interested in lay preaching; however Nigel approached me about a calling to full time ministry. I laughed, and said no chance !!! But two years later I found myself attending an URC assessment conference, fully convinced that they would confidently say no !!
The rest is history ......
As I look back, I realised that God has been nudging me for a very long time; I still have lots of questions, but for me, I have encountered God in the songs that I sing, whether they are confident, and joyful, or full of sadness and vulnerability, whether they were in the ritual Roman Catholic Mass or the Reformed Tradition, whether it has been through symbols.... or silence.
There have been times when I can just glimpse God, then the moment has gone, and other times when I can stand on Loughrigg Fell in the Lakes and wonder at the creative force all around me. For me it is constantly trying to find the 'thin places', Places where the Physical meet the Spiritual ... whether it is during a conversation or in a gathering... I know God is still nudging me.... wanting me to move forwards all the time.... And my faith is still developing !
Ruth Dillon xx

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