Benefice of Holy Innocents, Great Barton and St Peter's, Thurston

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My Journey By Kathy Drakes

6 January 2019

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New Year 2019. 

Yet again time for New Year’s resolutions, a fresh start. But for me this year is going to be very different.

My Christian journey started as a child. I was baptised as a baby and brought up in a Christian home, being confirmed when I was a young teenager. I remember those years as being a time to explore my Christian beliefs, attending different churches and listen to a number of evangelical preachers. I decided at one stage that I would like to be a missionary in India.

But life moved on, I left home to work in London, met Chris and before long was married. Then Sarah came along, followed by Tim and Peter. I attended the local church and joined the Mothers’ Union. I remember at that time wanting to go to Moorlands Bible College but in those days there was no such thing as part-time or correspondence courses for full-time mums, so that was just a dream. (Ironically, some forty years later Sarah went to Moorlands to study! She knew nothing of my own thoughts of going.)

Once the children were older and I was back working, I started to help with a Christian youth group. I loved working with these young people, encouraging them to develop their faith. From there I had the opportunity to explore my own vocation. I was accepted to train as a lay reader in Southwark Diocese. I thoroughly enjoyed the training, exploring and developing my faith further. Unfortunately, for various reasons, I was unable to follow this vocation in my parish church. After much soul searching I decided not to be licensed and we walked away from the church.

But God does not let his children walk away that easily, as I am finding out. I had a number of years to reflect but the longing to serve was always there.

In 2017 Chris and I decided it was time to move out of London and to enjoy our retirement in a more relaxing environment. We sold our house and had no real idea of where we wanted to move to, apart from the fact that it should be north of the Thames crossing! But it was clear that God knew where he was sending us. After one visit we fell in love with this part of Suffolk. We viewed several properties, but once we saw the bungalow we now have, we knew this was right. I have never known a move go so smoothly or quickly. By July we were living in Great Barton.

As soon as we walked into Holy Innocents’ one sunny summer afternoon we felt God’s presence, and that this would be where we would be able to pick up on our Christian journey. And you have all made us so very welcome and truly a part of your Christian family, we really feel that we belong.

But God hadn’t finished with me. He had let me have my ‘time in the desert’ and He was now bringing me back into his fold. And it soon became very clear to me that He now wanted me to continue what He had started with me over 20 years ago. I spoke to Manette and prayed about this, and finally resolved to explore my lay reader vocation again. I am in a very different place this time around and am excited about what the future may hold. I know that God is with me on my journey and will support me even if I have moments of doubting.

So this New Year is most definitely a new start for me. A new journey and very much a step into the dark not knowing where this will end, but trusting that God will be leading me.

I pray that your New Year will be equally fulfilling and that God will bless you all as we venture forth together into 2019.

Kathy Drakes