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NEW LIFE JULY 2009

Issue 185

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GOOD NEWS STORIES

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RALLY TO HELP FAMILIES ON BREADLINE: P2  COUPLES OFFERED FREE WEDDING: P3

I TURNED BACK ON A LIFE OF TERROR Ex-member of UVF took part in bank raids and bombings A FORMER terrorist who escaped being shot dead by the IRA and almost blew himself up is now preaching love instead of hate. Dav id Ham ilton, 56, was a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) during the height of The Troubles in Ireland. He was involved in bombings

EXCLUSIVE by Becky Barlow and bank robberies until he was jailed for 11 years. But his life of inflicting terror came to an end one day when he read a Bible in his cell. David said: “I just thought these guys who had become a Christian were using it to get out of jail.” Life change... David Hamilton, who is ● Full story — Centre Pages now a pastor. Above, an old UVF tattoo

Moved... Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles

CHURCH SERVICE MOVES MOYLES QU ICK-tempered Rad io One DJ Chris Moyles has been blown away by church services he never knew existed. Yorkshire-born Moyles admitted that watching an “evangelistic” service on TV as he lay in bed had a profound effect on him. The 35-year-old spoke for almost six minutes on his Radio 1 breakfast show about how he felt while watching a service broadcast from K ingsGate Com mun it y Church, Peterborough, on BBC1 on Pentecost Sunday. Moyles, the self-styled saviour of Radio 1, said: “I woke up, turned on TV and watched this Pentecostal

service. It was so happy, so incredibly uplifting. There were people being baptised and it was like those American gospel services... but this was England! “It was one of the most fantastic things I’ve seen in years. Everybody was singing about Jesus, holding their hands in the air and whooping in celebration. I can honestly say I have never seen anything like it. Everybody knew the words and were having an amazing time. “They were singing about how in Jesus you can move mountains. Amazing. I was lying in bed watching this... I was left thinking, come on let’s all go and get baptised.”


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Issue 185

Appeal on gun crime

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One of the members of a Foodbank scheme with a client

A conference will challenge the Christian community to combat gang crime this month. The Bite the Bullet Conference on July 4 will feature a talk by leading criminologist and youth crime expert Professor John Pitts, who has produced several reports about gangs within the UK. The event is being backed by the Street Pastors organisation.

intimidated Founder Les Isaacs said: “The problem of gangs is a subject the Christian community cannot ignore any more. “Street Pastors is having to deal with concerned parents whose children are either in gangs or intimidated by gang members. “Church leaders are having to devise new ways to reach out and disciple the gang members joining their churches.”



Damilola’s dad in talk The father of murdered Damilola Taylor spoke at a family-based event in London last month. Devout Christian Richard Taylor, founder of the Damilola Taylor Trust, shared his views on the major challenges facing the 21st century family, and the solutions that the church should offer. Organiser Lurliene Miller, founder of 4Women2Women, said: “I believe that God has a specific purpose for the family, and it is our responsibility as a Christian community to help society strive for that purpose, even if it is not always realised.”

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RECESSION-hit families who are struggling on the breadline are being given help to find food.

Churches across the country are stepping up to the challenge of feeding people who have been hit by financial woes. The churches are using a Foodbank model, which was set up by Christian charity The Trussell Trust. In the past year the charity’s network of church-led projects has fed 24,000 people – 71 per cent up on the previous year. It has also seen a 100 per cent increase in enquiries from churches wishing to set up new Foodbanks in their towns, and a 60 per cent increase in the number of new Foodbanks launched in 2008/09 compared to 2007/08. Adrian Curits, who runs a Foodbank in Ebbw Vale, said: “Currently, at least 50 per cent of our Foodbank clients are coming to us as a result of recession related problems. “Times are tough for many and it’s so important that we, as Christians, are there

to help. Our Foodbank means we are meeting people at their point of crisis, and are able to share with them unconditional love as well as practical help through emergency food.” One of Adrian’s clients said: “It’s as simple as this. Without this food parcel my children wouldn’t have any tea tonight.” Foodbanks work with local care professionals to provide three days of emergency food relief to people experiencing crisis.

CRISIS Through the Foodbank network, The Trussell Trust empowers churches to engage with their local community and work together with schools, businesses and individuals to feed people in crisis. Foodbank network manager Jeremy Ravn said: “Recession means more people who would never have thought they’d need help are hitting a crisis forcing them to go without food. “Churches are becoming increasingly aware of hidden hunger in the UK and, through the foodbank project, are working with communities to meet this growing need.”

Addicts to get help A CONGREGATION is launching help for drug and alcohol addicts. Members from the Elim Church on Ryburn Street, Sowerby Bridge, want to tackle problems caused by drinking and drugs in the town. Inspired by Christian outreach charity Teen Challenge UK, they have already helped three people get into rehabilitation. Duncan Curry, minister at the church, said ideas so far include taking the church minibus out to known drug hotspots. “When you see a life changed it’s so startling,” he said. “We want to tell people this is not how it has to be for them.”

NEW LIFE COPS could get special rooms at their nicks where they can pray. Their chiefs want officers to have a place to worship or enjoy a quiet moment. A “c ontemplation” room opened at Cambridgeshire police HQ in Huntingdon two years ago has been a success and may be copied at other stations. A f o r c e s p o ke s m a n s a i d: “Staff are trusted to use the room sensibly.”

NEWSFLASH


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Issue 185

Model tells CHURCH HELPS COUPLE HIT BY ECONOMIC SLUMP of her faith after storm A con t rov e r sI A l mode l h a s spoken at a large American church about her faith in Jesus. Miss california carrie Prejean said she believed marriages “should be between a man and a woman” after being asked her view on marriage by celebrity judge Perez Hilton during the Miss UsA beauty pageant. Her views angered those supporting gay marriage, but devout christian carrie maintains her views. And she wasn’t afraid to reveal them when speaking at her home chu rch i n sa n Diego, the rock church, recently. the 21-year-old said: “I don’t take back what I said. no way. I wasn’t not going to stand up for what I believe in. this is how I was brought up to believe. We have to be strong and true to our faith and our beliefs.” Asked by Pastor Miles McPherson what she would say to Hilton if he were there right now, she answered: “I’d tell him he needs Jesus.” McPherson added: “You have to stand up for what you believe.”

With this ring i free Wed

Mum-of-six trusted God tHe mother of sextuplets has revealed how she ignored medical advice to abort several of the foetuses — and put her faith in God. Doctors made the suggestion to 26-year-old nuala conway, 26, at 14 weeks after warning her about the high risks of multiple pregnancy. But she and husband Austin, also 26, refused to consider the move. nua la, of Du na more, cou nt y tyrone, said: Whatever God laid out we were taking it. Babies Ursula, Austin, shannon, Karla, eoghan and Kerries were born in a successful caesarean section at Belfast’s royal victoria Hospital last month.

neW lIFe

David and Barbara Taylor with one of the free dresses available to brides-to-be. Inset, Alan and Donna Davison tie the knot

PrInce charles has revealed how he prays for a solution to climate change. He be l ieves we h ave 100 months to save the world from global warming. He said: “Do we have to run into a brick wall to discover all the warnings were true. I hope and pray with all my heart.”

neWsFlAsH

Marchers set to visit No.10 letters will be delivered to no.10 Downing street and to the Queen as part of a christian march, taking place this month in london. the March of repentance, on saturday July 18, is a prayer walk through london, starting at Hyde Park, going past Parliament and finishing at trafalgar square.

SOLEMN It will be a solemn march without banners and is aimed at showing that christians are sorry for staying quiet about their faith when major legislation has been drawn up. letters will also be handed to major christian and political leaders .

CASH-StrApped couples who are desperate to marry have been given a life ‘altaring’ offer! A church is laying on free weddings to those who have been hit by the credit crunch, but still want to tie the knot. All couples have to do is attend the church’s pre-marital course and they can then take advantage of a free wedding. the idea came from Barbara taylor whose husband, David, is pastor of st Hild and st Helen’s christian Fellowship in the village of Dawdon, county Durham. she said: “We wanted to give something back to the community. “We knew of quite a few people that had wanted to get married and hadn’t been able to because of the cost.” As well as waiving the normal fees for using the church and organist, the church can provide free wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses,

suits for the groom and other items needed for the big day. Mr taylor said: “the only thing to pay for is the registry fee of £50. that’s a fee charged by local authorities for administration so we can’t do anything about that, but everything else is free. “We are collecting many items and increasing our range of dresses as more are donated.” He added that after the church was featured on a radio news bulletin, a leicestershire-based hire firm had donated 10 men’s morning suits and other offers had been made. the pre-marital course, which couples must attend to take advantage of the offer, looks at the importance of marriage vows and what to expect from life as a couple. the first couple to walk down the aisle as part of the free offer were Alan and Donna Davison. they say it saved them an estimated £2,000, including the £400-plus charge for the church.

Alan was made redundant from his job as a dry liner with a building company last year and has struggled to find work during the recession. Donna, who left her job as an administrator to become a full-time mum, wore a dress borrowed from the church. they also saved cash by making their own bouquets with the help of instruction videos, with the pieces then donated to the church. the couple also saved money by shopping on the Internet for their honeymoon. Donna, 29, who met Alan, 33, when he was working on the door of Dawdon Miners’ Welfare social club, said: “Alan lost his job, so we thought we would have to put it off for another few years or find another church. “It’s absolutely fantastic what they’re doing. there are so many people out there who won’t be getting married because it’s so expensive.” ● If you have wedding items to donate to the church, please, contact New Life on 0115 824 0777 and we’ll pass on your details.

DONORS BUST RECESSION CRUNCH CHANGES VALUES tHe recession has not dampened the giving levels of christians who donate cash, a report says. Figures released by financial support charity stewardship for the last six months reveal that giving has increased by three per cent on the same period last year. the organisation says more

than £24million has been given to charities, churches and mission work since october 2008. chief executive David Jones said: “our clients tend to have a planned approach to their giving. As such, they are less likely to see giving as a discretionary expenditure and cut back in difficult times.”

tHree out of every four adults are rethinking their core values and big issues such as “the meaning of life” during the credit crunch, research claims. out of 2,500 adults interviewed by christian research, 70 per cent admitted they were reconsidering life because of the credit crunch, or worries about personal fi-

nances and job security. “th is is a sig n t hat when t h i ngs a re c r u mbl i ng dow n , people are looking for love and to be loved,” said Benita Hewitt, of christian research. Fourteen per cent of those searching said they had tried prayer, with 12 per cent saying they had found it worthwhile.

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Issue 185

WORLD NEWS ROUND-UP

Leaders in globe walk

100M JOIN WORLD DAY OF PRAYER More than 100 million Christians worldwide united to celebrate the Global Day of Prayer. Stadiums, fields, churches and auditoriums were packed to the rafters as Christians dedicated a day to prayer. Leading Christian TV station, GoD TV, said it was inundated with e-mails from more than 100 different countries as viewers responded to the live coverage. Julie, from West Bromwich, said: “I am thrilled to join in with the millions of God’s people to petition the Lord for a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit across the globe.” Fayyaz, from Pakistan, added: “We are joining you from the city of Lahore. GoD TV is an unspeakable blessing as we pray for our land to be set free.” Diane, tuning in from China, said: “Your prayers touched me deep in the heart and I feel comforted by the promises of God.” GoD TV Ceo rory Alec said it was a huge privilege to host the Global Day of Prayer. He added: “What an extraordinary hour to be alive, with over 100 million people who love Jesus coming together from around the world to pray .”

JAPAN – About 3,000 ministry leaders from more than 100 countries walked across one of the world’s biggest ever maps, praying God would move throughout the world. The Call2A ll Congress event, held in Hong Kong last month, saw the leaders vow that they would go wherever God would send them. President Mark Anderson said there is a growing sense among Christian leaders that God is calling the Chinese church to take a new place in world missions. He added: “I believe we are going to see the destiny of the Chinese church moving into a new phase. Great numbers of Chinese missionaries will help lead the way in the next phase of world missions.”

Boffins get green gifts

USA – More than 50 free copies of the Green Bible were sent to leading professors in the USA. The gifts, sent to mark earth Day, were sent by the Council of Churches eco-Justice Programme and the Bible’s publisher Harperone. organiser Jordan Blevins said: “earth Day is a unique opportunity for our churches and communities to celebrate the values of God’s creation. “By getting The Green Bible into the hands of seminary faculty and staff, we can see that these values continue to be focal points of our churches’ ministry.”

Aussie PM’s rule on faith AUSTrALIA – Australian Prime Minister Kevin rudd has boldly told his nation that if they are offended by God they should leave. The PM said: “‘Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact; because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. “It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.”

Cancer plea

WorLD – Christians in the USA, Mexico, Brazil, the Philippines and South Korea held services to mark the Worldwide Cancer Prayer Day. Daniel Kennedy, the organizer and co-founder of Worldwide Cancer Prayer Day, said: “The ministers will pray for healing for people who have cancer, prevention for people who do not have cancer, and comfort for people who have lost someone.”

Hundreds join the Global Day of Prayer event in Ipswich

MAN WHO RESCUES INDIA’S SEX SLAVES A former opera singer is using his voice to help rescue child prostitutes in Third World nations.

Brave Ben Cooley, right, frequently visits brothels in India, where he poses as a paedophile, offers to rent teenage girls for sex and attaches a secret video camera to his shirt. The 26-year-old then gains enough evidence to prosecute the pimps. Ben, who runs Manchester-based charity Hope for Justice, is far from the typical church missionary – but so far he has seen great success. He admits to being “scared stiff” every time he goes into a brothel. Ben said: “I’m absolutely terrified every time I go in these places. Nobody really wants to spend time in a grotty Indian brothel. “But I felt God say to me, ‘have I given you a spirit of fear or a spirit of power?’ That’s the choice I have, and I have to believe that God is with me.

FEAR “To be honest, my biggest fear is that I would slip up, because at the end of the day I’m just a normal man with normal feelings. “But I put many safeguards in place, and have undercover guys in the brothel while I’m there. I know I’m not strong enough to do this without God and without a great team.” And so Ben believes that through prayer, mobilisation of the church and lots of hard work, the alarming statistics detailing the size of trafficking can begin to change. It is believed that there are 27 million slaves worldwide, with 1.2 million children being trafficked each

Prostitutes given hope from leader of charity

year. In the UK alone, more than 4,000 girls are trafficked to major cities from eastern europe and sold into prostitution. Payment for full sex in India can cost as little as 10p, while in London, it can now be bought for £15. It’s estimated a huge $40billion is spent each year in the trafficking industry. But despite the frightening figures, Ben is confident the whole slave trade can come crashing down. He added: “I believe God can change these statistics around. I believe God is greater than any giant and that his heart grieves when he sees these figures. “We’ve seen girls in India who have been raped up to 90 times in one day and I think, surely in God’s name that should stop? Psalm 72 says that ‘He will deliver the needy, the oppressed and those trapped in violence’. The word ‘he’ becomes ‘we’, because Christ is in us.” ● To find out more about Ben’s ministry, visit the charity’s website www.hopeforjustice.org.uk.

Lego Jesus Church helps excluded students gain skills SWeDeN – A church celebrated 18 months of hard work by unveiling a 6ft Jesus made of 30,000 Lego bricks. Forty people had worked on the project in Vasteras, Sweden.

A CHUrCH is demonstrating Christian kindness by helping excluded school students gain key skills and jobs. The Bridge Church, Maybank

Centre, South Woodford, Ilford, offers a range of skills workshops as well as volunteering and work experience opportunities. It opened five years ago and

relies on funding from redbridge Council or lottery grants. Chris Kapnisis, community development officer, said: “We want to promote positive activities.”

Optimism of Middle East peace future THe World Council of Churches ( WCC) has sa id it senses a “change is in the air” for peace in the Middle east. The WCC said in a statement earlier that encouraging “new voices are advocating steps towards peace that churches have been promoting for years”. Believing that the 60-yearold Palestinian-Israeli conflict is on the verge of seeing a new light, A rchbishop Desmond Tutu said: “There is really no situation that is intractable – none.” The Nobel peace laureate compa red the Pa lest i ne Israel conflict to the seemingly deadlocked situation in South Africa before the downfall of apartheid. “each [situation] is capable of being resolved, even this one that seemed so utterly intractable,” he added. The WCC state me nt was made last month as the Peace Week in Israel came to a close. It coincided with US President Barack obama’s visit to the Middle east.


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Issue 185

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Thousands RAPE VICTIM WANTS TO HELP OTHERS expected at youth event MOrE than 3,000 young people are expected to attend a Christian youth event. Organisers hope that Audacious 09, from August 3–8, will result in hundreds of youngsters converting to Christianity. Packed with fun, worship, hardhitting preaching and the opportunity to take the Christian message on to the streets, this year’s event will be held at Manchester Central – formerly GMEX.

communities A spokesman for the organisers said: “There are 3.1 million people in Manchester we so need God here. “If something like this can contribute to a move of God then great, but it’s not just for Manchester, Audacious is about serving and servicing people in local communities all throughout the uK.”

Tourist faith information TOurISTS to London will be told about the Christian faith at an exciting initiative later this month. The Tell-A-Tourist mission team will reach the Capital’s hotspots such as Oxford Circus, Covent Garden, Hyde Park and Piccadilly Circus. The evangelists will use sketchboards to preach the Christian message, as well as distributing leaflets in many different languages. The venture, led jointly by London City Mission (LCM) and OAC Ministries (Open Air Campaigners), is from July 27–August 1.

Bright idea for notices THE world’s first solar-powered church notice board has been launched. It features a discreet, stained grass strip providing a sustainable source of free power. Simon Johnson, managing director of the Church Noticeboard Co, said: “No longer are churches going to be faced with thousands of pounds of electrical costs to get power to their notice boards.” Meanwhile, a Baptist church in Heaton, Newcastle-upton-Tyne, has installed solar panels on its roof – to warm the water for baptisms.

Tweet appeal A CHurCH leader is using Twitter to get his flock to pray. Sean Brady has made an appeal via text message, Twitter and e-mail. He wants young people in particular to send friends and family an occasional message to say they have been prayed for. He hopes the new technologies will help people stay together during tough economic times.

LITTLE’S LARGE HOPE COMEDIAN Syd Little is hoping people find faith when he tours the uK with a gospel show. Little is appearing at Bournemouth Pier this month.

Losing my self-harm scar was a miracle

MIRACLE... Amy Burton whose scar disappeared during worship

by Matthew Murray

A rApe victim who used to cut herself has told how a ten-year-old scar disappeared as she worshipped at a Christian conference. Amy Burton had repeatedly written the word ‘worthless’ on the top of her leg with a razor blade as a teenager following the horrific attack. She also developed an eating disorder, struggled to make friends and suffered from depression. But years of lies and torment were taken away, when Amy, 26, attended a Christian conference earlier this year. She said: “I have hundreds of scars from when I used to self-harm but they don’t bother me. But this one particular scar saying the word ‘worthless’ did bother me. “At the conference, Brian Houston [conference leader] was speaking about what is stamped on our lives. As he did I was reminded of the ‘worthless’ scar on my leg. “On the last night there was a worship session and I struggle to put into words what it felt like, but God was there. ‘I suddenly felt a burning pain right where the scar was, but didn’t think anything of it. Then, someone came up to me and said they felt the scar had gone, so I ran to the toilet and checked it and sure enough, it had gone! It was replaced by perfect skin. “When I realised it had gone it blew my mind. I thought I was free from what happened to me when I was younger but since the scar has gone it’s been like I’ve gone to a whole new level of freedom.” Amy began to develop a stronger relationship with God over the last few years, but had still remained discouraged about the scar. She added: “I used to self-harm for eight years and over the years had gone over the word ‘worthless’ several times with a razor. I never felt good enough when I was growing up and my whole life seemed to be either controlled by this eating disorder or the self-harming. “I first asked Jesus into my life when I was 11 but never did anything about it.” Amy, originally from Stoke-on-Trent, says she hopes she can use her experience to help others. Amy’s pastor Glyn Barrett, of Audacious City Church, said, “It’s remarkable. It is an incredible testimony of the healing power of God and we rejoice with Amy at what has happened.”

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Issue 185

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NEW LIFE HOW MAN WENT FROM PREACHING HATRED TO PREACHING LOVE www.newlife.co.uk

WORKING TOGeTheR TO BRING you The GOOd NeWS

tune in In 2009, New Life will be working with Christian

media organisation United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) to spread the Word. UCB broadcast to virtually all major UK cities on dAB digital radio and you can also listen via digital satellite and online. UCB radio is perfect for anyone who has an interest in news, features, music and interviews from a faith perspective.

explore ChristiAnity We’re also working with Alpha, the course that allows people to explore the Christian faith in a relaxed setting over ten thoughtprovoking weekly sessions. The courses are free and are usually run in the evening, and include a meal or refreshments. To find a course near you, see www.alpha.org

Find A ChurCh We’re also working with Find a Church, who run a brilliant website listing the details of more than 42,000 UK Christian churches. Simply tap in your postcode for help to find a great church in your area.

the BiBle MAtters The Gideons are well known for their work distributing Bibles to schools, hospitals, hotels etc. If you want Jesus to make himself real in your life, and don’t have a Bible, The Gideons will be happy to provide you with a Testament completely free of charge.

The ABC of how you can become a Christian...

A Admit that you have done wrong that Jesus died so that you can B Believe be forgiven, and ask God to forgive you The Bible says, ‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23).

C

‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16); ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us’ (1 John 1:9).

Commit yourself to living God’s way Jesus said, ‘Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ (John 8:12). Log on to www.lookingforgod.com for more help.

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by Becky Barlow

W

HEN David Hamilton heard about the recent shootings in Northern Ireland his stomach started to churn as the past came flooding back. At the height of The Troubles the 56-yearold was at the centre of a terrorist organisation that nearly cost him his life. But David was brought out of the cycle of violence when he was least expecting it – because God found him. And now the former Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) fighter is a pastor whose life has turned around. The dad-of-five grew up on the streets of Belfast and it wasn’t long before he realised that the tension between Protestants and Catholics. He said: “I remember getting involved in street fights coming home from school; getting beat up by Roman Catholic gangs for no other reason than I was Protestant. I realised quite young that there was a difference between us and so I didn’t trust anyone who I thought was a Roman Catholic. I believed all Roman Catholics were involved in the IRA.” A young, disillusioned David found his identity in being a Protestant and joined street gangs that fuelled his hate for Roman Catholics. “Being a Protestant for me was being part of Ulster and was nothing to do with religion. I got involved in a street gang called Rathcoole KAI (which stood for Kill All Irish),” remembered David. “Where I came from there was nothing worth living for so people gave themselves to the cause. There wasn’t a lot of work about. The devil makes work for idle hands and that’s what happened for a lot of us.” As The Troubles escalated so did David’s frustration with the situation. He said: “In the early 70s I was involved with bombing Roman Catholics out of their homes. I was frustrated. I thought that the security forces weren’t fighting back against the IRA. I wanted to fight back and so I joined the Ulster Volunteer Force.” The UVF was a paramilitary organisation much different from a street gang, and David’s terrorist training began. After a brief stint in jail in the early 70s David’s girlfriend became pregnant and the pair married. But David was still heavily involved with the UVF carrying out bank robberies and bombings in the name of Ulster. In 1978 David was arrested again. He said: “I was given an extended sentence of 11 years. I was charged with several robberies and a bombing. I got more than the others because I had been in prison before and the judge saw me as a leader.” David’s mum attended the trial and was heartbroken to see her son sent to prison. But she was to make a phone call that would change his life forever. “I found out afterwards that my mother had visited my uncle to give him the news, and his mother-in-law lived with them,” said David. “My mother was crying, saying there was no hope for me, but this old lady who was 83-years-old challenged her and said that there was hope because she was going to pray for me. And she did every day for the next 14 months.” This little old lady was to have a profound effect on David’s life. David was moved to the notorious H-blocks in the Maze prison outside Lisburn. He wasn’t interested in God and as far as he was concerned God wasn’t interested in him. “There wasn’t even a church service. No one was interested in God,” said David. “There was one man who I knew in the whole prison out of a population of 1,500 men who confessed to be a Christian. I just thought he was crazy and he’d been in jail too long. “Then I was moved up to Belfast prison and I started to go to church on a Sunday just to get

I went into prison as a terrorist and came out as an evangelist talking to other men who had just come into the prison. “I’d never had any interest in God. I thought these guys who had become a Christian were using it to get out of jail. I thought it was all a con. “I had no interest in Christianity. I’d never thought about it because I’d seen it and thought it must be the most boring life ever. You’re not allowed to smoke or drink or chase women or do robberies, and to me it seemed like no life at all.” But God was about to start knocking on the door of David’s life. “It was January 28, 1980. I walked into my cell and I was drinking my cup of tea and there was a gospel tract on my bed and I lifted it up, screwed it up and threw it out of the window,” recalled David.

STRANGE “I sat down on my bed and it was as suddenly as that this thought came into my head, ‘become a Christian,’ and I laughed at myself and thought, ‘I don’t want to become a Christian.’ “But at least six times in the next hour, I couldn’t get this thought out of my head. I remember thinking to myself, ‘This is strange – I don’t want to become a Christian.’ Then I got up and looked at the Bible on the shelf. Every cell in prison has a Bible. “I liked the Bible because when you’ve no ciga-

rette papers you can smoke the pages of the Bible. I often tell people I smoked Matthew, Mark, Luke and John before I got converted. “But I remember that night I lifted the Bible down off the shelf and three times I opened it and tried to read it, and three times I put it back on the shelf. I know now that I was searching but that night I didn’t know what for.”

O

ver the next few hours God started to reveal himself to David. “As I sat there on the bed, God showed me something I’d never known before,” remembered David. “Before I was a Christian, I’d believed God existed but that God’s not interested in me. I was too bad. I believed that God wasn’t interested in evil people. I thought it was only good people that God likes.” David began to look back over his life. He said: “For the best part of ten years I’d been in prison. I thought there must be more to life than drinking and all the violence.” That night, for the first time ever, David realised he wanted to find peace in his life. Then God showed David he was interested in him and had been for a long time. He said: “I began to look at my life and realised that God had spared my life on numerous occasions. “Three times I’d been shot and twice I’d been

David Hamilton, above, who was a terrorist in the Ulster Volunteer Force, left. Inset, a tattoo which shows which paramilitary group David once belonged to

blown up - one was my own bomb explosion. The bomb had thrown me through a window and I woke up lying on the ground with glass everywhere. I stood up and my t-shirt and jacket were cut to shreds, but there wasn’t a mark on my body. “Another time, the IRA tried to shoot me when I was having a meal with my wife in a Chinese restaurant. Two IRA men came in with guns and I managed to escape through the kitchen and they fired three shots but none hit me. “I realised he must be interested in me or he wouldn’t have kept me alive.” David knew that the path he was following was taking him to hell. He said: “I knew I was a sinner. I thought if God is interested in me then maybe he can change me.

BITTERNESS “When I read in the Bible that it was when we were sinners that Christ died for us, it blew my mind. I always thought that Jesus had died for just the good people.” David went to sleep that night with a new hope in his heart. He woke the following morning still wanting to become a Christian. “I realised I had to make a decision to either accept God or reject him,” said David. “I had No Surrender tattooed on my arm but I knew that if I surrendered here I had to give everything to God.

“And that’s what I did. I got down on my knees at the side of my bed and asked the Lord Jesus Christ to change me; to take away the bitterness and anger so that I knew he was real. “That day, although I was in a prison cell, I became a free man because of Jesus Christ.” But life wasn’t easy for the new Christian. David said: “That first year was the hardest year of my life.” Just a day after his conversion a prison officer came and punched David for no other reason than to see how he’d react. Another officer made him stand naked in the prison hall for two weeks to see if he’d crack.

B

ut David’s biggest test came when he found out that his wife was living with another man. This man had beaten up David’s four-year-old son in a drunken row and David found himself face to face with him when he was brought into the prison four years later. In a hostile confrontation, David swore to kill him. David said: “After the confrontation, I went back to my cell and usually I’d pray and read my Bible, but I was walking up and down, trying to raise up within me the desire to go out into the yard and kill him. I knew if I started to pray, God was going to ask me to forgive him.” And God did start to speak to David

David remembered: “He said, ‘David, forgive him.’ And I said, ‘I will, after I kill him.’ I was still trying to work up the violence in me to attack him but I was finding it a struggle. And God said again, ‘David, forgive him.’ I said, ‘God, look what he did to my son.’ God answered, ‘Look what they did to my son.’ “And that broke me. I got down on my knees and I said, ‘God if you want me to forgive him, give me the grace to forgive him.’ “And God did give me the grace because I walked down to the exercise yard and I told him that I forgave him for what he’d done to my son. “That’s when I knew I really was a Christian. Where did the hatred and the anger go? God must have taken it away! Where did the grace come from to forgive him? God.” When David’s mum phoned the old lady who had been praying for him to give her the news of his salvation, the old lady already knew. She said God had told her. David was released from prison in Christmas of 1983 after serving half of his sentence. Because of prison overcrowding 50 per cent remission was introduced. David said: “I went into prison as a terrorist and came out as an evangelist. God had put it on to my heart that he wanted me to become a minister. “I had to deal with my past but the word of God helped me through it. I took comfort in Hebrews 9:14 where Paul talks about having his conscience cleansed.”

GRACE After studying Religious Studies A-level in prison, David began prison evangelism. God blessed him with a wife, Sharon and three more children. But life wasn’t safe for David and his family in Northern Ireland. He said: “There were several attempts on my life by the IRA. David felt called to Manchester, and in 1994 he and his family moved to the city where he helped to run a drug rehabilitation centre. Then in 2004 he became pastor of Heaton Chapel Christian Fellowship in Stockport, where he now heads a congregation of 200. David added: “Now I’ve found a new cause, telling people the good news of Jesus because if the grace of God can reach someone like me, who was in the depths of all kinds of evil, then there’s nothing more powerful.” David’s book ‘A Cause Worth Living For’ is available now.

7


6

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Issue 185

Issue 185

NEW LIFE HOW MAN WENT FROM PREACHING HATRED TO PREACHING LOVE www.newlife.co.uk

WORKING TOGeTheR TO BRING you The GOOd NeWS

tune in In 2009, New Life will be working with Christian

media organisation United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) to spread the Word. UCB broadcast to virtually all major UK cities on dAB digital radio and you can also listen via digital satellite and online. UCB radio is perfect for anyone who has an interest in news, features, music and interviews from a faith perspective.

explore ChristiAnity We’re also working with Alpha, the course that allows people to explore the Christian faith in a relaxed setting over ten thoughtprovoking weekly sessions. The courses are free and are usually run in the evening, and include a meal or refreshments. To find a course near you, see www.alpha.org

Find A ChurCh We’re also working with Find a Church, who run a brilliant website listing the details of more than 42,000 UK Christian churches. Simply tap in your postcode for help to find a great church in your area.

the BiBle MAtters The Gideons are well known for their work distributing Bibles to schools, hospitals, hotels etc. If you want Jesus to make himself real in your life, and don’t have a Bible, The Gideons will be happy to provide you with a Testament completely free of charge.

The ABC of how you can become a Christian...

A Admit that you have done wrong that Jesus died so that you can B Believe be forgiven, and ask God to forgive you The Bible says, ‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23).

C

‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16); ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us’ (1 John 1:9).

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by Becky Barlow

W

HEN David Hamilton heard about the recent shootings in Northern Ireland his stomach started to churn as the past came flooding back. At the height of The Troubles the 56-yearold was at the centre of a terrorist organisation that nearly cost him his life. But David was brought out of the cycle of violence when he was least expecting it – because God found him. And now the former Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) fighter is a pastor whose life has turned around. The dad-of-five grew up on the streets of Belfast and it wasn’t long before he realised that the tension between Protestants and Catholics. He said: “I remember getting involved in street fights coming home from school; getting beat up by Roman Catholic gangs for no other reason than I was Protestant. I realised quite young that there was a difference between us and so I didn’t trust anyone who I thought was a Roman Catholic. I believed all Roman Catholics were involved in the IRA.” A young, disillusioned David found his identity in being a Protestant and joined street gangs that fuelled his hate for Roman Catholics. “Being a Protestant for me was being part of Ulster and was nothing to do with religion. I got involved in a street gang called Rathcoole KAI (which stood for Kill All Irish),” remembered David. “Where I came from there was nothing worth living for so people gave themselves to the cause. There wasn’t a lot of work about. The devil makes work for idle hands and that’s what happened for a lot of us.” As The Troubles escalated so did David’s frustration with the situation. He said: “In the early 70s I was involved with bombing Roman Catholics out of their homes. I was frustrated. I thought that the security forces weren’t fighting back against the IRA. I wanted to fight back and so I joined the Ulster Volunteer Force.” The UVF was a paramilitary organisation much different from a street gang, and David’s terrorist training began. After a brief stint in jail in the early 70s David’s girlfriend became pregnant and the pair married. But David was still heavily involved with the UVF carrying out bank robberies and bombings in the name of Ulster. In 1978 David was arrested again. He said: “I was given an extended sentence of 11 years. I was charged with several robberies and a bombing. I got more than the others because I had been in prison before and the judge saw me as a leader.” David’s mum attended the trial and was heartbroken to see her son sent to prison. But she was to make a phone call that would change his life forever. “I found out afterwards that my mother had visited my uncle to give him the news, and his mother-in-law lived with them,” said David. “My mother was crying, saying there was no hope for me, but this old lady who was 83-years-old challenged her and said that there was hope because she was going to pray for me. And she did every day for the next 14 months.” This little old lady was to have a profound effect on David’s life. David was moved to the notorious H-blocks in the Maze prison outside Lisburn. He wasn’t interested in God and as far as he was concerned God wasn’t interested in him. “There wasn’t even a church service. No one was interested in God,” said David. “There was one man who I knew in the whole prison out of a population of 1,500 men who confessed to be a Christian. I just thought he was crazy and he’d been in jail too long. “Then I was moved up to Belfast prison and I started to go to church on a Sunday just to get

I went into prison as a terrorist and came out as an evangelist talking to other men who had just come into the prison. “I’d never had any interest in God. I thought these guys who had become a Christian were using it to get out of jail. I thought it was all a con. “I had no interest in Christianity. I’d never thought about it because I’d seen it and thought it must be the most boring life ever. You’re not allowed to smoke or drink or chase women or do robberies, and to me it seemed like no life at all.” But God was about to start knocking on the door of David’s life. “It was January 28, 1980. I walked into my cell and I was drinking my cup of tea and there was a gospel tract on my bed and I lifted it up, screwed it up and threw it out of the window,” recalled David.

STRANGE “I sat down on my bed and it was as suddenly as that this thought came into my head, ‘become a Christian,’ and I laughed at myself and thought, ‘I don’t want to become a Christian.’ “But at least six times in the next hour, I couldn’t get this thought out of my head. I remember thinking to myself, ‘This is strange – I don’t want to become a Christian.’ Then I got up and looked at the Bible on the shelf. Every cell in prison has a Bible. “I liked the Bible because when you’ve no ciga-

rette papers you can smoke the pages of the Bible. I often tell people I smoked Matthew, Mark, Luke and John before I got converted. “But I remember that night I lifted the Bible down off the shelf and three times I opened it and tried to read it, and three times I put it back on the shelf. I know now that I was searching but that night I didn’t know what for.”

O

ver the next few hours God started to reveal himself to David. “As I sat there on the bed, God showed me something I’d never known before,” remembered David. “Before I was a Christian, I’d believed God existed but that God’s not interested in me. I was too bad. I believed that God wasn’t interested in evil people. I thought it was only good people that God likes.” David began to look back over his life. He said: “For the best part of ten years I’d been in prison. I thought there must be more to life than drinking and all the violence.” That night, for the first time ever, David realised he wanted to find peace in his life. Then God showed David he was interested in him and had been for a long time. He said: “I began to look at my life and realised that God had spared my life on numerous occasions. “Three times I’d been shot and twice I’d been

David Hamilton, above, who was a terrorist in the Ulster Volunteer Force, left. Inset, a tattoo which shows which paramilitary group David once belonged to

blown up - one was my own bomb explosion. The bomb had thrown me through a window and I woke up lying on the ground with glass everywhere. I stood up and my t-shirt and jacket were cut to shreds, but there wasn’t a mark on my body. “Another time, the IRA tried to shoot me when I was having a meal with my wife in a Chinese restaurant. Two IRA men came in with guns and I managed to escape through the kitchen and they fired three shots but none hit me. “I realised he must be interested in me or he wouldn’t have kept me alive.” David knew that the path he was following was taking him to hell. He said: “I knew I was a sinner. I thought if God is interested in me then maybe he can change me.

BITTERNESS “When I read in the Bible that it was when we were sinners that Christ died for us, it blew my mind. I always thought that Jesus had died for just the good people.” David went to sleep that night with a new hope in his heart. He woke the following morning still wanting to become a Christian. “I realised I had to make a decision to either accept God or reject him,” said David. “I had No Surrender tattooed on my arm but I knew that if I surrendered here I had to give everything to God.

“And that’s what I did. I got down on my knees at the side of my bed and asked the Lord Jesus Christ to change me; to take away the bitterness and anger so that I knew he was real. “That day, although I was in a prison cell, I became a free man because of Jesus Christ.” But life wasn’t easy for the new Christian. David said: “That first year was the hardest year of my life.” Just a day after his conversion a prison officer came and punched David for no other reason than to see how he’d react. Another officer made him stand naked in the prison hall for two weeks to see if he’d crack.

B

ut David’s biggest test came when he found out that his wife was living with another man. This man had beaten up David’s four-year-old son in a drunken row and David found himself face to face with him when he was brought into the prison four years later. In a hostile confrontation, David swore to kill him. David said: “After the confrontation, I went back to my cell and usually I’d pray and read my Bible, but I was walking up and down, trying to raise up within me the desire to go out into the yard and kill him. I knew if I started to pray, God was going to ask me to forgive him.” And God did start to speak to David

David remembered: “He said, ‘David, forgive him.’ And I said, ‘I will, after I kill him.’ I was still trying to work up the violence in me to attack him but I was finding it a struggle. And God said again, ‘David, forgive him.’ I said, ‘God, look what he did to my son.’ God answered, ‘Look what they did to my son.’ “And that broke me. I got down on my knees and I said, ‘God if you want me to forgive him, give me the grace to forgive him.’ “And God did give me the grace because I walked down to the exercise yard and I told him that I forgave him for what he’d done to my son. “That’s when I knew I really was a Christian. Where did the hatred and the anger go? God must have taken it away! Where did the grace come from to forgive him? God.” When David’s mum phoned the old lady who had been praying for him to give her the news of his salvation, the old lady already knew. She said God had told her. David was released from prison in Christmas of 1983 after serving half of his sentence. Because of prison overcrowding 50 per cent remission was introduced. David said: “I went into prison as a terrorist and came out as an evangelist. God had put it on to my heart that he wanted me to become a minister. “I had to deal with my past but the word of God helped me through it. I took comfort in Hebrews 9:14 where Paul talks about having his conscience cleansed.”

GRACE After studying Religious Studies A-level in prison, David began prison evangelism. God blessed him with a wife, Sharon and three more children. But life wasn’t safe for David and his family in Northern Ireland. He said: “There were several attempts on my life by the IRA. David felt called to Manchester, and in 1994 he and his family moved to the city where he helped to run a drug rehabilitation centre. Then in 2004 he became pastor of Heaton Chapel Christian Fellowship in Stockport, where he now heads a congregation of 200. David added: “Now I’ve found a new cause, telling people the good news of Jesus because if the grace of God can reach someone like me, who was in the depths of all kinds of evil, then there’s nothing more powerful.” David’s book ‘A Cause Worth Living For’ is available now.

7


Issue 185

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NEW LIFE NEW LIFE

NEW LIFE

Issue 185 NEW LIFE 9

FORMER ‘LOVE RAT’ A CHANGED MAN

oh, happy day! He’s been dubbed a love rat and was left bankrupt after feeding a cocaine habit. But now celebrity actor Darren Day vows he is a changed man. The 40-year-old has changed his appearance, but Darren credits his personality overhaul to God. “I pray every night before I go to bed,” he said. ““I thank God for my wife and my kids and for the fact I’m still here. “My daughter Mad ison was ver y poorly after she was born. She arrived five weeks premature by emergency Caesarean section.” While his daughter and wife Stephanie were recovering, Darren went down to the hospital chapel. “I fell to my knees at the altar sobbing. I was praying to God, begging him to please, please let my daughter be OK. Thankfully, she pulled through. “I’d never really thought about God that much before but I can’t help but think there was a link between me asking for help and my prayers being answered. It triggered something in me.” Darren, who shot to fame in 1993 aged just 24 when he was cast to take over from Jason Donovan in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, has hit the headlines for the all the wrong reasons over the years. After a string of scandals, including various love affairs and a £300-a-day cocaine habit, Darren admits he was a ‘naughty boy’. He says his marriage to fellow actress Stephanie has massively helped. “I know I’ve been caught out before saying this girl is ‘The One’ but Steph really is. I have never felt so loved or in love. “I used to go out every night. Now I’m in bed by 10pm.”

Darren Day before he changed his appearance

Thousands pledge kindness Events reach out MOre than 2,000 Christians have pledged to do more than 10,000 kind acts with the aid of an Internet project. The ‘Generous’ website encourages Christians in South east Hampshire to track each other’s good deeds and suggest new kind acts. Bishop of Portsmouth Kenneth Stevenson said: “Generous is a great way of

involving us all in reducing the footprint of Portsmouth Diocese.” Andy Norris leads a church in the county’s Hook-with-Warsash. He said: “We may be surprised at how many of these things we do already. But it’s all part of our commitment as a diocese to be good stewards of the planet that God has created.”

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reSIDeNTS in the Black Country are being targeted by evangelists who want to show them the light. A campaign will see 100 people work with ten churches to preach to people in the region this month. events such as golf and treasure hunts will help communicate the Christian message. OAC Ministries National Director Dave Glover said: “We want to reach people where they are.”

COMMENT You’ll be accepted PEOPLE from all sorts of walks of life are Christians. You don’t have to be a celebrity or someone who has spent time doing crime to accept that Jesus died for you and to pay for your sins. But the reason so many of the ‘bad boys’ make headlines is because they encapsulate the truth about the Christian faith. For example, David Hamilton was once a man who wouldn’t think twice about shooting another person just because they didn’t think the same as he did. Now, he tells people that it doesn’t matter what they think, he loves them. And he knows he has to tell them about the love Jesus has for them, regardless of their background. Darren Day is a man who has been a household name for years – but for all the wrong reasons. However, it took a near tragedy to make him realise that his life was worth much more than snorting cocaine. Of course, you may be reading New Life and wondering whether you ‘qualify’ to be a Christian. The simple answer is yes. You don’t have to have gone through addiction or pain to become a Christian. Jesus will accept you as you are – whether you’ve done something wrong in your life or think you are good. The biggest hurdle isn’t getting Christ to accept you; it’s that you have to accept Christ and, like David and Darren, change your ways. But it is worth it. If you’re not sure what to do next, take a look at Page 6 and you’ll find a host of organisations who can help you.

BIBLE QUOTE OF THE MONTH May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him Romans 15:13 Editor: Peter Wreford Accounts: Helen Wreford Advertising: Barry Wilson

Editorial office: New Life Publishing Co, PO Box 777, Nottingham NG11 6ZZ, UK Email: editor@newlife.co.uk Telephone: 0115 824 0777 Website: www.newlife.co.uk

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Issue 185

NEW LIFE CLASSIFIEDS WANT TO EXPLORE CHRISTIANITY, BUT DON’T KNOW WHERE TO TURN? KEEP THIS PAGE TO HELP YOU FIND A NEW DIRECTION IN LIFE... ALTRINCHAM The Upper Room Christian Fellowship, The Downs. Sunday services 10.45am and 6.30pm. Enquiries: 0161 282 6676. (CA09)

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BIRMINGHAM Bromford Bridge Church Centre (AoG), Bromford Drive. Sundays 10.45am and 6pm. Minister Ivor Davies. Tel: 0121 748 7081 Mobile 07745 100 942. (AG30) BURY ST E D MU N D S , Suffolk. The Christian Resource Centre (a Pentecostal church). Oakes Road, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP32 6PX. www. crcministries.co.uk 01284 761000. Service times: Sunday 10.30am and 6.30pm. All the family will be made (EQ05) very welcome. CANTERBURY Trinity Community Church. Meetings Sundays 10.45am at St Stephen’s Junior School, Hales Place, Canterbury. Tel: 01227 459 785. (CA06)

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SHANKLIN Isle of Wight, Living Waters Fellowship, 29, Victoria Avenue. Sundays 2.30pm (Service). Wednesday Home Group 10.30am (Bible Study). Thursdays 10.30am (Prayer) 7.30pm Monthly also Saturdays 7.30pm Monthly (Intercessory Praise & Worship). Enquiries & Newsletter (01983) 863683, livingwaters.iw@btinternet.com or livingwaters.iw@gmail.com. (CA52) STEVENAGE PENTECOSTAL CHURCH Assemblies of God UK. Bedwell Community Centre, Bedwell Crescent, Stevenage. Meeting Sundays 10.30am. For details email Pastor: pete.cross@stevenagepentecos talchurch.co.uk or visit our web site www.stevenagepentecostalchurch. co.uk (FV22)

ISSUE 1 – autumn 2009

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LONG EATON Oasis Christian Centre, Derby Road. 10am & 6pm. Come and enjoy the dynamic worship and a warm welcome. God centred, Purpose driven, People empowering. Enquiries: Church Office 0115 9460463

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Issue 185

It’s a runderful effort from pensioner Jim LINVOY A PENSIoNEr completed h is 12th London marathon – and was sure to thank God. Jim Parrish, 72, attends Baildon Methodist Church in West Yorkshire, and is adamant he’s run his last. He raised funds for the Meth-

odist relief and Development Fund (MrDF), which supports the poor in Th ird World nations. He said: “I wanted to finish my marathon career on a nice round number, and 12 sounded good! This was definitely the

last one – I think! I thank God that I’ve been able to run again and help others.” Audrey Skervin, MrDF Supporter relations officer, met Jim after the race. She said: “We are delighted that Jim decided to run for MrDF again – this is his

fourth London Marathon for us. He is our marathon hero! Last year, he raised over £1,300 for a MrDF project in Malawi and helped unemployed young people build their business skills and vulnerable families improve their crop supplies.”

11

PRIMUS

The inside track on faith in football

BOLTON CHAPLAIN ON HIS ROLE... Make sure

My job isn’t about praying for a win! by Matthew Murray Phil Mason at the Reebok Stadium

THE Reverend Phil Mason admits God may not be a Wanderers fan – but he still has a massive role to play at the Reebok.

The minister is now in his 17th season as the club’s chaplain and his influence extends far beyond praying for Bolton to stay in the Premier League. As well as providing spiritual guidance to players, staff and supporters alike, rev Mason plays an active part within the club and the community. A nd he adm its to being reg ularly surprised at the number of people at the reebok who seek his guidance – and not just on match days. “Everyone just assumes my role is to pray for the team to win, and if they don’t then they think I’m not doing my job properly,” he said. “I do pray before matches. I pray for a good match and everyone’s safety, but not for Bolton to win. I don’t think that’s appropriate – I’m not sure God’s a Bolton supporter anyway. “But my real role is to help and provide support for the players. All the first team have my mobile number and they know they can contact me at any time, whether that’s at the ground or elsewhere. “Every season I’m surprised by the number of players who come and see me. But they are just people like everyone else with the issues they have had or are going through and want to talk about. “others have a deep faith – you only have to watch how many cross themselves when thy are running out on to the pitch or look up to the sky after they’ve scored. “But the most important thing is that whatever is said is in private and absolutely confidential. “In a sense, I’m just another part of the support network – just like the psychologist or the physio.” rev Mason is originally from Preston, but now lives in Heaton after having spent a decade in the town, and sees his responsibilities stretch beyond Gary Megson’s squad. “There are loads of different parts to my job,” said the affable

WHEN you become a Christian – as I pray many who read this paper do – you discover that you are suddenly in a totally different place to previously. You a re a member of the k i ngdom of God and the only way to reach it is through accepting Jesus Christ as your Saviour., It’s an amazing transition, as I found when I turned away from the world’s values to embrace those preached by Jesus 2,000 years ago, and which I believe is the answer to all the world’s problems. He preached t hat we shou ld love one another, look after the poor, refuse to hate people, not to judge and watch every word that comes out of our mouths. That last one suddenly hit me the other day. When you are representing the greatest man who ever walked the earth – the Son of God – its incredibly important to ensure that every word we speak is spoken with love. Jesus only got angry when he was talking to “religious types” who were telling people how to live thei r lives and bow ing t he m dow n w it h loads of rules and regulations. Most of the time he spoke with total grace and love as he tried to introduce people to another way – a nother kingdom – the kingdom of God. Therefore, if I call myself a follower of his I have to do things the same way. People will always be impressed if they see love in action. They will always respond to a kind word. Just imagine what a different world this would be if we acted in that manner rather than with spite, malice, scorn and hatred. These a r e t he at t it udes wh ic h hu r t, d iscou rage a nd have people look i ng for revenge. It’s too easy to put people down and that is the world’s way. When you represent Jesus you should encourage, help, support, offer practical assistance and always be there for people. In the world of professional football there’s a whole load of stuff around which isn’t good. And I remind myself daily when I travel to the training ground or the big match that I am Jesus’ representative.

❛ It’s easy to put

people down and that is the world’s way... you should be supportive ❜

44-year-old. “I also spend time with the academy lads. “Many of them are homesick and missing their family and friends, and just want to talk.” The chaplaincy helps staff and supporters at the stadium because, essentially, the club is one big family. “We hold memorial and remembrance services and many of the fans have their ashes scattered at the ground. We also do a lot in the community and I work closely

with the club’s unity and diversity team. The role is a mix of social, community and spiritual work. “We don’t have a chapel at the reebok, but there is a quiet room in the West Stand Concourse which is open to supporters on match days. When we introduced it three years ago, it was the first one in the Premier League. “I’m kept very busy, especially on match days, but it’s the variety which I love about the job.”

Church signing Ferbs not caught out by jibes Sex banned ● Continued from Back Page reality of God. He said: “We were all very shocked and unhappy, but we realised for the first time as a family that God was the comforter of his children. “I must never place a football club above God and I would like to become a preacher when I retire but at the moment I can only imagine how good that would be.”

you speak with love

HE may get stick from his teammates, but cricketer Nicholas Ferraby isn’t swayed when it comes to his Christian faith. Nicholas, or “Ferbs” as he is known among his colleagues, is a batsman for Kibworth CC and the Cambridgeshire County side. He said: “Most of the time the guys like to make banter,

calling me a ‘Bible basher’, but this can often lead to great opportunities to speak about my faith in a relaxed way.” Ferbs is also a member of Christians in Sport. He added: “I’m honoured to be a part of an organisation motivated to see their teammates come to know Jesus.”

IN a rare statement for a professional footballer, Juventus defender Nicola Legrottaglie has revealed he has gone without sex for three years – because of his Christian beliefs. The star said: “I have now gone three years without having sex. I have a girlfriend that I love. I am a devout Christian and fidelity is everything.”

serve The values of the Lord I serve are 100 per cent opposite to those of the world but I know they are the right values… the true values – the ones that count. I’m very glad I stopped going with the flow and instead made Jesus Christ lord of my life because, just as he said, I’ve found I am never alone. But as I serve such a wonderful king I am very careful to watch every word that comes from my mouth. He’s too great – too wonderful to let down by a loose tongue.

Linvoy was talking to Hugh Southon

DON’T MISS LINVOY NEXT MONTH ...ONLY IN YOUR NEW LIFE


Issue 185

bOLTON CHAPLAIN I FE REVEALS WHAT L W E N HIS JOb’S AbOUT

T R O P S

...and it’s not praying to win!

12

LINVOY PRIMUS ON SPEAKING WITH LOVE IN HIS TOP COLUMN

PLUS: THE CRICKETER WHO’S NOT CAUGHT OUT BY JIBES AND MORE ON P11

CHURCH TO SIGN bRAzIL STAR...

Preaching plan... Ze Roberto

THE football authorities might have told Everton ace Stephen Pienaar that he can’t display messages underneath his football shirt – but it won’t stop the midfielder declaring his faith in God. The South African midfielder ripped his shirt off to reveal the message “God is Great” following his team’s FA Cup semi-final victory against Aston Villa. His faith statement might have gone down well with the nation’s Christians, but it wasn’t popular with the British Football Association. H e w a s banned from repeating the celebration by the FA. Everton failed Not shirty... Pienaar to beat Chelsea in the FA Cup Final, but that didn’t stop Pienaar remaining thankful to God for his side’s progress. Meanwhile, the Blues’ star revealed he listens to Gospel music before big games. He told reporters: “It’s modern, the gospel of my generation. My mother Denise is a Christian, that’s how I got into it. She taught me to believe. I never sang in the choir, I don’t sing myself.

CALMS “I just have it on my iPod. There’s always music going on in the dressing room but I have my own. It calms me. You must have faith in yourself, believe you can go out and win. It inspires me.” Devout Christian, Pienaar also shows his faith by being involved with the Dutch charity Kerk en Actie (Church and Action). The charity aims to give youths in prison a second chance when they get out of jail.

Ze Roberto plans to become a preacher BRAZILIAN superstar Ze Roberto has won it all during an illustrious career with German giants Bayern Munich.

But the 34-year-old knows there are better times ahead when his footballing days are over – because he plans to work full-time for God as a pastor. The left sided midfielder has spent two successful spells with Munich after playing at Bayer Leverkusen and Real Madrid. He has been part of the Bundesliga-winning squad on four occasions and also has a quartet of German Cup victories under his belt. But his heart is set on God first. He said: “When you don’t have Jesus in your heart you try to seek out worldly things to fill the emptiness in your heart. “This emptiness which I had, I give thanks to God that it has been filled by his son Jesus, and nothing has made me so happy than to live totally differently. “The early years of my life were a constant struggle to get our daily bread. There were seven of us at home, and never once did we have enough food in the house. “When we kids wanted to eat something sweet, we would make our own sweets out of sugar on the stove.

by Hugh Southon We had an old gas container leaning against our front door, because we could not afford a new lock. “There was no money for football boots, and when I did have shoes, they were always hand-me-downs and far too big. “My speed on the pitch is no doubt indebted to the time I was growing up. We had to get by with some shoplifting at first, stuffing biscuits and oranges or anything that would fit into our trouser pockets. And then you had to turn on the gas to disappear from the scene. “In the slums where I grew up, you used to sniff glue to get high, but my friends soon wanted more. “Three of the guys began experimenting with cheap drugs and they started to get heavily involved in the drug scene. “A short time later I was subjected to the worst experience of my life when my friends, Lica and Mazola, were both shot by the police.” In 1994 Ze Roberto’s 33-year-old sister died giving birth to a daughter and it was during that difficult time the family united in grief and discovered the ● Continued on Page 11

FA rule won’t stop Pienaar thanking God

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New Life Jul 09 issue 185