In View from the Pew, Marc Hollinshead chats to different people from the St John’s congregation to hear a little about them and their journey.
Marc: So how did you both come to meet?
Hazel: I originally come from a village east of Edinburgh and worked at Cambridge university. It was when we both worked for AstraZeneca that we eventually met.
Nigel: We went to a conference in Berkley, California back in 1997 and things went from there really!
Marc: And how did you both find the job at AstraZeneca?
Hazel: We were there for over twenty years and it was brilliant. However, when the company moved to Cambridge, we took voluntary redundancy.
Nigel: It was the best option for us and we both got new jobs very quickly. I ended up moving to the Christie hospital and Hazel took on some church and charity work.
Hazel: Yeah, I started to help Gareth with a charity he set up, linked with the Out of the Question animation he helped to create. I also spoke to an old colleague and found myself working for three days a week.
Marc: That sounds interesting! What actually brought you both into church life?
Hazel: While I was part of a church in my village, it wasn’t until I heard a very charismatic speaker in Edinburgh that I decided I needed to make a decision about Jesus.
Nigel: I had a bit of a different journey. I wasn’t part of a church growing up, but I got confirmed as a teenager even though it didn’t mean anything. As a scientist I thought it was tough to understand but when I met Hazel I wanted to learn more.
Marc: So how do you both find St Johns?
Hazel: It’s a family. I had a health scare a few years ago and actually turned to Gareth and Sarah before anyone else and they really helped me. We all stick together. The teaching is also excellent.
Nigel: It’s definitely the teaching for me. I’ve always felt welcome in the men’s group and I enjoy the music group too. Even if it can be a bit stressful!
Marc: It’s always good for us all to get stuck in! How do your daughters, Hannah and Sarah find St Johns?
Hazel: Hannah definitely values a lot of what Christianity is about and she’s made a good friend through a Christian camp. Sarah does a lot of vocational dancing so can be busy but they’re both very mature about it.
Nigel: It’s just great that it’s a church that takes youth and children seriously. It’s important to invest in the children’s stuff!
Hazel: I got to a point as a teen where I said I didn’t want to go anymore, but I think we all mature as we get older.
Marc: I definitely agree with you there! On that note, we’re thinking of the resurrection with Easter coming up, so what would you say that means to you both as Christians?
Hazel: It means hope of the life to come! It puts everything into perspective as it’s a miraculous thing God did. It’s that confirmation of how awesome he is.
Nigel: I basically just mirror Hazel’s words. I used to believe in fate but this is the one sure hope we have.
Marc: That’s a great point to end on. Thank you both for taking some time to share your stories with us.