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Viewpoint from Don McAllister 19/08/2016 

Don McAllister
Chairman, Interfaith & Belief Network

also published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury


Dove rightIntent on using my bus pass for the very first time a few days ago, I set out for Norwich.  Whether I unwittingly followed some prompting from on high or not, (can’t admit that I’d made a mistake!), I found myself on the ‘right’ number bus, but travelled in the wrong direction, ending up in Lowestoft.  There, I met a gentleman in the shopping centre, trying to distribute leaflets.  I usually tend to shun ‘leafleteers’ but something about this gentleman prompted me to accept the one he proffered
In the leaflet, he tells the reader of how he had been a ‘bit of a lad’ in his day, getting into all kinds of scrapes which had led him to prison but that through a friend, had been introduced to ‘church’ where he found Jesus.  His life since has been markedly changed for the better and he wants to world to know about it.  Thanks be to God for the Spirit now moving in him
dove leftStrangely, he asserts that church is “not necessary“, pointing out that there have been enough troubles witnessed in the world through the many churches that abound today.  Sadly, he has a point.  I cannot help but think though, that church has served him well enough.  Certainly it appears to have been necessary for him at one point, for it was through church he discovered that spiritual dimension of his life, which has come to mean so much to him, leading him to becoming a reformed man.  I was struck more by his sentiment on the question of church than on what else he had to say, because the subject has been much in my thoughts of late
What do we mean when we speak of ‘church’?  It is not simply the building, that sacred space where people of faith gather to worship together, but the people themselves; for without the people, there is no church.  Nor is the number of people that make up church particularly important, for Christ said that wherever two or three are gathered in his name, there will he be also
As Chair of the Greater Yarmouth Inter Faith & Belief Network, I have come to learn that church means a great deal to many people, regardless of the faith, creed, or rite they follow.  We share the same sentiment, that church is not only necessary but is an important part of our lives


Hilly at Hemsby (Guest) 22/08/2016 18:23
My hubby and I were approached by him too and when he discovered we were Christians he chatted to us and gave us some leaflets to take away-his story is very interesting and quite inspiring for anyone who has been in the same place as he was. He certainly seems to be a lot more happier now he has found himself.