I first came to St James way back in 1993 with a view to getting my son David, who was approximately 9 months old, christened. My daughter, Kelly, had been christened at another church 3 years earlier and because she had been christened with about 6 other families I wanted something a little more personal for David. I used to walk a lot to Mapperley with the children and on one of these occasions we decided to investigate the sign pointing to “St James Church” down Marshall Hill Drive and found this cute little church tucked away down there.
Needless to say we started coming to church, although my husband not as often as myself and the children. The first day was a little daunting because I had never really been to church apart from when I was at school and I didn’t know how I was supposed to act. I need not have worried because a young lady called Nicola Renshaw came up to me, introduced herself and basically guided me through the service.
I then became a regular, becoming a helper in one of the children’s groups and eventually Crèche leader. I made many friends and became part of many groups such as Bulrush and a house group which met on Saturdays run by Chris and Ruth Butler. I was beginning to feel as if I truly belonged to something so decided to be confirmed.
In 1999 my marriage broke down and the church was instrumental in helping me and my children adjust to life as a single parent family offering advice and support even when I had to give up the family home and move out of the parish. I continued to attend regularly with my children until David reached 7 years of age, when I started to take him to rugby following advice from a children’s counsellor. I coached at Mellish Rugby Football Club for 5 years until David suffered a back injury which needed physiotherapy and once he had recovered he didn’t want to go back.
That’s when I decided to go back to attending church. This time it was different because I was going on my own and didn’t have the children for support . In many ways it was even more daunting than it was in 1993. But again I need not have worried. All through my 5 year absence I was regularly invited to the Maunday Thursday meals by Lucy Drury and the first person to greet me as I walked through the door on that particular Sunday was Lucy. She acted as if I had never been away. For the next 6 months I kept myself to myself until one Sunday, Jane, the vicars wife sat next to me. After the service she commented that I had a lovely singing voice and suggested I join the Worship Group which at the time was lead by Alison Roe. This is when I really started to explore my faith and with the help of my dear friend Val Fawley, found I could become closer to God through my singing.
I then was urged to participate in the Alpha course where I met like minded people at a similar stage of spiritual development. During the sessions I became very close to Denise the new curate and Maria Cross and her daughter Hannah. I learned about their journeys so far and also learnt that Maria had an interest in the Worship Group. I then told Val about Maria’s interest and together we persuaded her to join us. The group really makes me feel like part of something wonderful and together with the home group run by the Curate Denise Dodd consisting of people from the Alpha Course, my journey of faith will be able to continue.
The saying goes “you can’t choose your family” but coming to St James disproves that because this family is the best a person could have and I feel privileged to be part of it.
Thank you all for making me feel so welcome and accepting me just as I am.