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The Gift of God in Creation


“I’ve always had a faith; I’ve always had a belief that Jesus walked this earth.”

 Rob is the third generation of his family to farm in the Hartlepool area.  Their farm has just over 300 acres and he and wife Sheila work hard to grow wheat, barley and oilseed rape.  In addition, they have a small suckler herd of around 18 cows.  Rob is now in the process of winding down a little bit after working 50 years on the farm.

 

He is a committed member of St Luke’s Church in Hartlepool and he says that the Church has played quite a part in his life over the years.  As a boy he attended the children’s service and Sunday School and now in his 60’s, he is an active member of the Shared Ministry Development Team.

Rob says: “I’ve always had a faith; I’ve always had a belief that Jesus walked this earth and I’ve always enjoyed getting to know the wonderful parables, and great healings that he did in the short time of his ministry.”

Like a lot of people, Rob describes his faith as one that waxes and wanes and says that “gradually as I’ve got older, I’ve begun to realise that there is a God there.  I see it in perhaps different ways to a lot of people.  I am still filled with wonder when a field is sown in seed corn, it almost looks filled with a hope in a way, that it’s going to germinate and grow and mature into a wheat or barley crop.  I get a thrill when I see the first green shoots coming through the ground and it is then that I think something has sparked that.”

“I know the generally accepted view is that things germinate but it needs the water to germinate.  I’m still thrilled by that even after all these years.”

“And when the cows are having their calves, and a new calf, all of a sudden, is lying on the ground being licked by its mother - all these things are done by instinct (apparently) but I can’t help thinking that someone somewhere had something to do with it.

“It is things like this that give me great faith now and a keenness to know more about it.”

  

Exploring faith

It was this keenness to know more that encouraged Rob to complete a ‘Faith and Life’ course.  The course run by the Dioceses of Newcastle and Durham aims to help people grow in faith and understanding and to apply that faith in practical everyday terms.

Alongside some independent reading, Rob met with a group of eight others, one evening a week at St Luke’s Church, for a period of 10 months.  He thoroughly enjoyed gaining the knowledge of where Jesus lived and did his ministry and where his disciples continued that ministry in and around the Holy Land.

Rob has a great love of going to church and wanting to know more. He tries to read the Bible as often as he can and enjoys his role in the Shared Ministry Development Team at St Luke’s.  This role involves looking after the spiritual side of the Church.  Presently, they are involved in preparing a parish profile for the benefit of the new vicar.

Until becoming a member of the Shared Ministry Development Team, Rob had not appreciated the number of people who were involved in the life of St Luke’s Church.  He says that St Luke’s is “a very strong church, with a lot of good people in it doing some wonderful work.”

 

Faith and work

In addition to working the farm, Rob is a Magistrate.  In this role he feels his faith helps him to be fair to all sides and to make a proper honest judgement as to what the verdict and punishment should be. 

Describing his faith today, Rob says “I feel more confident now that I did several years ago.  It (my faith) has given me more confidence in myself and in the way that I treat other people.”

“I think very often you have God talking to you in a very quiet way, perhaps helping to direct you in which way you should go. Sometimes it’s a funny way and you think I shouldn’t do that but after a time you realise that was probably the right way in the end.”

As time goes on, Rob is hoping to get more involved in the life of St Luke’s Church, when he cuts down his farming commitments

He says that he hopes that he will continue to “see wonders in all sorts of things”.