Advanced search Click here for the website of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

Skip Content

Field of Faith

Dave Cockerill discovered Jesus for himself while camping in a muddy field in Wales...

CPASFROM a young age Dave Cockerill was always taken to church by his parents - whether he wanted to go or not.

"They didn't force religion down my throat or anything," he said.

"But going to church is just what we always did as a family on Sunday mornings.

"I think I must have believed in God in some way but I never gave it much thought to be honest."

Dave, 21, who works as a track marshal at a go-karting complex in York, said he began taking faith more seriously when he attended Christian youth camps in Criccieth, North Wales, run by the Church Pastoral Aid Society (CPAS), an Anglican evangelical mission agency working with churches.

"I loved the activities like mountain biking and canoeing, but I also learnt about God in a totally new way," he said.

"It was fun and engaging and relevant to people my age. There was just something quite magical about it.

"The leaders talked about how much God loved me, and how much he wanted to be in a personal relationship with me. There was nothing forced or pressured about it - everything was done at your own pace."

When Dave was 16 he experienced God in an entirely new way at the camp and "everything just clicked".

He said: "One of the tent leaders gave a talk in the evening meeting and he spoke in such a way that it all just made sense to me personally. I went out afterwards to a prayer tent and I asked Jesus into my life.

"It was a wonderfully clear night and I lay down in the long grass at the top of the field and stared up at the stars. I was overwhelmed with emotion and cried tears of happiness.

"I felt different inside and I knew it was all because of Jesus. Ever since then I've been on this amazing journey."

When he returned home, Dave said he became enthusiastic about going to church and began helping out with the youth work and playing drums in the worship band.

"I feel that my life has got real purpose," he added.

"I'm a leader on the camps now which is a real privilege. It's amazing to be able to help the young people explore the Christian faith just like I did when I was there age."