“I was treated as a human being”
Claire never pictured herself going into a church. So what changed?
I’m Claire. I’m a Rotherham lass, born and bred. Growing up, I never really had anything to do with church apart from the Nativity in school.
As an adult, I’d never have seen myself going into a church at all. It’s only because I came to Rotherham Minster through work that I ended up staying. When I did come here, it felt like home.
I first came to the social supermarket to help people with money management. That’s where I met Ali [Middleton, CMS pioneer graduate] and the rest of the team. And Ali’s been a big help for me through my journey.
I started asking questions about God because I was curious and I knew nothing. So it was general questions: “How do you know God exists? How do you know he’s real?”
As Ali answered, I was like, “This is weird because this is what I’ve felt all my life.”
I came along to a group that meets on Thursdays, where we’ve read a couple of Gospels, but it’s more than sitting and talking about the Bible and Jesus and God. If somebody comes and they’ve got an issue, we can all sit together in a safe space and talk about it and help each other.
A big part of Thursday group is the people. I’ve never been one for socialising, but everybody treated me like Claire, not Claire with the walker. I was treated as a human being. And as well as meeting them, obviously God was here.
The Bible is confusing at the best of times, so it helps that Ali explains things in plain English. To have somebody who can actually sit and talk to you about it and use language that you understand is really important.
Before I knew Jesus, life was okay, I just carried on plodding along. I felt like there was no particular meaning. There was just that one thing missing. And now I’ve found it. My life is different because I feel content in myself. I’ve always got somebody with me and I’m always looked after, listened to and thought about, and I belong.
Before, I was lost; I didn’t have a purpose. I was working for a bank for 13 years and I was just in the system being a robot. And now I can be myself, I can be Claire, and I can help all those people in need where they need it.
I just thought I came here for work, but I didn’t realise where it would lead me. God certainly didn’t reveal a plan, but he’s led me to a place where I’ve helped people in dire need. And that’s what my calling is.
I came for work and I’ve gained a family.
I’m so happy now. For the future, I just want to stay with the church. I want to stay working with people because I think this is where I’m supposed to be.
Jesus never gives up. Neither should we.