My father was a Roman Catholic and my mother was a Protestant. They married in a Protestant Church so the Catholic’s excommunicated my father. So as far as my parents were concerned, GOD, JESUS or any other religious figures were not mentioned in our home and neither of them went to any churches unless it was to celebrate a birth, marriages or funerals.
During my childhood, I was forced to go to the local C of E church Sunday School until I became a teenager. Then I was allowed to choose my own church. I chose the Methodist church as they had a better youth club and football team.
I went to the local Grammar School and got a grade 2 “O” Level in Religious Education, as I concentrated on the New Testament and learned it as a story. It meant nothing to me.
At the age of 17yrs, I joined the Lancashire Constabulary as a Police Cadet. I became the “black sheep” of the family as my dad and brother worked for British Gas. On February 28th, 1972, at the age of 19yrs, I became Police Constable 449 and was supposedly being sent to Barrow. My father had recently suffered a heart attack so I requested a posting nearer to home. Thankfully I was given St.Helens.
I was taken around my first beat by a senior constable, Neville Corrigan. He looked like a mannequin. He was immaculate, with razors like creases in his uniform and very shiny boots, but he did not arrest many people. He gave me some simple advice that helped me throughout my career. He told me to speak to members of the public for the first time, in a manner that I would want a Constable to speak to my parents when they first meet. If that approach does not work, then I can escalate the volume and language to match theirs. If I was to go into a situation in the wrong manner it can go horribly wrong very quickly. As it turned out Neville was a Christian but did not tell anyone about it.
In February 1979, I met Margaret and fell in love. She was a Christian, but I did not “hold it against her”. Within 9 weeks of meeting her, we were engaged to be married. I now had to add her favourite Christmas Eve midnight services to my list of church visits.
We were married in St. John The Baptist church on 2nd August 1980. I wanted it to be an engagement of over 12months to disprove a rumour in the Police, that Margaret must be pregnant. Our daughter Catherine was born on 28th March 1982 and our son Carl born on 23rd September 1983. Both were baptised at our church just to please Margaret.
Sometime in 1989, I was posted to a new type of job in the Police working from Newton Le Willows Police Office. Part of my job was to interview members of the public, either as witnesses of incidents, or people suspected of committing offences in other Police Force areas.
One Sunday afternoon I had finally managed to interview a witness in North Ashton, after trying to find him for months. When I came out of this man’s home I looked across the road and saw a man doing his gardening. It was the fireman I knew from Newton Fire Station. I was asked in for a cup of tea and being a usual type of “bobby” I accepted.
During the conversation in the kitchen, this couple were suddenly bathed in sunlight and I was asked about what Faith I had and did I know JESUS. Suddenly the voice that I was hearing appeared to change to a voice that I did not recognise as being from either the fireman or his wife. It was calmer and deeper. After a few minutes, I made my excuses and left. On the way back to the office I was confused and a bit troubled.
I went home and as I got in my wife Margaret told me that our friends, Pam and Ray, were coming to visit us that evening and I should hurry up and eat my tea. I told her that she could stay at home and see to them as I was going to church. I heard something drop in the kitchen and Margaret came in to check on what she had just heard me say. When I confirmed it she immediately got on the phone to our friends to tell them to cancel and the reason. She met a long silence of (no doubt) unbelief. We all went as a family that night to St. John The Baptist Church. This was Margaret’s church, our local C. Of E. Church.
I was told by my boss to change my shift patterns, shortly after this day, and to do a regular Monday to Friday office system. This meant that I could go to church twice every Sunday in an effort to know more about this man Jesus.
After I had been going to church for a few months, I saw that they had a need for someone else who would be willing to work the public address system, as only one member of the congregation could work it properly. As I considered volunteering I was asked by this man to help him. I got to know the equipment and it eventually became my role, as this man and his family moved to another part of the country. I became well known in the church and was asked to stand for the church council. To my surprise, I was elected and had 12 months on the council. The next year one of the two wardens had decided not to stand again for the position. I was asked to stand for election as a prospective churchwarden with three other members of our congregation.
To my great surprise, I was elected as another new member of the church. During my period as warden, the inner part of the church was thoroughly modernised, and thanks are to GOD that the monies required were raised to pay for it. I was in the third year of my position as warden when I returned from annual leave to my office job in the Police and found that I had been posted back to a car beat on 3 shifts. I thought to myself “Lord what are you doing? I cannot carry on as a warden with the new shift pattern!” It was obvious that I would have to resign at the next A.G.M.
After a short period of time Bob Carroll, the Christian Police Association Coordinator here on Merseyside, invited me to the inaugural meeting of the Cumbria branch and to sit in on the BSSC meeting to get the feel of it all. (Bob had, in fact, been acting as caretaker until a serving officer was able to take the job on, in compliance with the CPA rules). I started attending branch meetings and went to the National Assembly in the northeast. It was there that I felt that the Lord wanted me to take over from Bob as Branch Secretary, as he was a retired officer. I contacted the CPA Headquarters and was interviewed and approved to do the job. I formed a leadership team of five including myself and things started to go quite well.
In May 1995, I had been invited to go to the International Christian Community Centre in Wigan by my sister-in-law. We went to the 6 pm service and we really enjoyed it. I decided that the times of service were right for me to attend on a more frequent basis. On Sunday 21st May we took one of our friends, Justine, with us to the church. I cannot remember the preacher’s name but he was preaching, as if to me, about being Born Again and that doing “good works” was not good enough. I realised that I had become one of those people who thought that they were doing good work for the Lord, that I was ‘safe’. He asked those in the congregation who either wanted the Lord in their life for the first time or re-affirm to then say the sinners’ prayer with him. I said the prayer. He asked those who had said the prayer to put up their hands whilst everyone was still praying. I put up my hand. He then asked for us to step out in Faith and come to the front so that we could receive individual prayers. I opened my eyes and found myself walking down the aisle towards the front. I looked up and there was only me there. I asked the Lord for someone else to join me and I looked up to my right, and to my surprise, Margaret and Justine had also come to the front. We were all Born Again that night. I now started to feel very different, but still thought that there was something missing.
Margaret and I were invited to be baptised in church the next Sunday evening. Margaret agreed to it, but I was supposed to be working. I was acting Sergeant that day on the afternoon shift. I asked to be put on the list and if GOD wanted it to happen, then I will be there. I went to work and asked for a cover for a couple of hours by the St.Helens serjeant. (This could only be confirmed on the day, subject to any serious incidents taking place.) I was waiting for my answer on that Sunday and asking GOD in PRAYER to help me when a stolen car drove past me. I started to follow it in my small Ford Fiesta Police car. I used the radio to alert my colleagues but did not expect the car to stay in my sight for long. To my surprise the car stopped after a few hundred yards and the occupants did not run away!! When asked why they had not run away, they stated that they had known me for years and knew that in a Court, I would have been believed and not them. So it was pointless for them to run away. So GOD did not want to be to be baptised that night. I was eventually baptised the next month. I then knew what had been missing from my life.
Since then our marriage has grown stronger, with less strife. Like everyone else we have had problems, but we know that GOD has HIS hands on us and is leading the way. My arrest rates grew with not guilty pleas being very rare.
In April 1999, I was at a C.P.A. meeting when I clearly felt that I should step down as leader of the Merseyside Branch by the millennium. Dave Riley took over from me.
On 4th March 2002, I took my 30yrs Police Pension and retired at the grand old age of 49yrs. This was far too young and I soon got bored. Dave Riley saw an advert by the D.S.A. (Driving Standards Agency) for driving examiners. He advised me to apply and it was GOD’s will that I was successful. Everything fell into place for me. PRAISE GOD.
I now take learner drivers for their practical driving test in cars. At the time of writing this (February 2006) I have been in this job for just over 3yrs. I say a quite PRAYER at the start of each test for GOD’s will to be done and the correct result. I must have the record of only having received 1 letter of complaint in all that time and in over 4000 tests.
In 2004, I joined the Warrington Branch of the FGBMFI and I really enjoy the meetings. It is great to hear how OUR LORD has changed people's lives. I am now the secretary and using my organising skills again for OUR LORD.
I hope that my testimony will help some of its readers. I am still a sinner trying to do my best to please GOD. The LORD JESUS CHRIST came down to earth as a baby, lived on earth as a child/man and died on that cross for my sins. I can never thank him enough for that. I simply want to GLORIFY GOD in my lifestyle, until that GREAT DAY WHEN JESUS RETURNS and calls us home, to be with him for eternity in HEAVEN.
If you do not know JESUS as your LORD and SAVIOUR, do not delay. Do it today because tomorrow may be too late!
Warrington FGB Meeting on Zoom with Real Life Stories
Date & Time: 20/01/2021 19:00 - 22:00
Venue: on Zoom - https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88435620015?pwd=ai9oeEQzZXJldFdPeVM5eXVtVkp5QT09 Meeting ID: 884 3562 0015 Passcode: 677547
Dave Riley, President of the Warrington FGB, invites you to be a part of this meeting, when real life stories will be shared by Bob Carroll, Dave Riley and Colin Pownall. Christian music and songs wil……More Details