From J. Strawson
Sir, - I read with interest Jo Swinney's article "I'm not coming
to church any more" (Features, 28
September). Our two boys, both in their 20s, were brought up in
an Evangelical Anglican church with a strong children's and youth
ministry. Both, however, drifted away from church, and became
disenchanted with Christianity in their early teens.
What we have learned from the past ten years is that this is all
about relationship, and certainly not about filling the family pew,
nice as that would be.
Our older son wanted to spend some time volunteering abroad at
the end of his second year at university, and, through our
connections, we were able to arrange for him to spend two weeks
with a Christian development charity in Africa. It was that
experience, along with the support of Christian friends from his
previous school, that helped him to make a commitment as a
Christian at age 21. He chose to join a house church, where we
joyfully attended his full-immersion baptism.
Our younger son, now living at home after three years at
university, is currently going through a time of huge questioning.
Forget Alpha: this is hard-core. My husband and I are both in
church leadership, and our exhausted 60-something-year-old brains
are no doubt benefiting from the workout that they are getting,
rethinking areas of our faith which have not seen the light of day
for years. We hope and pray that he will eventually come to faith,
but would never seek to control him.
Our older son's faith is far stronger as a result of his time of
questioning. He has now made it his own.
It is all about allowing each child to be the person God made
him or her to be, not trying to fit them into our mould. I would
say to your readers: if your returned son or daughter does not want
to go to church with you, have you thought about missing church for
once, just to spend a bit of catch-up time with him or her?
55 Northwood Avenue
Purley CR8 2ER