At that very moment it was quite clear, like the proverbial bolt from the blue, that I was being called.
My teenage years were spent in the 1960s and so I was greatly influenced by the huge changes to society, the do as you like, never had it so good era and I took full advantage to thoroughly indulge myself.
Whilst at school I had joined my local rugby club, Dings Crusaders. Dings were an offshoot of the Shaftesbury Crusade, a Christian organisation formed in the late 19
century to care for the people of The Dings area of Bristol.
Many of the senior members of the rugby club were Christians and had no qualms about stating so. I had never heard people talk about Jesus in such an open and passionate way before, and in a non-church environment. To those of us veering off the rails they acted as mentors and seeds were sown that would blossom later with unexpected results.
My next encounter with overt Christians came when our children arrived. Just like my parents before me, we consigned them to Sunday School. My wife Anita started staying at church and one day said to me, Trev, you are missing something by not coming to church yourself.
So I gave it a try. I was welcomed and enjoyed the fellowship but more importantly I was grabbed by the preaching and the awe in worship - so much so, I leapt in with both feet! All that those men had said years earlier at the rugby started to make sense and give me a real purpose.
I was confirmed and shortly after undertook the Taste and See theological course. I felt called to preach the Good News and having tested this calling I was accepted for Reader training and became licensed in 1992.
I thought I had fulfilled my calling and had never explored ordained ministry until one day in 2005 when my incumbent said to me that she could sense a call to ordination in me. At that very moment it was quite clear, like the proverbial bolt from the blue, that I was being called. I was accepted for the new Ordained Local Minister training course, which turned out to be innovative, intense and unique. Ordained Local Ministry appealed to me greatly, I was born in East Bristol, I had lived in my parish for over 40 years and I knew the area and the context intimately.
Sadly, due to tragic circumstances, my incumbent left the parish before my ordination but I was well supported by others in our partnership. I retired from work on the same weekend as I was made a priest and cared for the parish until the appointment of our Priest in Charge.
The first thing I did was, through prayer and discussion, to discern those within the parish family who would be able to work as a ministry leadership team. My intimate knowledge of the area allowed us to build relationships with schools, other denominations, community organisations, community policing, youth and many others and grow the church in a number of ways when things seemed black.
I never thought as a young man listening to those older men at the rugby club telling me of Christs influence in their lives that one day I would be called to do the same thing.
I pray that I have the same effect on others that those men did on me.
Revd Trevor Denley is an Associate Local Minister at St Aidans Church, Two Mile Hill
What was sown years ago that has flowered in you or your life?
What would you like to see nurtured in your local community?
What invitation could you extend (or accept) to make this happen?
Faith in Christ situates a person in a life that is wider than their own, that came before their own and will go on beyond them, with them.