Saturday 14th June 1980
The day my life changed!
I had been staying at Andy Rose’s house a week or so before, possibly I had gone over to Reigate for my birthday, I am not sure.
Trish Lord was in the country, she had started university in Canterbury studying drama. I rang her from Andy’s house and we chatted quite a bit before she asked me if I would like to talk to Donna who was standing next to her, twiddling her hair. The phone was passed over and I said ‘hi’, probably not much more. We arranged to meet in London on the weekend of the 14/15 June 1980, they said it would be ok if I slept on the floor in Donna’s room in the nurses home. Trish and Donna would ‘top and tail’ in the single bed.
I took the train up to London (carrying my guitar!). I had absolutely no idea how my life was going to change from that day on. The nurses home was in Gray’s Inn Road, in central London, with views over the cemetery. I first saw Donna in the corridor outside her room.
It was the Saturday morning and we decided to go for a walk on Hampstead heath. Sometime later we were having a drink outside a pub near the heath when I asked them what being a Christian was all about. I hadn’t appreciated that Trish in the intervening years had become a christian. I knew she was a catholic, as when we went out together she once went to the catholic bookshop in Nairobi.
Something happened! The lights seemed to go on, and everything they said made perfect sense. I don’t think I had ever been told the gospel before, and certainly what they said was so different from what I had experienced at school. They talked about Jesus in such a way, as if they had met him and knew him.
As I look back now, I can see that I had been searching for more meaning in life. Sometime before whilst still a student in Eastbourne, I had volunteered to join The Samaritans. I don’t know why I did that, I just felt I needed to help people more than I was doing, and that seemed a good way to do it.
The picture below is a snap I took that evening, after Donna and Trish had showered and were getting ready for bed.
The following morning they decided to take me to church. So we went to All Souls, Langham Place, which is in central London next to the BBC.
Michael Baughen was preaching. He was a prominent theologian, attached to All Soul’s, and the following year he became Bishop of Chester.
I was extremely moved in the service and rushed out as soon as it was over. I walked down an alley near the BBC. Tears quickly welled up, and I said out loud. “God I know you are real”. That was it. I didn’t pray, or ‘ask Jesus into my life’ or any of the other things you are supposed to do when you become a christian. But I did know that this was a special moment.
When I made my way back to the church, Trish gave me a New Testament, and wrote inside.
They were delighted for me, but didn’t seem to think that my reaction was out of the ordinary.
I left them fairly early in the afternoon and made my way to Juliette’s flat in Clapham. I wanted her to understand what I had experienced.
She showed passing interest, but since we had only broken up four months ago, and during that time we had both been out with other people, most of our conversation was superficial.
I stayed the night and went back to Eastbourne Monday morning.
Many years later, in about 2006, one of my clients was Paul Blackham who was a theologian working at All Souls. I mentioned to him that I had been converted in his church. He asked me the date, since he could still obtain a copy of the sermon from that morning. Since Trish had written in my bible, I was able to tell him, and he duly sent me a cassette.
It is a good solid evangelical sermon, but perhaps nothing too out of the ordinary, or particularly evangelistic. However, somewhat prophetically it is titled “Enter The King”, and is all about Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Somewhat fitting for me, in that this was the day when Jesus did enter into my life.
I can clearly see how my life has been divided into “Before” this weekend, and “After”.
Meeting Donna and becoming a Christian on the same weekend. Nothing was ever the same again.
Here is the sermon in it’s entirety.
David and Georgie also got married in September of 1980 – I was best man.