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Eric's Story

posted Sep 6, 2012, 2:20 PM by Julian Garner
It’s never too late!

I was baptised on 27th August 2005 aged 85 years and on Easter morning this year I was thrilled when two younger members of my church community at St Mary’s Uffculme wanted to follow in my footsteps and we gathered on the banks of the River Culm at 8am to celebrate with Lizzie as she affirmed her baptismal promises and with Chloe as she was baptised and began her faith journey. Both young girls had been at my baptism six years ago and it was so encouraging to watch them grow over the years to the point where they wanted to follow Jesus themselves.

My story began as an only child of older parents who took me to a church that bored me to tears and spoke down to me as a child. When I was 15 my father died and so I had to leave school to get a job and worked as a draughtsman for 15 shillings a week. Three years later when World War Two was declared I was called up and served in Burma. I was married during the war to Patricia and we had three children. Although on reflection I sensed God with me during the war we were never part of a church and as I grew older I realised there was something missing from my life and it seemed that more and more I was running away from God.

When my wife and I moved to Uffculme in 2002 I occasionally went to the parish church, but as I watched people sharing the bread and wine I felt that I was an outsider and missing something. The local Vicar Alan Dodds and Jill Purser our licensed lay minister discussed the Christian faith with me and how faith in God might give me strength to care for my wife who was by now suffering from dementia. I decided that I wanted to belong and wanted to know what I needed to do. When we discussed baptism I discovered I had not been baptised and liked the idea of being baptised in the river as Jesus had been. Eventually I was baptised on 27th August 2005 aged 85.

My wife died in the November and the Christian community at St Mary’s church supported me through this difficult period. I remember that I told her Jesus loved her before she died and she had a peaceful death.

Suddenly I had lots of spare time and so I volunteered to help listen to the reading at Uffculme primary school and have since then encouraged several members from St Mary’s Church to join me and enjoyed welcoming many of the children I listen to various special services at Church. I am now 91 and I still go into the school each week to hear the children read. In church I enjoy it when children and young people share their gifts and talents in church and I see my role as an encourager. Last term I enjoyed visiting Uffculme Secondary school for afternoon tea provided by the health and social care students and I love having folk over for a cup of tea and cake. I enjoy being part of the Christian community and recently Revd Selina asked us to think about and share Who is Jesus in your life? For me since my baptism I have discovered that Jesus is everything to me – my saviour, my redeemer, my shepherd, my advocate and my friend.

Eric Dunsford