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Calderdale Methodist Circuit : Chris Robinson

Heptonstall church

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I was brought up in a loving family very much involved in Princes Avenue Methodist Church in Hull so attended and took a big part in Sunday School YPF and Youth Club before going to university.

Cambridge Meth Soc had discussion groups to one of which I was allocated, and each term they prepared a service for a local village church – this was my first preaching!  In Bristol doing my Teaching Certificate course I met Barbara and we were married two years later (I was slow to believe!)

My first teaching job was in Gloucester and there I declared a call to preach and was immediately given lots of village chapel services to take (on my bike to begin with too!) and had no time for exams until I moved to the Plumstead circuit where there were plenty of ministers and less pulpits to fill. It was there that I passed (it was scary taking exams again – I was more used to setting them!) and was fully accredited.

Nine years in Aylesbury followed where I sometimes wondered whether I should be leading evening worship for six or seven instead of bathing the children and preparing lessons for my day job.  Then came Shebbear in North Devon where I was deputy head of a Methodist boarding school and still had a large circuit of small, formerly Bible Christian, chapels to service.

In 1988 I came as head to Hipperholme GS and found my secretary was the chief steward at the Methodist Church and we were made very welcome there, the largest and youngest church we had ever attended. I did give myself a sabbatical year from preaching while getting used to the school but since then it’s been seven new sermons a quarter! 

I love preaching – it is the most creative thing I do since I never got into art or music – and congregations have been so encouraging in their thanks each time.  A fortnightly miracle happens, still usually on Monday evenings even now I’ve retired, and a service is born often surprising and always exciting me; I just start with a prayer and a Bible passage and then write it all out longhand – by Sunday I may not stick to my script completely but usually the start and finish are word perfect. 

I read little fiction except on holidays but usually have a religious book on the go – my latest bit of training however has been helping two new LPs with their Faith and Worship courses – it is so different from my course in the 1970’s and so much more demanding in my opinion.

Apart from preaching and church activities I walk every Tuesday with a Brighouse group, I have an allotment, I am a school governor at Fulneck, we have a daughter and 3 grandchildren in London and sons in Telford and Bedford as well as friends from all the places we have lived in.

We travel when we can fit it in and I enjoy taking photos and sticking them in an album perhaps because I used to collect British stamps (until 2000)! We have a second home in Scarborough which we visit and look after when it is not let to holidaymakers.

I count myself extremely fortunate in all that has happened to me in the last 64 years and am amazed to have such a healthy and full life in 2011.

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Page updated: 30th September 2012