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Calderdale Methodist Circuit : Roger Munday

Heptonstall church

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I was born and raised in a Methodist family in a small boot and shoe town near Northampton, the eldest of four boys. The local Methodist church was the centre of my social life, with Boys’ Brigade (3 nights a week), youth fellowships and sports as well as the Sunday services. So when I was made a church member as a teenager I felt that I was a ‘fully qualified Christian’ and didn’t need to go to church any more. So I didn’t.

I left England’s green and pleasant land behind for the grit and grime of that mysterious country identified only as ‘North of England’ in order to study architecture at Manchester, which is where I met my wife Pat, and north Manchester is where I found work and settled.

Some years later we bought some derelict cottages in Blackshawhead and spent two years of hard labour, nights and weekends, converting them into a home. We had two children, Ruth and Nick, who seemed to spend their childhood converting them back again.

In the early 80s I became interested in ‘alternative spirituality’ and explored a number of avenues. No matter what I read and pursued, however, there was, thanks to my upbringing, always a small voice saying ‘I am the way’. At the time I was a member of the local Parish Council, and through that became involved, using my professional skills, with Blackshawhead Chapel, which was on the point of being closed.

As is God’s way, these various strands of my life came together in that place, where I found the answers to my spiritual search, the transfer of my community involvement from the Parish Council, and a need for my skills and resources. I also learned to ‘let go and let God’.

In the late 80s I left the firm I was working for, and set up on my own account in Hebden Bridge. My work since then has always had two directions, one being the ‘James Herriott’ local practice doing whatever needed to be done in a small way and the other working with churches, inspecting and reporting, altering and repairing, extending and remodelling, and in one case building new from scratch.

My professional and personal experience has taught me the importance of the relationship between the church and its local community. I administer a national charity, ‘Living Stones : The Church + Community Trust’ which works with churches to build these connections, and I have a passion for seeing the church rediscovering its place at the heart of community life, which I believe is vital for the future not only of community but also of the church.

In 2000 I was accredited as a Local Preacher, (having been given a note to preach in 1992, so I know the problems of completing the F&W course in a busy working life).

As I reach retirement, with family across the country and across the globe, but with deep roots in these hills I have made my home, I wait to see where God leads me next.

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Page updated: 1st October 2012