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Calderdale Methodist Circuit : Hal Clarkson

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I was born in Preston, a "Lancashire lad" with one older sister. My family were Roman Catholic so church and school were strongly religious and influential. I received Jesus as "Saviour" as a child and while always being a believer in the heart I didn't pay much attention to walking the Christian path till much later in life.

I grew up in the Preston area and began work there at aged 17 years in engineering and textiles. When work became quite difficult to find (in my twenties), I emigrated with my wife Joyce in 1975 to Canada. I had already played football for quite a few years in the U.K. so I joined the Brantford Ex-Imperials and played soccer for the City of Brantford (Southern Ontario) for most of my time there.

My other love "The Guitar" featured largely in my life and a folk band was soon formed with one Scotsman, and American, and two Geordies. We were called "The Family Of Man". We sang mostly folks songs, did gigs and played in church services at our local church in Branford, Ontario.

Around 1983 I had an experience of the "Spirit" that completely refocused my attention on the Lord and empowered me to follow Jesus and become a disciple. For the remainder of our years in Canada we attended a Baptist church with a very warm fellowship and a wonderful Minister.

We transferred/returned to the United Kingdom in 1975 to West Yorkshire where the U.K. division of the Sunbeam Corporation, for whom I worked, was located. We settled down in Mytholmroyd, "threw our lot in" with the local church and have been there since our return.

I was encouraged to become a local preacher after a number of years in the house groups and in 1993 signed up to do the training. My helper/leader was David Scott. I have enjoyed being a local preacher and have tried to bring an accessibility to my services with guitar music and through a "down to earth" informal style of preaching.

Over the years I have continued to use the guitar in ministry, singing in folk bands especially "Forever Young", formed about 7 years ago with Martin Parrot and Simon Keane. We enjoy playing at church services or performing concerts for fundraising across the Calder Valley. Our aim is to introduce "spirituality" through folk and other music and make it more accessible both in church and in the market place.

(Forever Young are available for fundraising performances. Email Hal).