For all my adult life I neither believed in God, nor disbelieved. My only experience of church was attending weddings or funerals – and even those occasions were few and far between.

Last summer a new woman arrived unexpectedly in my life. She is a wholeheartedly committed Christian and has an outstandingly positive outlook. As our relationship developed I thought I should investigate this religion business further. I spoke to a friend and he advised me to go on something called the Alpha Course.

He was previously an atheist but was converted by Alpha and is now a chaplain.

I made some searches but couldn’t find a course in my area. That would normally have been that, but a certain lady had different ideas.

She suggested I go to the Queen’s Park Baptist Church course on the other side of the river.

Having successfully negotiated for her to be my chauffeur – and therefore join the course with me – I began to attend.

We’d missed the first two sessions, and were also late for the meal which, to my surprise, is laid on for all the attendees every week. However, our hosts, Norma and David, could not have been any more welcoming.

I was also impressed by the friendliness and sense of community, both at the table, and later in our allocated groups. Iain, the minister, also came across as being very likeable and approachable as he introduced that week’s Nicky Gumbel video.

I stayed on the course for the rest of the year, enjoying both the videos and the discussions which followed. Iain also made free copies of NG books available to the attendees, and I devoured both Questions of Life and Searching Issues.

If I had one reservation about the videos it was that they contained the same weekly cast of well heeled young people. Not a demographic Glasgow audiences would find much in common with.

But the saving grace, for me, were the extended interviews with people from the “wrong side of the tracks”. These included a convicted football hooligan called David Jeal who found God and became an ordained minister.


My own journey is still continuing, but I now attend Sunday services at a church close to my home. What else did I learn? Well, there’s not much I don’t know about David and Norma’s dog Yardley

Alan C