1965, the year that changed my life
Pamela’s eighth letter
1. Trevor Davies was a churchgoer, which Chris, Peter and I, up to January 1965, were not. (Chris was sometimes forced to go to Wignall Memorial Methodist Church, but got out of it whenever he could.) Trevor was “C of E” (Church of England); he went to St. John’s on the corner of Station Road and Stanah Road, Thornton.[more] but what I mainly remember is trying to witness to him after we had absorbed some of the preaching at Sharon and the Full Gospel Church, Fleetwood.
I suppose that Trevor could have thought that he had a thing or two to teach me, this upstart newcomer, this erstwhile rejecter of religion, and in fact he countered what I had to say about his need for salvation with the objection that he had done all that the church required: he had been baptised and confirmed. Our discussion got quite heated, but I was so sure that I was right that I was insistent, vehemently insistent, and when he raised objections I just shouted louder than he did. This is not a way of convincing someone that I could recommend today, to be so rude and depreciating of the other’s views, but at the time my sheer conviction and persistence won Trevor over; he came to our church and was “saved”.
3. It must have been very testing of Trevor’s tolerance — when we turned one of our parents-absent prayer sessions at my house into a “waiting meeting”[more] just for him — to have all these hands pushing and shoving down on him, and to have us calling on the Lord with such intensity of feeling. But eventually, we heard some words being uttered, muffled underneath this scrummage of hands and arms and bodies, and we cheered and rejoiced that he too had “got it”.
4. I considered it more than mere coincidence that the name of the house Trevor moved to was “Sharon”. In its spacious back garden was a fairly ornate wooden structure, square in plan, larger and less plain than a shed, more like a summerhouse. On the model of “Met as boys of twelve, grew up together, married sisters, were both converted”,[more] the next step for Chris and me was, obviously, “Became ministers, pray for the sick”; and presumably knowing that Sharon, Manchester, had started as an outbuilding in Barratt and Williams’s back garden at 69 Upper Chorlton Road, it was clear to me that the divinely appointed way ahead was to start holding meetings in the outhouse at Sharon, Thornton. I had a name for it; it would be called The Rose of Sharon.
There was only one hitch in the plan: when I stated to Trevor that that was what I was going to do, his parents also stated to him, quite unequivocally, “Oh no he’s not!” I considered them very “stiff-necked” and godless. They were not merely opposing me, they were opposing God!
5. My uncompromising assurance of vision and direction had its irksome effect on Chris, Peter and Trevor, too; when I was not present they would refer to me facetiously as “Pope John”.Pamela’s ninth letter
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