My godmother told me…


Part of the Come and See series. Stepping out of the familiar showed Matthew something he could truly be part of.

Someone at a festival told me…


Nour tells the moving story of how she was first invited to come and see who Jesus really is, and what that could mean for her.

Alpha told me…


Dom and Katie’s powerful testimony is the first in a series of Come and See short films from the Diocese of Oxford.

Out of the woods

People share their journey to faith.

A lady in a dark dress told me…

That was the day I first realised that Jesus called me to be his child. An old lady, whose name I don’t know, loved Jesus and told a little four-year-old girl about the one who loves her most.

Jean, Charis, Kay and many others…


“Is that all you’ve done?” I heard the Sunday school teacher’s disappointment at how little of her lesson I’d got through. I didn’t like school at the best of times, so aged eight I decided that going on a Sunday was daft.

Three years later, aged 11, my mum coaxed me to give it another go because she wanted me to ‘learn about Jesus’. I distinctly remember saying ‘no’ at first, simply because it was snowing and I wanted to play outside on a Sunday morning. But this was a different church, a nicer Sunday school, and spending time with my fun Auntie Jean, who was heavily involved at St Peter’s, boosted my enthusiasm. I’d always believed in God, but at a young age had decided church wasn’t the place to find him. Through St Peter’s I began to encounter something of what I believe to be the Holy Spirit. I learnt a lot about faith and made a personal commitment by getting confirmed aged 13.

However, what had been a lively, charismatic, spirit-filled  Anglican church dwindled and I was a loss as to why God would allow that to happen. The worship and teaching felt dry and I struggled to connect. It felt like a blow and sent me on a journey that would see me attempt to reject organised religion altogether.

As a student, then a trainee reporter, I still had a personal faith, but my church attendance was sporadic. However, I always had a sense that God’s hand was on my life and that I would re-connect with church at some point. At the same time, part of my newspaper work involved reviewing gigs and collating the entertainment pages.  This meant a ‘party’ lifestyle that didn’t lend itself to getting up early on Sundays. When a born-again Christian joined the team of ‘work hard play hard’ 20-something journalists I was part of in Basingstoke, I was afraid of being judged. As it happened, Charis and I became great friends. It was one Sunday morning when I had managed to get up as I wanted to go into the office to make sure all the copy was ready for the sub-editors the following day. When I’d finished writing and proofing, I thought: “Duckles, if you can get up and come  to work on a Sunday, you can go to church.” I phoned Charis and went with her to the Vineyard where she worshipped.

Moving from Basingstoke to Hull, I continued to sporadically worship in Vineyards until I moved to Oxford, aged 27. Breaking to my new housemates that I was church-shopping, Kay invited me to join her at St Aldate’s. For seven years I didn’t look back, making lots of friends and loving the teaching and lively worship. I still have lots of friends in Oxford that I made during that time. I later moved on to hOME, an experimental Anglican community, based in east Oxford. The journey continues…

As told to Pathways by Jo Duckles