Tim Ford, 24, has cerebral palsy and is a permanent wheelchair user. He uses an assisted speaking device, prays regularly, and lives a full and rich life. Read more about his story here.
Born in Papua New Guinea, where his mum and dad worked, Tim’s family moved back to the UK when he was 18 months old. Growing up in Stokenchurch, Tim knew God saved his life when he was born. He asked Jesus into his life aged four, with the help of his eight-year-old brother.
Tim was baptised by full immersion and later confirmed in St Peter and St Paul’s, Stokenchurch. “I was keen to get confirmed as I felt God was calling me to help in the Church of England and this was the next step,” says Tim, who lives partly with his mum Heather and stepdad John, and partly in a residential facility in Colchester.
Faith helped sustain Tim and his family, especially when his dad died in 2005. The family were able to process their loss and grief together, in the year before Tim moved from a mainstream primary to a specialist boarding school.
“Help from the chaplain at the school encouraged me in my faith as a teenager, and God brought him to me at one of the hardest times when I was depressed because of the bad treatment I got from someone,” says Tim.
In his mid-teens, Tim had a picture of a basket full of bread and felt God wanted him to ‘feed the world’. He responded later by starting an email Thought for the Day. For two years Tim wrote for a church magazine and he regularly preaches in Colchester. He plans to do a preaching course, is about to get his own blog and is doing Christian Studies and counselling courses.
Heather says that Tim has always had a pastoral heart and invites ministers of all denominations home to hear their stories and encourage them.
“I want to help the church to learn more about what God is saying to us through studies about the mind and the value of talking about our problems,” says Tim, speaking through a computer, linked to the headrest on his wheelchair.
Tim supports the hospitals in Oxford using his insights as a service user. Six years ago, major surgery meant spending a week in intensive care. There he had a glimpse of heaven and once again felt that God has a purpose for his life.
Tim’s hobbies include cooking with the help of carers, reading adventure novels, shopping, collecting teddy bears and making greetings cards. So what is the key to Tim’s strong faith in the face of his disabilities?
“I see God as a source of strength, rather than resenting him. Looking beyond today is important. Being in a wheelchair means I am dependant on other people, but it means my life is enriched because I get to meet all of these different people,” he says.
We featured Revd Katie Tupling, Diocesan Disability Advisor. Read Katie’s story and hear her in conversation with Bishop Steven..
3RD OCTOBER 2019