Most people at some stage in their lives feel as though there must be more and they begin to ask life's big questions. Does God really exist? If so, why does God allow suffering? And just what is God like?
Sometimes in our lives, we might experience fleeting moments when we feel that the universe makes sense in some overiding way. We feel that in some very miniscule way, we've caught a glimpse of what God is all about. Yet all too often, it's like catching a glimpse of someone out of the corner of our eye on a busy street and when we turn to look again, we find they have disappeared.
As Christians we believe that God made us in his image as spiritual beings and we also believe that we have been designed to be able to interact with God. It is clear that many people have a deep spiritual awareness of God's presence in the world and in their own lives, yet they struggle to make sense of it all.
If you have questions about God, or if you are trying to make sense of a spiritual encounter with God, then please do not feel that you are on your own. Here are several suggestions you might like to think about.
Sometimes we are given clues and signs about what to do next, sometimes it is simply a feeling of certainty that begins to grow through prayer. At other times people have found that reading the Bible is a wonderful way to learn about God and his plan for the world and that God speaks to them about their life and faith.
If you are wondering where to begin, try the opening chapter of Genesis (in the Old Testament) because that book explains how man's relationship with God was spoilt by Sin. Then perhaps think about following this up with reading the Gospel of Mark. The Gospels (in the New Testament) tell us how God sent his Son Jesus to live, die and be resurrected for us to restore our relationship with God.
Pray about it and try reading the Bible
If you are unsure whether you really believe or not, or whether joining a church is the right thing for you to do, pray to God and be honest in everything.
How to become a Christian
If you would like to explore this in a little more detail and you don't feel ready to chat to anyone in person yet, click here.
The Four Rooms
Click here to experience four different rooms, each one representing a different aspect of Jesus. Each room you visit has two audio tracks, the first is a meditation to engage your imagination and to inspire you to think further. The second audio track is a short synopsis of some bible evidence for these different aspects of one person: Sacrifice, King, friend and creator - corresponding to the four rooms -prison, sanctuary, workshop and hall.
This link will take you to an interesting site that has all sorts of links within it... Faith v science? Jesus in the movies... ...
Is God calling you into an ordained ministry?
If you would like more information there is a website aimed at young adults who are considering a vocation to public ministry - click here for the link - you'll find a wealth of excellent material, including an MP3 interview with Durham ordinand Emma Johnson. Many vocational journeys begin in childhood and we should not be afraid of encouraging teenagers to consider their calling. In the summer of 2009 two Durham ordinands were ordained, who first saw began really exploring their calling when they were 17.
Call the clergy & ask questions
Never be afraid to ask questions! Clergy, Ministers and church leaders from whatever denomination you choose, are there to help you find the answers you need, and are happy to answer your questions either in person or by telephone or e-mail.
Sometimes people reject the Church because they make assumptions about what Christians believe. These people are available to discuss the range of ideas that Christians have about many aspects of life and belief. Certainly, the Church of England is a broad church, and there is a lot of space for people with all sorts of different opinions.
Email Rev'd Vince Fenton now.
Come to a service
If you are interested in the Christian faith, the best thing you can do is to go and see it in action at a service in a church one Sunday. The service times for St. Catherine's are 10am and 6pm on Sundays and 10:30am every Wednesday. Come with an open mind, and be patient with what you find. Sometimes newcomers can find it difficult to follow what is happening but there will usually be someone nearby to help you (and please don't be afraid to ask). If you find that the service is helpful and interesting, you may have found the right place, but if not, don't give up: churches come in many different styles and types, and you may have to look around for the one that helps you grow in faith. So if it isn't us, please do have a chat with me, Rev'd Vince Fenton.
When you are ready to consider baptism or confirmation.
Baptism is the beginning of a person's formal journey within the family of God. It is a celebration of our acceptance of God's love for us, and it marks us out as children of God and members of the world wide Church.
Confirmation often comes later in the Church of England, and is an individual's confirmation of the promises that their parents and Godparents have promised at their baptism. If you are reading this and have any questions, then please don't hesitate to get in touch with me on (01388) 760939 or 07577 452766.