Jean worships at St Oswald's, Flamborough, and joined Stepping Up in Bridlington when approached by Jane, her vicar.


Jean's Story

Hello, I’m Jean from the Stepping Up group in Bridlington and this is part of my story.

Born in Selby in 1940, I had a happy childhood growing up with one brother eight years younger than me. We weren’t well off but we always had enough food to eat. Baptised there at three weeks old, I grew up with Selby Abbey. I loved Sunday school, and remember our new outfits at Whitsun when all the Sunday Schools joined together to walk round Selby, the little ones riding on a decorated lorry. I was confirmed by Archbishop Ramsey, and became a Sunday School teacher with 3 and 4 year olds. I was on the rota for the breakfast club after the Sunday Eucharist each week – I loved the Abbey.

I got married there, to my husband Chris, in 1964. Being a Sunday School teacher I got the big West door opened for free for my wedding (it usually cost brides £5!). We moved away from Selby to a village near Leeds and I got a job where I worked weekends, and life took over – I drifted away from the church, often thinking about it, and then watching Songs of Praise, but that was all.

After happy caravan holidays in Flamborough, we decided to move here when Chris retired and I was made redundant. We could see St Oswald’s church over the field, and I heard the bells. I thought of going but didn’t, it had been forty years since I drifted away and I didn’t know how to go back.

When my husband Chris died he had only been poorly for three weeks, he had lung cancer. I wanted him to have a church funeral, it was at St Oswald’s. It didn’t really hit me until one day in the shop when Peter (the Vicar then) asked me how I was, it set me off and he came to see me. He said ‘Why don’t you come to church, you will be made most welcome?’ But I’d been away a long time, since my Selby Abbey days, I didn’t know how to go back. I waited three more weeks – then suddenly decided to go Easter Sunday 2008. My legs froze when I got to the door, but a group of people came up behind me, so I had to move – forwards or backwards! I went forward into church for Easter Day, and I’ve been going ever since, fourteen years now. Everybody really did make me welcome.

Over the years I’ve done all sorts of things – sidesperson welcomer, PCC member, reading in church, bell-ringing and ringing the Sanctus Bell, Fellowship group, Mothers’ Union…. We are starting up Coffee and Chat and our Community lunches, which we haven’t had since the pandemic started. I love helping with the hospitality, welcoming people. I love St Oswald’s – it’s my other family now, they are great friends there. We are part of the Headland Benefice, and do meet with the other churches as well.

When Mustard Seed Stepping Up was going to start in Bridlington, our vicar Jane asked if I would like to join it – I did and I really enjoy it. We have a great group, and I have a lovely lady as my mentor. I enjoy hearing how other churches worship, and I like the different things we learn each week. When I am doing things in church in makes me feel near to God. I can feel his presence around me. We shared a lot about how we listen to God, and live our faith in the Stepping Up group.

I’m really glad to be helping with coffees and lunches again. We also had a flower festival, it was good to welcome people to church and show something about God in creation – All things bright and beautiful was the theme. God is in our life together here. Mustard Seed Stepping Up – yes, I’ll give it a go! And now I’m stepping up to new role - joining the team of servers in the sanctuary, feeling close to God in the worship. I was a long time away, and I’m home again now. I try to show to others the welcome and friendship shown to me when I came here.


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