Remember that bike helmet? Paul and Sue Hazelden are moving to Bristol this summer. Stranger things have happened...
"At first sight, we appear a relatively normal family: two parents and three children - all boys - Alan (11), Philip (9) and Ian (7). The first thing you notice is probably the level of sound: they are capable of talking at a conventional volume, but don't feel the need to prove it too often. They are all bright, sometimes charming, and very much individuals. Paul and Sue each blame that on the other, and are probably both right.
"Paul and Sue both grew up in South East London, a few streets away from each other. Sue was in Charlton (a 'nice' area, despite the football club) and Paul in Woolwich (decidedly down market). We met at the local Anglican church, firstly in the Sunday School there. Paul attended under sufferance, being much happier at the local Baptist Sunday School where they did real Bible Study. We met... and passed like ships in the night.
"A few years later, Sue had been to Durham University, obtained a degree in Theology (specialising in ancient languages) and returned to work in London. Paul had gone South, and increased his uniqueness by being the only person ever to gain a degree in Mathematics with Philosophy from Surrey University. Paul was helping to plan a mission at the university, and went to an evangelistic play in London, which Sue was attending with people from her church. We met again, and exchanged addresses.
"A few years further on, after Paul had spent some time in Finland, Sue moved to Guildford, and we found ourselves doing various things - leading a housegroup, drama in the Civic Hall as part of a mission with Eric Delve, running weekend houseparties (like a retreat, but less quiet!) and other educational and training events. And somewhere in that, we got married, and the boys came along.
"Slowly, the focus of our activities has shifted. We have always been very committed to the local church and our housegroup, but the Great Commission has become more and more important. It does not matter that we are not natural evangelists - the important questions is, what can we do to play our part to ensure the Church goes to the people who need to hear?
"For us, for now, this involves moving to Bristol, to be part of the Snowball training programme. We will be moving away from friends we have known for nearly a quarter of a century, and giving up the security of a job in computing (with the millennium bug about to hit, some people may consider this a timely move!) but we are confident that the God who found us and has cared for us so far will not be far away, even in the depths of Bristol!"