I was born on 19 June, 1954 in Christchurch, New Zealand. That is where my story begins. My parents were Jean Ching and Walter (known as Wally) Ching. My ancestry, from its various sources, is English, Scottish, and Danish, so I am a pure-bred mongrel.
My mother`s mother was a Christadelphian. My mother`s father, however was a Presbyterian, and Mum’s older siblings went to a Presbyterian Sunday School. This arrangement stopped suddenly when he found out some of the younger of them had been taught at Sunday School that people came from monkeys. After this, he decided that these younger children could go to the Christadelphian Sunday School.
My father`s family, and thus my father when he was young, were not Christadelphians at all. If they were anything, I think they were Baptist. I have only very vague memories of my grandfather. My father was a soldier in the 2nd NZEF, serving mainly in Egypt and Italy. After he came back from the War, he met my Mum, and they got married in a Presbyterian church in Christchurch. They were not happy there, and Mum re-sought her Christadelphian origins, after coming into contact with a sister in the ecclesia at her workplace. (Christadelphians call each other “brother” or “sister.”)
Soon after, she and Dad were baptised at the Bible Hall ecclesia in Christchurch. One of my cousins meets there now. There are now a number of Christadelphian groups (or ecclesia’s as they are called) in Christchurch, just as there a number of ecclesia’s in individual cities throughout the world, particularly in England, Australia, and Canada.
The Christchurch Christadelphian “Old Paths” ecclesia was the one in which I grew as a young child, and attended its Sunday school, until I was age 12. It was where my parents attended. At that time, my Mum and Dad decided, for several reasons, to move to Wellington.
Although I loved the Christchurch ecclesia as a child, and still have very fond memories of my life and of the people there, it was in Wellington that I lived as a teenager. I remember one brother who was always asking me, “Have you had any adventures lately?” It was in Wellington that I attended the “Youth Circle” (CYC), and I formed additional lasting friendships that exist till this day, despite the fact that me and some of them have moved to other locations.
Both the Christchurch and Wellington ecclesiae were places in which I felt accepted, safe, loved, and cared for. There was also a time when my Mum, Dad, and I spent almost 2 years living in Tauranga, and Mum and Dad (with me in tow) met frequently with the Waikato ecclesia, located in Hamilton.
My belief in God has always been strong. I was baptized in Wellington, on the 9th August, 1972. I would have been aged 18. It was in the bathroom of an ecclesial member’s house. (I had the occasion to revisit that house when I returned to New Zealand for a short vacation in 2013, but I did not enter the bathroom. It had been remodeled!). I have travelled to many places both in New Zealand and overseas, and am now located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. I have no regrets at all in becoming a baptised Christadelphian.
In my next post, I hope to explain some of “why I am a Christadelphian,” and why my faith has grown, and why I continue to be one. I have learned:-
• That life can supply surprising twists and turns
• That you can end up in places that you never dreamed of
• That despite the above, God is with you wherever you go
• That even the worst times can be a pathway to the best
• That what God leads you to, he will bring you through.