From the Far East to Somerset

29th September 2022

 As a child Mark McKnight grew up in Thailand where his parents were missionaries. At the   age of ten he went to boarding school   in   India and it was whilst a boarder far from home that   Mark first felt his own faith growing and developing. “I found it really hard   being   away from   home. I had grown up in a Christian family and then all of a sudden, I was away from them.   But even at the age   of ten I   had a sense that I had a choice; that it was either real to me   without my family present, or just this thing that the family   did. “At that   point I grew into my   own faith, drawing strength from God when I was lonely and missing home.”

 After boarding school Mark came to England to do his A levels and later went on to study for   his degree in media production, before returning to Thailand to work as a videographer for a Christian media company. In 2004 Thailand was devastated by a tsunami, thousands were killed, or badly injured, many thousands more lost their homes and livelihoods. As a videographer Mark was assigned to fly to the worst hit areas to document what had happened. “I saw things I’ll never expected to see in my life; the huge loss of life and tragedy was all very fresh and raw. 

“Every month we would travel down to see how the recovery work was progressing; seeing and meeting families as they slowly rebuilt their lives and I also saw the impact that that had on the church. In the aftermath of the tsunami many people came to faith through the tragic experiences they had been through; they found solace in God and that was exciting for me to see - fruit in the midst of such a tragedy. Finding comfort in God impacted my view of church, you never know what God is doing in the background.”

All the time he worked in Thailand Mark felt God was calling him to something different. After the tsunami he came back to England, did a theology degree, and became an RE teacher. A job he did for ten years before he began his ordination training. “I am really grateful for all the experiences I’ve had, none of them are wasted, they really form us.”

Mark will be a curate in Benefice of Curry Rivel with Fivehead and Swell, and says he is looking forward to exploring how we make church an easier place for people of all ages to be and to find God in those spaces and to explore how as a church we can serve our communities particularly for young people and in a rural context.”


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