Manna interview: Inspiring Faith

13th December 2022

Mark Felstead Manna profile picture

What have been your faith influences?

I think two early influences are what I remember as significant in my childhood and young adulthood. As a child I went to a very good Sunday School where the teachers put their great talents and personal faith into teaching us about Jesus and developing a good knowledge of Bible stories. By about the age of ten, I think, I understood that Jesus wasn’t just someone to know stories about, but he is a living Saviour for us to have a relationship with. The second big influence was the Christian Union at university which was a great community that kept us growing in faith throughout the week. Looking back over a lifetime of involvement with different communities of faith, in England and abroad, I realise that my personal journey wouldn’t have been the same without the support and influence of those communities.

How do you sustain your faith?

Being a member of a local church has always been essential for me, including belonging to a small group that meets each week as well as weekly Sunday worship. I personally respond to the liturgy of the Anglican tradition, so it’s a real help at the moment to me to be able to meet with others for Morning Prayer regularly on Mondays and Saturdays. I also greatly value my Christian friends from other denominations and the opportunity to meet regularly to discuss the Bible and to pray together.

The six themes of the week spell out GROWTH? What has helped you grow in faith?

When I retired from my career in teaching four years ago I read all of Pete Greig’s outstanding books on prayer and they had a great impact on me, and led to setting up and developing a local network of praying friends across denominational boundaries. We have over 100 people signed up to our Facebook prayer group. I believe the knowledge that prayer is the foundation of the six themes of GROWTH helps us to put our reliance on God not just for our personal growth in faith, but for developing Christian communities of prayer.

What made you get involved in planning the Everyday Faith event?

I believe all Christians need ongoing help and encouragement in our journey of faith, so it’s great to be involved in a project that aims to provide people with help and inspiration through a wide range of shared testimonies and ideas. Creating an event which manages to speak to diverse Anglican traditions throughout the diocese is a challenge, but it is also motivated by a strong commitment to Christian unity.

What would you say to someone considering signing up to attend?

An important part of our mission is to grow together as worshipping communities, not just as  individuals. This event gives everyone who attends a privileged insight into the lives of our sisters and brothers throughout the diocese. There is always so much to learn from listening to and reflecting on the testimonies of other people - I can guarantee that we will all learn something!

Is there anything in particular that is exciting you about the week of activities?

I am excited by the possibility that many of us will grow in our care for the growth of others. I am praying that everyone will take away something from the week that will not only help them in their personal journey of faith and trust in God, but will inspire them to help others in their faith journey, too.

A shorter version of this interview features in the January 2023 issue of our Manna mailing. Find out more about our Manna mailing.

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