I was brought up in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, in a non-Christian family, my father died when I was quite young and my mother raised us with very little help. I have five brothers and five sisters, how she did it I don’t know, but I had a very happy childhood. Christmas was a very special time for me, we couldn’t afford much, but mam always managed to fill our stockings, my sisters were all older than me and made it such a special time for us. So I grew up loving Christmas, at school I was told about God and the meaning of Christmas, so it is not surprising that I always knew that there was something or someone better in this world, someone that I knew would always look out for me – the mysterious Lord.
We lived in a council house in the 1950’s and had an outside toilet, it was the bane of my life as I was frightened of the dark. In the wintery dark nights it was a haunt of monsters and ‘bogey men’ I used to ask my younger brother Ronnie to wait at the door, keeping it open, but he always scarpered and the door would close and the shadows would come to life. In desperation I taught myself a little prayer, “Lord save me from all unknown dangers and dangers I cannot face,” I kid you not, the fear left me, and the toilet wasn’t as dark – I could see! I prayed that prayer for years, it was almost a mantra, until the fear of the dark left me. Many years later when I was in my forties, I was on my knees next to the bed in tears, God had blessed me so much that day, I was asking Him why – “why was He being so good to me – I must have done something wonderful to deserve all this?” His answer was simple, He said “God save me from all unknown dangers” and we finished it together, “and dangers I cannot face.” He was telling me that He had heard the frightened prayer of a bairn in a dark toilet of a council house in a little village on the Northumbrian Coast – Praise Him.
Looking back I can with hindsight see how much The Lord watched over me, He never gave up on me. I married and lived in Scarborough for some years, had two children, a boy and a girl. I really forgot about God, then in 1980 my marriage failed and I found myself down south in London Colney missing my wife and children terribly. Marriage breakup is awful, you really despise yourself, inevitably you blame yourself. I used to wake up with the sound of my children’s laughter ringing in my ears only to find that they weren’t there, it was like waking into a nightmare – I just wanted it to end. This went on for weeks, I was dying by inches, in desperation I found an old Gideon New Testament that I had been given at school and it fell open at Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart.” I thought to myself “I must qualify for this,” and He was there immediately and picked me up like a little child and comforted me. I was with Him for two weeks and he tapped me on the head and sent me back into the world, it took me six years, six long years to find my way back to Him.
Six years later I was a student in Finchale College in Durham, I was searching and an Apostolic Pastor called Ian Meldrum had taken me under his wing. I was on fire for The Lord, but I was really frustrated, I had been trying to get myself ready for salvation, I was stopping drinking and gambling and all the other things which were holding me back – well I was trying to. But it wasn’t working, I was failing miserably. Anyway Easter 1988 was fast approaching and I decided to have a weekend down in Scarborough to see my kids. Good Friday found me in a little Anglican church in Eastfield with my little lad, I found myself standing looking at a picture window showing Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross for Jesus, the church was empty and I can remember whispering “I wish I had been there for you Lord.” The very next Sunday I was walking the eight miles from the college to the church in Easington Lane, it was a beautiful day and as I walked I chatted away to The Lord, I had an ‘epiphany’ I asked Him if He would take me just the way I was, with all my lumps and bumps, - I had finally asked Him the right question.
Arriving at church, it was packed, and I was beginning to get butterflies. I sat down and the speaker was introduced, a fellow from Darlington called Goundry. He stood up and immediately began to say how much he was looking forward to the service because God had told him someone was going to get saved. He went on to tell us that the subject he was speaking on was Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross for Jesus. That was all the confirmation that I needed, boy, did I want to get out of there, panic was setting in, the thought of standing up in front of all those people was terrifying. He preached the sermon and asked for anyone to come forward to receive Jesus – I was rooted to the spot, he appealed again and I felt terrible, I had waited all these months and was going to miss my chance, then the thought came to me, that there would be a time of prayer and the elders usually asked for people to put up their hands when everyone else had their eyes closed and they would speak to them after the meeting. You know that I had no sooner thought of this way out, when Mr Goundry spoke up, “God is telling me that He doesn’t want this man putting up his hand, He wants him down here at the front” I wasn’t feeling at all well, I was so sure that after all this time I had waited and strove I was going to miss my chance. Then the speaker said the words, “Simon of Cyrene was the wrong Simon to carry the cross for Jesus, it should have been Simon Peter, he missed his chance, don’t you!” I was released, it was wonderful, the fear left and I floated down to the front, The Father smiled at me and I have never looked back.
I took my degree in Biblical Theology at Mattersey and went into Christian work with a mission to the armed forces called Sandes, then I was manager at a Christian Retreat centre in Scotland (Kilravock Castle) Life for a Christian is so exciting.
Since becoming a Christian I have wondered how I managed without Jesus in my life, the answer is badly, He’s wonderful, awesome and new every morning, look at the world, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and Scottish Nationalism, its frightening, so much evil in the world, with God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost “The things of Earth do grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. Praise Him!
Our new Women of Action group commenced in January of this year. Aiming for the women of the church to build each other up spiritually and to reachout into the community around us to ensure that the Gospel message is heard and understood. The group is facilitated by Sue Farr and the meetings are held monthly, generally on the last friday of the month with a few exceptions.
We are holding a Good Friday Service at our Church commencing from 11:00am till 1:00pm, this is for the free churches in Ashington. Hot drinks will be served prior to the start of the meeting. Worship and the Word will then be delivered.
We held a Nigerian Evening in the Church on Saturday the 17th of February. A wonderful night of Nigerian Worship, Culture, food and fellowship was had by all, led by the Akinsola Family. Pictures below.
Our Friday Diner at church is on the last Friday of every month from 12:00 till 2:00pm. Soup and sandwiches and a range of other hot meals will be available for each of the coming months. This is an outreach for those who may be lonely, or who maybe are just in need of company. There is no charge for the food but donations are welcomed.
The Lent Services this year will be our own in the church for six weeks starting from Thursday the 15th of February, from 6 till 7. We will be focussing upon the Beattitudes for the six week period. Rev Michael Hedley and Pastor Ayodeji Akinsola will be sharing the teaching over these six weeks.
The ordination service of Rev Michael Hedley took place on Saturday the 25th of November 2017. It was led by Phil Hartshorn the WRU President of 2017/18, with input from Rev Ian Fall chair of the ministerial committee. It was a wonderful day for all concerned. A very special privelege that this service was delivered in our home church and not as it is usually done at conference. Thanks to all who participated and a heartfelt thanks for the wonderful gifts that you have given us both
Reverend Michael & Lindsey Hedley.
We welcome back once again our great friend and brother in Christ Pastor Ayodeji Akimsola as he went back to Nigeria to minister at his home Church, the Charis Family International Church in Basorun. He has now returned to the UK to our church and it is lovely to see him again. We are planning a Nigerian worship, food and fellowship night on the 17th of February.
Once again this year it was a great priviledge for our rapidly growing Church Family to witness yet another baptism. Gordon gave his life to Jesus in July earlier this year and he went through the waters of baptism at Bedlington Trinity Church. A fantastic time was had by all and we truly rejoice that his life is now heading in a new Holy Spirit filled direction.
We have commenced a new Parent Toddler Group in the church in Ashington starting on Thursday 5th October The Tiny Rainbows Toddler Group is held on every Thursday morning apart from School holidays from 10:30 - 12:00.
We held a Baptism Service on Saturday May 27th at Bedlington Trinity Church for Caroline Taylor who joined our fellowship earlier this year. We had a wonderful time in God's presence and the service went so well. Pictures of the event are below this text.
The property adjacent to our church number 73 North Seaton Road which is currently a dwelling house and in need of refurbishment can now be utilised as The Word of Life Mission House.
Work will begin soon to refurbish the building ready for it to be used for our outreach programmes.
Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday and forever
This is not just breaking news, it is the news from yesterday, today and tomorrow and guess what? It is forever. Hallelujah!!!!!
Contact us at:
Word of Life Church
Wesleyan Reform Union
North Seaton Road, Ashington Northumberland NE63 0AG
Tel: 01670 814425
Mobile 07879253072 Michael
Or use our online contact form.
Our new range of Christian Greetings Cards and encouragement scripture cards are now available to purchase from us on this website and also in church
Check here for visiting guest speakers in the coming weeks and months