Full name: David (Dave) Turner.
Occupation: Litigation Team Leader, Insurance.
Home town: Copthorne, near East Grinstead
Wants to be when he grows up: An impact sub off the bench for Chelsea.
Favourite memory: Toss up between looking down the isle on his wedding day to Melinda, the birth of their daughter Abi, or the arrival on these shores of Roman Abramovich.
Best Album & Movie: Level 42 World Machine, Godfather trilogy or High School Musical
Religious affiliation: None, it’s ok for them to believe what they want, just try to be happy, try to be good.
Chapter 1 – Unsaved Dave meets Ian
Looking back, Dave realised that he had not been near to a church since school Harvest Festival, October ’83, where he had got into some considerable trouble for rearranging the fruit & vegetables in an inappropriate display on the table near the altar. It had been worth it for the playground kudos which followed, but kind of put him off religion for a while.
Dave wasn’t unhappy, loved his wife & daughter, enjoyed his weekends & holidays – but his ideas about church began to change that Monday morning by the drinks machine in the office.
Ian seemed ok, liked his football, didn’t dress like a geek, didn’t blush deeply when he had to talk to a girl. In short, he showed none of Dave’s ‘tell tale signs of religion’, & yet when Dave asked him what he’d been up to at the weekend, Ian uttered the incredible words…’We were at Church!’
They chatted for a while, long enough for Dave to realise this wasn’t the Parish church that he’d been to as a boy, where they now only allow tinned food at Harvest. This was something altogether different, & talking about it, Ian almost seemed…well, happy. The fact that Ian could go to church with his family & come away feeling positive about himself was one of the things that Dave later realised had got under his skin.
It just seemed to gather a pace of its own from there really. Dave & Ian found themselves at the same Squash club, so began hanging back for a beer & a natter on Wednesdays after the game, unless it was Champions League night, in which case they just watched the game with the other guys in the bar. Ian didn’t push it at all, but Dave noticed that he was intrigued by Ian, by the little things he said, or didn’t say. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but by the time Ian suggested that Dave & Melinda come round to his & Sam’s for a meal, it just seemed the right thing to do.
Actually, they were in a bit of a flap that Friday evening. Dave & Mel never got invited out. Well, there were always works dos & dreadful, dire family gatherings – but apart from that they realised that they never just met up with friends. Did they really have any close friends any more? Did they even have a babysitter? In fact, Dave would never say it out loud, he realised he was pretty lonely & was rather enjoying the beer & conversation with Ian.
Sitting at the table after the meal, whilst Ian & Sam filled the dishwasher, they’re amazed to have been asked, & even more intrigued by Ian & Sam. Again, it’s hard to pin down, but they just seem very much in love, the way they talk about their family, the stories they tell about their friends. As they all loosen up over coffee in the lounge, the laughter comes, the stories get funnier, & yet some of the things they say about their life together & the God stuff are a whole new language for Dave.
Dave didn’t know it at the time, but he was already being hugely impacted by Jubilee Church, the place Ian & Sam were a part of. He hadn’t been through their doors yet, hadn’t had their welcome, hadn’t heard their preaching, nor had he read their vision & values on the website – but he had made friends with Ian & Sam. Because Ian & Sam had caught it, Dave does get the Jubilee welcome through their hospitality. Dave does hear the preaching in the simple life stories Ian & Sam share around the table. Dave does soak up their values like a sponge as he watches Ian & Sam. They are just like him & Mel, facing all the same challenges, going through all the same stuff in life, & yet they seem authentically happy & secure, content even.
Next....Chapter 2. Unsaved Dave's Doorway.