Will and Ellie Bedford and their two daughters moved from Oxfordshire to Millford Grange in Washington last year. We caught up with Ellie recently.
We can’t even remember how we stumbled across this place. It was as if we were just sent this way. We feel sure that God brought us here to this wonderful community, to strengthen our faith, and that is exactly what has happened, and we are starting to feel at home here now.
Will and I could not have had more different faith journeys. Although I attended a C of E primary school, and went to church for special occasions, I would never have called myself a Christian. I always believed in God – that wasn’t in doubt – but I was reluctant to put myself into any particular faith category. But as I grew older, whenever I was under stress, I would find myself in an Anglican church, simply because it was familiar.
Will, on the other hand, hailed from an impressive family of missionaries and theologians. Despite this background, he too spent many years at first rejecting Christianity, and later simply unsure of his beliefs. It wasn’t until our daughters were born that we started thinking about faith more deeply. When they were small, about 4 and 2 years old, I realised how important it was to bring them up with faith and to belong to a local church, and I really wanted to be part of a community.
So, for the next seven years, we attended our local church and we loved our community there. It was a real period of growth for both of us, and I finally felt I could call myself a Christian. At that time, we became great friends with one of my work colleagues who helped Will to examine his beliefs and eventually he also came to faith.
We have been attending both Ashington and Washington Churches as we love the different types of services. Our Church in Oxfordshire was very small and traditional – much like the Washington services which were familiar to us. Ashington services are like nothing I have ever been to before! But now they feel as familiar to me as though I had been there all my life, and the facilities for the children are amazing! Our daughters are really developing friendships and it’s lovely to see.
We’ve experienced amazing changes since moving here, and there have been many moments of the miraculous. When I first moved here I had a really difficult time emotionally and physically, but I was left in a state of severe anxiety. After speaking with James [The Rector] and going to the healing evenings, the anxiety just lifted off, and I was able to deal with things through totally different eyes! I also believe that some of my unexplained illness which was baffling the doctors, which had caused enlarged lymph glands, started to reverse after attending a healing evening at Washington Church. Although it wasn’t overnight, each time I went back for my monitoring scans, they were slowly but surely shrinking!
We feel that something very special is happening in this part of West Sussex, and are excited to see what happens next!