I will be sixty years old on the twentieth of June, this year.
Back when I was learning to be a priest at college, I occasionally peered into the future to discern my career in the service of Jesus Christ. I am not an ambitious person and I certainly have never craved high office. I never wanted to be anything other than a parish priest but I did have hopes and dreams. One dream was that, by the time I got to sixty years old, I would be the incumbent of a small, medieval, quaint village church somewhere very rural and very pretty, looking forward to retirement but still happy serving a congregation I love and care for and who love and care for me. Sadly, due to my suffering from clinical depression and the bigotry of Church of England bishops, this is not how things worked out. I was demoted, placed on short period contracts and finally sacked and thrown out of my home by a bishop who told me that a person with mental health problems should never be a parish priest. All my subsequent attempts to get my job back have failed and I have now been unemployed for nine years.
However, throughout my illness, the following years of insecurity and ever since, I have continued to believe that I was called by God to be a priest, just as the Church insisted I was convinced of when its representatives were testing my vocation. So, I had to find a different way of being a priest, outside of the Church and without its support.
That different way was to become an internet priest, originally through my blog, "Of Course, I Could Be Wrong..." and then, also on Facebook. I launched an online Christian community called Saint Laika's (after the Russian dog sent into space to die alone) and with the help of a few excellent colleagues, its Facebook page has been liked by nearly fifty thousand people and enjoys a truly international readership.
However, such pioneering ministry does not come with a salary, not even a small stipend. Fortunately, since starting out on the Saint Laika project, I have been supported by regular monthly donations from an exceedingly loyal and generous group of friends. This has given me about five hundred pounds to live on every month ($637). I survive, day to day on this, but I do have to also pay for the running costs of Saint Laika's as well as the big or unexpected bills that come along all too regularly. Therefore, twice a year, I run an appeal to raise funds to cover my debts and also provide me with a bit of spare cash for Christmas and summer holidays (which are always on British campsites with my wife and two border collies).
Therefore, my friends, I beg you (because I support my online ministry through what is nothing other than begging) to consider making a donation to help me continue my work. It is not what I anticipated doing at the age of sixty but, I am told, it is appreciated work and, at least, I am still being faithful to my calling.
Donations can be made via the PayPal widgets below either in U.S. dollars or British pounds. Just click on the relevant button and follow the instructions. You do not need your own PayPal account to do this.
Thank you so much for reading this far. God bless you, my friends.