14th December - Adult converts

And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'

Matthew 25:40

I can't remember where I first came across this analogy, but it remains the best way I can think of to describe what it's like attending church as someone who was baptised and confirmed as an adult.

Imagine you decided to go and place a £1 bet in a betting shop. You just have to go inside, bet on a horse and potentially collect your winnings. Sounds dead simple, right? Now imagine you get inside the shop. Everyone else there is a regular. They look you up and down. What are they thinking? Your mind is full of questions. How do you place a bet? What does 7 to 1 odds mean? Who do I speak to? Who do I give my money to? How do I know how much I've won? This really doesn't seem like such a good idea after all. Perhaps I'll just go home and watch the Derby on the TV instead...

To those who were not brought up as church-going Christians, churches can be very strange places. Anyone can read the Bible to learn about Jesus, but there is no convenient handbook to explain 2,000 years of tradition. And trust me, even now several years after I was confirmed, I do occasionally still wonder if I just walked into that betting shop.

Alice Ambrose-Thurman was baptised and confirmed as an adult. She lives in the Diocese of Durham and is a regular churchgoer.

Daily prayer

Father, You have called us by name and made us Your own. May your churches be welcoming places for everyone, whether they were raised in the Faith or came to it as adults. Help us to build inclusive churches.


Lord, in this time of Advent open our hearts to those who feel excluded from Your church.
Help us draw in those on the margins and place them in the centre of our family.