A life of service to St James’ Church

Every Wednesday it is wonderful to hear real-life stories of faith from the real-world people who worship God at St James’, St Bartholomew’s and Shred Churches. The purpose behind sharing these experiences is two-fold:

  • One one had it helps us to talk about our faith as we practice, and share it with others – it gives us confidence in our own faith and in the reality of what we believe.
  • On the other hand it helps others to feel more confident about their faith. We have had stories from within the community of both EUREKA moments and of lifelong faith which was kindled at Sunday School and has remained obediently faithful throughout life.

Faith is such a personal thing, and yet we are called to be vulnerable and allow others to hear what we believe. Today we are invited into Stuart’s story. Stuart has faithfully served the church community at St James’ and is currently the Treasurer.

… Stuart writes

Susan and Stuart
Stuart, seen here with Susan, shares his lifelong faithful service to St James’ Church

I was born on the 11th February 1943 to devoted Christian parents, my mother had been brought up in Linthwaite and attended Christ Church until her marriage; my father had been through all the various classes at St. James’ Slaithwaite, been a choirboy and at the time of his death was a Churchwarden.

With all the above connections it was obvious that I would attend Sunday School:- Sunday morning in Church 9.45 a.m. before 10.30 a.m. Matins for adults and the hymn that stands out in my mind was Ancient & Modern number 334 “Loving Shepherd of Thy Sheep” which we sang on a regular basis. All this was followed in the afternoon at 2 p.m. by lessons in the then Church National School next door.

I was a choirboy for a number of years also a member of 33rd St. James’ Huddersfield Scout Group.
As I got older we had at that time a Church Youth Group that went on various visits; three of which stay in my memory were to Shuttle Eye Mine (crawled across the coal face), C.I.D. in Wakefield and the Daily Express Offices in Manchester. Also at that time, we the young people, resurrected the Tennis Club which ran very successfully for a number of years. All this coupled with Church services would hopefully extend young people’s faith (not always successful).

I was confirmed in March 1956 by the Bishop of Pontefract and somehow or other as I and others got older we became Sunday School teachers. At that time our Sunday School Superintendent was Seth Whitehead, a man small in stature but with a big heart and a strong Christian ethic – someone you should try to emulate.

During my lifetime I have seen seven Vicars at Slaithwaite but the one that stands out most, making you think about your faith, was Rev. M.B. Harper – he and his wife Valerie were very much involved with the Sunday School and Valerie started a Young Wives’ Group. Whilst he was Vicar here 3 young men became Priests and one a Church Army Officer.

Most of my contemporaries have left Slaithwaite and the Colne Valley but as I stayed here and continued to attend St. James’, I seem to have held most offices, some jobs more difficult than others.

I have never had what you would call a EUREKA moment, but I think about the Ten Commandments and try to live by them (not always succeeding). If more people adhered to these basic principles, I think the world would be a better place. I listen to the words and music of Handel’s Messiah and look at the countryside and think how fortunate I am to be on God’s earth.


  1. Lovely to hear of your Christian upbringing Stuart – and thank you for your dedication to the church

  2. Thank you Stuart . I echo the huge influence that a Christian upbringing with at least one committed parent and a supportive church can have on a child. Becoming a disciple is not automatic of course, we have to make our choices as Stuart has. I made mine , whilst my brother became a committed atheist. But there’s so much of Stuart’s experience I and many others share.

  3. Stuart your faith story reminded me so much of my family and our relationship with God. There was no big fuss or revelation just a fundamental belief and acceptance that God was an integral part of life. We prayed together and were taught Christian values through example. The Christian family needs many kinds of people to do God’s work and all are equally precious to him.

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