1990s: New life

Gordon Harper reflects on 20 years with BPF

In 1979 I was greatly blessed by the prayer counselling ministry of "Wholeness Through Christ", when I became more self-aware and began a journey which eventually brought me into touch with Clinical Theology through my friend Joyce Charnock.

Consequently, the 1990s became very significant for me: at the beginning of the decade I began to attend the CT Seminars, first under the tutorship of Oliver and Jean Forshaw and a third year with Pat Lockley.

What attracted me to CT? Well, several things, including the acceptance and respect for me as a person that I received and the foundation of the faith which underpins all that Frank Lake was trying to teach about pastoral care and counselling. It was within this ethos that I was enabled to grow into the person I now am, with greater freedom to be accepting of myself and of the love of God. For many years I had been aware of just how ill-equipped I was for the work that came my way as I ministered in the parishes in my care in Rotherham and Bolton. Clinical Theology provided what I needed and I remain grateful for all that I learned in the seminars.

The next significant step came when the former General Director, the Rev. Peter van de Kasteele, invited Joyce Charnock and myself to become tutors and we have been very grateful to be able to draw on the valuable experience of the Forshaws, who are our course supervisors.

We conducted our first Initial Module in 1998 with sixteen people in the group. Was I nervous? Definitely, as I tried to scale Maslow¹s Hierarchy of needs and look through Johari¹s window and hope the group members knew what I was on about!

Now we have the privilege of taking two groups through to the completion of Modules One and Two and a third group will complete Module Two in the autumn of this year. We have a substantial group waiting to do Module Three and more waiting to begin the Initial Module. It is all very exciting because Joyce and I believe we are passing on something that is very valuable and an excellent gift to the church for its ministry of bringing people to the life and wholeness that is in Jesus Christ.

Read more about the history of BPF:
1960s: Gaining acceptance
1970s: Grappling with the disciplines
1980s:Grappling with the disciplines