Until he was fourteen, John Cook of Birmingham, had no particular interest in the Church. In fact, he very rarely attended. This week, he arrived in Burton Latimer as the town’s new Church Army Captain.
The captain who is 24, has been in the Church Army four years.
He spent two years in training and went to Chelsea for his first appointment. He was at Chelsea for two years before moving to Burton.
Captain Cook’s arrival will mean that there will be a permanent preacher at St Mary’s Mission Hall, and this will end the need for lay preachers to undertake the duty.
Captain Cook, who arrived on Monday, said he felt he was in a friendly atmosphere among Burton people.
He will be in direct touch with all the church’s organisations, and hopes to keep also in contact with youth leaders in the diocese.
It was when he attended a youth club, which had an epilogue, that his thoughts turned to religion.
“At the age of 16, I felt that God was calling me to go out and work for the Church.” He said.
He applied for training with the Church Army. During that training, the captain marched through a part of the county on a crusade from Oxford to Cleethorpes.
Will there be any changes made by the captain?
“There are minor changes. I hope to fit in without disturbing the people too much,” he said.
One of the things the captain is keen on is holding open-air services.
“It is a good way of meeting the people and we will be taking the church to them in this way.”
Captain Cook’s first function in the town was attending the church’s youth group, which opened on Tuesday.