worshipper, lover, dad, pastor, musician, politician… in that order
I began this blog at the beginning of my Sabbatical leave, July 2009. Normally I lead the team of elders & pastors who oversee CHURCH on the ROCK in Guernsey, Channel Islands.
My family have lived here for generations, being originally from the duchy of Normandy, just across the water to the east of us. There were certainly Le Tocqs fighting on William the Conquerors side when he invaded England in 1066. The earliest on-island record is of a ‘Jon Lestocq’ who lived around 800 years ago not 500 metres from where we live today at Cobo on the west coast. He features in an ancient Norman French poem – la Ballade d’Yvan de Galles. So presumably we are not a very adventurous family; either that or we found a good spot and stayed forever.
My parents adopted me when I was just 11 days old. I never knew my birth-mother, although I know now she was a underage teenager when she became pregnant, this would have been very difficult in 1964 in Guernsey but I would most likely have been a victim of the ‘morning after pill’ had this happened today. Nevertheless I could not have asked for better adoptive parents in Will and Millie. Remarkable, as they were in their early 50s when they adopted me – a miracle in itself – and although they had fostered several children, they were unable to have any of their own. They named me Jonathan – Hebrew for ‘gift of God’ – because to them, this is exactly what this new baby represented. I remind my wife of the meaning of my name often, but rarely does it seems to have the desired effect. Methodist on my Dad’s side, Baptist on my Mum’s I was brought up with a godly heritage of faith and mission. It was through my parents, when I was barely 5 years old that I first encountered Jesus as my Saviour.
Ours was a musical family, both parents played the piano and my father was organist at the local Methodist church. I grew up attending Methodist church and Sunday school in the morning, Mission Hall Sunday school in the afternoon (where my mum’s side of the family were leaders), Methodist church in the evening followed by after-church youth when I was a teenager. Also in my teens I attended an Anglican foundation school – Elizabeth College – where I became student organist for early morning chapel Monday to Friday and on Sundays, after which I would walk up the hill to play for the morning service at Ebenezer Brock Road Methodist church. Sundays were never really a restful day for us. But we did enjoy them!
Having studied in London and Paris in the mid 80s I married Judith and after a brief period living in Wimbledon we set up home in Guernsey, where I found myself working firstly in the Civil Service before becoming full-time senior pastor of the newly founded King’s Church in 1989. The church grew and in 1994 we purchased, refurbished and opened the former St Sampson’s Methodist Church which became The King’s Centre – our home base still today. The church changed its name to CHURCH on the ROCK in 2007 and is part of the Newfrontiers family of churches.
In 2000 I stood for (‘ran for’ if you’re from North America – we’re just not in so much of a hurry this side of the pond) and was duly elected as a Member of Guernsey’s parliament (Deputy in the States of Guernsey). As a Crown Dependency, Guernsey (along with Jersey and the Isle of Man) has its own autonomous government and these islands are not constitutionally represented in the UK parliament, but are part of the geographical entity known as the British Isles and also of the Commonwealth of Nations. After two terms in office and a stint as Deputy Treasury Minister I decided not to stand for re-election in 2008 in order to live as a better husband and father, to concentrate on raising up the next generation of leaders in the church, build a stronger commitment to church unity in the island and to be more involved in international mission and training.
Judith and I have a household of three daughters, (my Dad lived with us too for many years until he died in April 2011, aged 98), two cats, a regular selection of usually decapitated rodents (introduced to the family by our cats) and many regular visitors. We love entertaining, hosting parties, having guests to stay. We also like having time by ourselves. We have a share in a boat and are just beginning to like using it to find some anonymity now and then!