My Faith Story by Tony Dougherty

Written by Tony on the occasion of his election to serve as a Deacon beginning in August 2011

I grew up in a Church of England church. I say grew up in, what I really mean is that I went to the Christmas eve service, went to a few weddings, got christened there and was forced to go with the boy scouts every now and then. I don’t think it was a great church but it was my church. In fact, I’m sad to say that it’s currently being used as a mosque.

So anyway, like a lot of people, I drifted away from church when I was a teen. I wasn’t particularly rebellious, I just wasn’t interested. Church was boring. If you don’t know, Church of England is very similar to Episcopal. Lots of chanting and pomp. In fact, I’ve since been to an Episcopal service over here and it was like a Church of England service with American accents. It freaked me out a little.

So back to my story, and fast forward to age 19. I came over to the US for the first summer. I was at a summer camp in East Tennessee, in Maryville, smack dab in the middle of the Bible belt. I found it fascinating that Christianity was a way of life over here, not just something you did at Christmas because you felt obligated. It was so natural to so many intelligent people and it sparked my curiosity. I kept going back to camp year after year and a couple of summers later and I had a collection of books from various sources all trying to convince me that God and Jesus existed. I suppose people saw my curiosity and so they kept giving me books! (maybe this one will do it). Well one finally broke through, a book given to me by my ex-girlfriends, ex-boyfriend (long story, ask me later) by Lee Strobel entitled “The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus” and I was so taken with it, I bought its twin, “The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity”.

Sitting in my bed, on a September night in England (probably raining), I found Christ. I took the plunge, not really knowing what I was letting myself in for (because who does?) and prayed the prayer of salvation.

As anyone who has prayed this prayer knows, it’s a life changing moment. Jesus loves me, he loved me before I was saved, but now I accept his love. I never feel worthy of his love, but he loves me anyway.