On the 21st December, 1983, Julie Inglis put on Christ in the waters of baptism.
Just a few months earlier Julie had graduated from Birmingham University with a 1st in Music and as a young 21 year old had moved to London to study for her Master’s Degree at City University. She was met in a London Underground station by Moira Stewart and Dickye Palmer, both members of the Central London church of Christ, and invited to church.
Alex and Molly Inglis, Julie’s parents, were concerned that their only child had moved to the ‘big city’ and had become involved with a religious group that they had never heard about.
When they visited the church and found it being led at that time by young Americans that did nothing to allay their fears!
On completion of her Master’s Degree and then her Teaching qualifications Julie began to work as a Primary School teacher but after a year she was offered the opportunity to serve as an intern in the London Church.
Julie’s decision to give up her career to work in the full-time ministry for the church confirmed all of her parent’s worst fears. Her mother was a school teacher herself and her father was an Officer in the Thames Valley Police Force. They had made some enquiries into the London church and had heard many disturbing reports; allegations of brain washing, sleep deprivation and the use of the word ‘cult’ had caused them great distress. Julie, however, continued to reach out to her parents and although they’d asked her not to invite them to her church again they trusted her to make sensible decisions for her own life.
In 1988 when Julie started dating Mike Desouza, a young medical student in the church, her parents once again experienced a measure of anxiety, particularly when the relationship started to become serious and when they heard that Julie’s new boyfriend was also considering giving up his career to work full time for the church!
Mike and Julie were married in August 1989. Alex and Molly attended the wedding, along with other members of Julie’s family, but were less than thrilled.
Over the years their apprehensions, however, were gradually being eroded as they watched Julie’s family grow, first with 2 daughters, Sarah and Hannah, and then with their son, Caleb. They were overjoyed by their grand children and delighted by the obvious warmth and joy in the Desouza household.
In 2000 Julie’s mother developed Alzheimer’s disease. Alex cared for Molly on his own for the next 10 years as her health continued to deteriorate until her eventual passing in 2009. Now Alex’s health had also begun to decline. Finally in 2012, after a triple heart by-pass and hip replacement surgery, Alex eventually agreed to move in with Mike and Julie. He gets to see life in the Desouza home from an insider’s perspective.
He sees the commitment to family. He sees the commitment to church. He sees the constant flow of people coming to the house for Bible studies and discussion groups. He also sees the joy and peace that comes from trusting God and seeking first His kingdom and righteousness.
In 2012 when Hannah turned down a place at Oxford University to study at Kings College London so that she could be a part of the London church campus ministry Alex was concerned but not distressed.
Also in 2012, like her mother many years before, Sarah too graduated from Birmingham university with a 1st, with a degree in Psychology. And when she also started to work as an intern in the full-time ministry, this time for the Birmingham church of Christ, Alex was pleased for her.
Over the following months Alex starts attending church regularly in the East sector of the London congregation. He is greatly impacted by the vibrancy of the fellowship, the obvious love, kindness and care expressed by the many Christians he meets, and the challenging lessons and sermons he hears. Over time he begins to do a few Bible studies with his son-in-law, Mike; and then in June 2013, during a 3 week visit of Mike and Terrie Fontenot to the East London church, Alex starts to study the Bible more intensely with both Mike Fontenot and Mike Desouza.
Finally on 23rd June 2013, in beautiful sunshine, Alex Inglis, at the age of 80, puts on Christ in the waters of baptism; 30 years, 6 months and 2 days after his daughter Julie.