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Meeting the Family – Ed Millais

We’ve seen in Ephesians that the Church is a family and as with any family not everyone is exactly alike so over the next term we’re going to be talking to apprentices from Churches across London and subjecting them to a Paxman style grilling (all for your edification) – finding out who they are, what their churches are like and how we can be praying for them. First up is Ed Millais…

Hi Ed – tell us a little about yourself…

I’m Edward Millais. A Classicist by education, a barrister by profession a forgiven sinner by nature and now an apprentice at St Andrews Church Chelsea. I am 31 married to a beautiful and godly maths teacher, Alice, and expecting our first child in June.

Thanks I’m sure the students are as interested as I am in how you became a Christian

I had grown up in a Christian environment. But it wasn't until university that I examined my beliefs for myself. I was delighted to discover the reality of Jesus, his life and death on the cross and most importantly the reality of his resurrection. This was evidence that there was life after death that I could trust in. His resurrection also showed he had delivered on his promise to open the way for someone like me to enter heaven by dealing with my constant failure to live up to God's standards. That was good news of great joy to me! I realised I could be completely sure I would be in heaven if I believed and trusted in Jesus, so I started living with him as my Lord and Saviour. That was Feb 2000.

So you were working as a Barrister, how did you become an apprentice?

Since I became a Christian I have always served in church in some capacity, it is after all like being part of a family! My wife and I agreed that we would like to do something together in our second year of marriage that would forge us and God together. Volunteering for a year at St Andrews Chelsea fitted the bill. It was a local start up church wanting to preach the good news about Christ and see lives transformed by His love. Chelsea doesn't look like an African mission station, but spiritually speaking it is mission field stuff. We were both excited about depending on God in this work and seeing the amazing things He would do in His name. So we left our jobs and started what we thought would be a year out. But it has been so exciting that I have not gone back to the law.

It has been so exciting you haven’t gone back to the law – was that much of a challenge? More seriously what do you do as an apprentice?

I joke that I do whatever my vicar says, provided it is in the bible and Jesus is at the heart of it. The truth is that there is no typical day. There are regular types of events, such as children's work, preaching in church, leading bible studies, cleaning, repairing buildings, reading the bible with individuals, talks about the good news and prayer, lots of prayer. There is a lot of creating and trying different ways for people of all ages, stages and faith to hear the good news about Jesus. Some work, some don't. The highlight is seeing the gospel changing people's lives.

I think that’s the highlight for most of us in ministry – tell us a little more about how God has been encouraging you

Our little church is undergoing a miraculous character change! Suddenly the congregation is happy to be back in church after holidays, we want to pray with and for one another and support one another. We are also really grasping that the gospel is good news and so beginning to want our friends in and out if church to hear all about it. It is incredible to see and feel the change brought about by simply getting out God's word and praying.

So presumably you don’t spend all your time doing ministry – how do you spend your free time?

I love watching films, shooting (fly fishing occasionally), trips to Scotland for walks and chasing deer or painting. Also I like playing anything that is competitive provided I think I have a chance of winning!

Ah the typical activities of an apprentice. I know them well. I imagine some of the students won’t know much about St Andrews – can you tell us a little about it…

St Andrews Chelsea, has a congregation of about 60 adults. It is a Church of England church and a victorian red brick, spired building. We are a real picture of heaven with all social, economic, racial and age groups. The parish contains a huge number of people and a huge range. The same area that contains the World's End Estate also has the highest percentage of second and third home owners of pretty much anywhere in the whole world.

Quite a diverse area then? Tell us a few things that God has been doing at St Andrews that we can be thanking God for…

I run the Sunday School and children's after school club. We have new leaders involved in these events who are simply members of the congregation. As they have been serving over the last few months it has been amazing to see their love for The Lord and the children at St Andrews grow. So it has also been exciting to see the numbers of children attending growing and their growth in their own knowledge and understanding.

That’s great. What are some of the challenges of working in Chelsea – other than dodging Land Rovers?

The same as anywhere! We are under resourced, dealing with people with hearts hardened to the good news and struggling to know how to get the people of Chelsea to hear that good news.

How can us here at Mayfair be praying for you in the coming months?

That we would stick to the gospel which is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes and which will make our joy overflow into the lives of all who live in Chelsea.

It is our first church weekend away coming up. Please pray that it would be an event at which Jesus' name would be made great, that we would have a great time as a church family and that we would all be encouraged to live a life worthy of the gospel in the year to come. Thanks!

Thank you Ed. We’ll be praying for you.