Our Pastor: Nick Gray

Pastor Nick Staines Cong
Pastor Nick was born and brought up in and around the suburbs of Manchester and then in the Oxfordshire town of Banbury, the son of a headmaster. He finally abandoned his attempt to be the perfect child at around the age of 14 – and any interest in church that might have accompanied it.

University in Newcastle was a shock to his young social system, but he discovered that there were a bunch of people who were genuinely looking out for him. They turned out to be Christians associated with the Navigators (an international disciplining organisation). Nick still recalls the first time they told him the good news about Jesus (and the bad news about himself). Up until that point Christianity had been about making his best efforts to be good, but always failing. Now it was explained that although he was a moral failure, God loved him and would accept him as a son as Nick trusted that Jesus had paid for his failure – dying on a Roman cross. The rest, as they say, is history – or at least a story of walking in the light of knowing and serving a real, living God.

From university Nick worked in IT for a while before packing it in, in a last fling of youth (OK, he was 26), to play keyboards in a Christian Rock Band. This was a short-lived wonder but, crucially, took him across the country to Sutton Coldfield. It was here that he met Lesley, recently returned home from travelling the world and they married in 1994. And it was from here that Lesley, working as a physiotherapist, supported Nick as he retrained for church ministry.

After Bible College, Nick worked as Pastor of Wychwood Baptist Church for 10 years. It was a time of learning pastoral ministry together in the goldfish-bowl of village life. Life and ministry in Staines (since 2010) is different, but many of those lessons learnt on the small-scale seem to have been specially tailored for the current situation. The story continues…