In early June, members of the Caring For Life family came together to celebrate with the charity’s co-founder, Peter Parkinson, on the occasion of his retirement. Taking up his first pastorate when aged 17, Peter served as a Baptist pastor.
32 years ago, he followed God’s call to care for some of the most vulnerable in our society.
The Centre at Crag House Farm, home of Caring For Life, was packed to the brim with people who had been rescued through this ministry, including some from the very first days of Caring For Life. As stories, songs, video clips and photos were shared, Peter’s great sense of humour was also celebrated!
Long before February 1987 (when Caring For Life began), Peter had been preaching a faithful, Christ-centred message, seeking in particular to enable people to be taken back in their minds, to meet Jesus himself in the gospels. His preaching homed in on the way Jesus cared for those from whom others literally turned away.
The biblical conviction that God not only calls his people to care for the vulnerable, but to see his precious Son in the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, imprisoned and stranger, led to the establishment of Caring For Life.
Several lost and homeless men began to attend the church of which Peter was then pastor, seeking help from those they had known when they attended the church as young children in care. In response to their needs, Caring For Life was born.
Thirty-two years later, over 5,000 vulnerable, hurting and needy people have experienced Jesus’ love through practical, long-term, creative and compassionate support.
Lives have been transformed: people who were homeless now live in safe accommodation, people who led chaotic lives are now settled, those who had convictions have avoided reoffending and those who had never experienced a loving family have found their first loving family here at Caring For Life. Each one has heard the Good News of God’s love in Jesus and many have put their trust in him.
While all of us at Caring For Life and the many associated with us would want to thank Peter for all he has done, we know that Peter would want to make it clear that all the glory belongs to God alone: it is he who has blessed and sustained the ministry over the years.
The work of Caring For Life continues and the need being encountered is tragically greater than when the work began.
You can find out more about Caring For Life at www.caringforlife.co.uk or by calling 0113 230 3600.