Methodist Summer Fellowship
Saturday 3rd - Friday 9th August 2024
Theme for 2024: Justice and Grace
The Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick
Rev. David Hollingsworth
A serving Presbyter and Artist who has been involved in the Methodist Church's "Creative Spirit" collection of modern Christian art.
David left school in Grimsby with little achievement at the age of 15, becoming a bingo caller! But eventually he was accepted to train as a firefighter, beginning an 18 year career of varied experiences. Along the way he also moonlighted as a nightclub bouncer, bodybuilder and semi-professional wrestler and began to invest in property development.
However, he was invalided out of the fire service in 1991 after a roof collapsed under him. Dark days ensued but his property portfolio had started to pay dividends. Temptation to gain further wealth through ‘dodgy’ dealing brought severe consequences and David was arrested in 1992. From arrest to conviction meant four years of ‘wilderness’ living, with a deeper descent into the criminal world. Twice married and twice divorced, bankruptcy, separation from his four children, violence and homelessness all formed part of this descent. Only prison stopped the decline. David was jailed in 1996 for two and a half years for breaches of the financial services act.
But two incredible things happened while he was ‘inside’:
Released in 1997, David enrolled in art school and met Ros – a young widow with 4 children. David became reconciled with his own children, too, and became a father to 8, eventually training to teach children with learning difficulties through art.
he said a prayer for the first time – one he remembered from school – it began with the words: “Our Father”; And
he discovered he could draw – and then…paint. So David fell in love with ART!
In 1998, David responded to Ros’s invitation to the local Methodist Church where, four weeks afterwards, he went to the Lord’s Table for the first time at the age of 44. The man with a collar on gave him a bit of bread and said “Body of Christ broken for you”. David puts it simply: “I ate the bread and drank the wine and remembered all I had been. I knew Jesus loved me, despite me, and looked forward to all I could be in his name. Three theological colleges later, youth and lay pastor roles later, and a call to ordination, here I am – the Reverend David Hollingsworth, Presbyter on the Christchurch and Wimborne circuit...and still in love with ART...and the LORD… more than ever.”