Our Stories: Bailey Hobern
I grew up in a Christian household of five: mum, dad, and two younger siblings. Although I’m in Canterbury for university, Brentwood in Essex will always be my home. Yes, this is where TOWIE started, but I promise we are not all like that!
As a child I was always encouraged to go to church and gradually became a Christian at age 13, getting baptised at 14. I had the pleasure of growing in my faith in a fantastic youth ministry that always challenged me to go deeper in my relationship with God, and now whenever I’m home I serve as a youth leader with the team that gave so much to me.
The problem with being so comfortable where I was and knowing where I fitted in meant I was really anxious about the change of starting university and moving away from home. I’d been told that everyone would be in the same boat and just as keen to make friends but that didn’t stop me from worrying. Living independently for the first time meant that there were challenges (such as the practical things like cooking for myself) but I found that I value the freedom it gives too, and I really didn’t need to worry so much.
Before coming to Canterbury, I made a conscious decision not to hide that I was a Christian, but at the same time wasn’t keen to tell everyone as soon as I met them for fear of judgement. However, some of the new friends I made wanted to discuss my faith and what it all meant so I was able to be open and honest about what I believed. I wasn’t judged in the way I thought it would be and I loved these opportunities to share my faith so early on. Being a Christian at university was so much easier than I had imagined!
It was also easier to find a church than I thought – I hadn’t really researched any of the churches in Canterbury and just planned to try a few until I found one that ‘felt right’. Well, City Church was the first and only church I tried in Canterbury (I have one of my flatmates to thank for that). I immediately felt welcomed and comfortable at City and didn’t see any reason to keep searching.
Settling on a church so early was really worthwhile - I’ve gradually got more and more involved at City and have been blessed by the student work and the people here.
It’s been wonderful meeting with people my age, who all have the same desire to meet with God. I am constantly challenged but my relationship with God has definitely grown while being in Canterbury.
About the Author
Bailey is a 2nd year student at Canterbury Christchurch University, studying Primary Education. Originally from Essex, Bailey has been coming to City Church for just over a year.