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'Call of faith' features editor embarks on Christian journey

After 21 years as a full-time journalist in South Devon, Nick Pannell left his job at the Torquay Herald Express to follow a call of faith. The next two years will see him study social work at Exeter University towards working with homeless people when he graduates. Nick explains how his Christian journey has led him down an unexpected road.

We say people looked shattered after a heavy day’s work or a night on the town. A decent sleep and we’re back to normal.

But there is another kind of shattered when lives are so broken you don’t even know where the pieces are to begin putting them back together.

I first saw the real “shattered” look in the eyes of a man at the Factory Row Centre for the homeless near Castle Circus in Torquay. He opened his heart like a collapsing dam, a story of a savage childhood, a lost education, broken relationships and hopeless addiction.

And it’s at that point, when all the injustice and misery of the world spills out, that all you have ever sat and heard in Sunday school, confirmation classes, church and a thousands sermons makes sense and you realise you are exactly where God wants you to be.

It is at such moments that we can become channels of His love and peace if only expressed in a shared torrent tears.

According to St Luke, Jesus began his ministry with a reading from Isaiah spoken in the synagogue of Nazareth: “He has sent me to announce good news to the poor, To proclaim the release for prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, To let the broken go free” (Luke Ch4 v18).

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