Peterson Feital tells the story of his work as a chaplain to the creative industries of Soho
I was born in Rio de Janeiro and my father was a very abusive alcoholic, so that marred my first years. At five, I ran away from home and tried to commit suicide. I walked into a church where elderly ladies were at prayer – never underestimate the power of elderly ladies praying in church! The vicar was talking about Jesus dying on the cross, and I gave my life there and then. Two years later I preached my first sermon, and my mum and grandmother, became Christians. I saw the power of the Gospel really changing lives.
I was a troubled, anxious teenager and had eating disorders. Christianity is a process of getting to know the Lord and yourself. Suffering is part of your walk as a disciple, but sadly we don’t hear much about it in the west.
I had a fruitful ministry and got ordained in the Congregational Church at 20, but I realised I loved the people outside the Church and didn’t like the way the Church projects itself as the only way to come to know Christ. Christ met me in a very unorthodox way.
I started an itinerant ministry. For a few years I spent a lot of my time in brothels working with women and men, in prisons and psychiatric hospitals, and working with families to avoid sex trafficking. I saw church happening in so many ways – under a tree, inside a prison. I heard the most amazing speakers I’ve ever heard – not well-trained theologians, but prisoners, fishermen. I don’t judge people because I’ve seen Jesus meet people in so many ways. Love wins every time we decide to embrace someone who’s different from us. …
This is an extract from an article that was published in the November 2017 edition of Reform