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Reform Magazine | May 21, 2024

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I am... a working class Christian - Reform Magazine

I am… a working class Christian

Natalie Williams on the hurdles facing a working class Christian

I grew up in Hastings, which a national newspaper once called Hell-on-Sea. It’s a lovely seaside town, but it’s the 13th most deprived part of the country. I grew up in a 16th-floor council flat. No central heating, one phone between the whole block, free school meals. I wasn’t really aware that we were in poverty because everyone around me was in the same situation. My dad went from job to job – Bejams, which is now Iceland, a taxi driver, a double glazing salesman, being out of work.

I first went to church because I liked a boy, I wasn’t spiritually seeking. I was really shocked because I had an image in my head of what church would be like and it just wasn’t like that at all. There was a lot of singing and clapping and hands in the air. I was like: What is all this about? I couldn’t tell you why I kept going other than the grace of God. It certainly wasn’t because of the boy, because I stopped liking him when I realised how Christian he was.

I found church difficult to understand. Even after I became a Christian, the longer I was in church, the less I understood the culture. There were all these unwritten rules that everyone around me knew about and I didn’t. It felt like a minefield of potential faux pas…

Natalie Williams is Chief Executive of Jubilee Plus. The charity’s conference ‘Churches that Change Communities’ is on 12 November. See


This is an extract from an article published in the September 2022 edition of Reform

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