After cop’s encounter with Jesus, the sky looked bluer


By Charles Gardner —

Stuart and Sheila in Darling Harbor on a recent trip to Sydney, Australia

When Stuart Kemp joined the Greater Manchester Police, he had no idea it would take him back to school and lead to a lifelong relationship with Jesus.

After a spell on the beat and with CID, he joined a department called Community Contact which involved building bridges with schools and youth groups.

He soon found himself taking an evangelical church youth group to a Christian Outdoor Pursuits Centre in Scotland, where he felt like an uninvited guest at a party. But he asked lots of questions and prayed for the first time in his life.

“One morning I went rock climbing with the group. And after climbing up a rock face, God met me! The sky was bluer, the grass greener and my eyes filled with tears. There was a real sense of God’s presence.”

Stuart never looked back as Jesus became the focus of his life. He had been a Freemason but left the organization when he realized it encouraged idolatrous worship and was not centered on Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

After being injured in a car accident, he was retired from the police and became a schools worker, associated with an organisation called Scripture Union and supported by his church.

He worked mainly on a deprived overspill estate called Hattersley and pastored a church there for three years.

He later moved to Scawby in North Lincolnshire where he worked as a local government officer, though now retired.

Looking back on his life, Stuart is grateful for the positive male role models of fellow brass band musicians after losing his father when he was just 14.

Now 74, he and his “wonderful wife” Sheila celebrated their golden wedding in 2021 and have two married daughters, one on the Shetland Islands and the other in Australia. “It must have been something we said,” he jokes.

Sheila also got involved in Christian mission, even travelling Europe to spread the gospel, while reaching out to the needy in her home community.

Stuart was born into a poor, working class family in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire. His dad did various jobs such as painting and decorating, and his mum suffered severe epilepsy.
He was encouraged to go to church, where he attended Sunday School and sang in the choir but drifted away after his father died.

“For a single parent kid who could have gone astray, getting involved in brass bands (I still play the trombone) was, in a worldly sense, my savior as I learned commitment and teamwork.”

[Photo caption:]
Stuart and Sheila in Darling Harbor on a recent trip to Sydney, Australia.