“The work I do is very varied and I often don’t know what I am going to be faced with when I am responding to incidents. This variety is something that I really enjoy, but it can also be extremely challenging, and sometimes quite scary.”
What could Jonathan Boatwright be talking about? Well, he is a Christian and serving the local community in a very public role. Read on.
“During my last year at Loughborough University, reading Automotive Engineering, I made the decision to apply to join Sussex Police. After graduating, whilst going through the lengthy police recruitment process, I worked as a design and technology technician before finally being accepted as a police officer a year later.
“Policing is something that intrigued me from a young age. I think every boy has wanted to be in the police at some point in their childhood, but that desire never left me; in fact it just kept coming back. I loved the idea of being out and about, being involved in both strategic and practical work and also being able to help people through tough situations.
“As I was going through my time at university, that desire returned, very clearly. I felt that the circumstances were right and I knew that the job would require many of the skills that God had given me, so I prayed about it, and put in my application. Which, praise God, was successful.”
Jonathan’s parents have a strong Christian faith and he was brought up with those morals and values around him.
“We always attended church and were heavily involved in the activities there, but my mother and father never forced their views upon me and I was left to decide for myself. I did this, in my early teens, making a personal commitment to follow Jesus and put him in the centre of my life.”
There are opportunities, he says, to share his Christian faith, but he obviously has to be sensitive as he does so. “Within my work I deal with a wide mix of people of different background, belief, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, and so on. As a Police Officer I have to make a clear distinction between my own views and beliefs, and those represented by the Police Service. I have
opportunities to talk about my faith with my colleagues, particularly those I work with on a day-to-day basis. For example, when I explain what I have been doing on my rest days, I will often mention the Christian activities I have taken part in, and this tends to spark further conversation. A regular topic which arises is that, as a Christian, I believe that sex should be saved for marriage; this
has given me an opening to share my testimony on several occasions.”
For Jonathan, Easter is the most important event in the Christian calendar. “It is what Christianity is all about, it is the ultimate truth, it is G.R.A.C.E. That is, God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Easter is a time when I remember the truths of the gospel; that God sent Jesus to earth with one purpose, to die. Not because Jesus deserved it, in fact, quite the opposite. We ourselves deserve to be punished because we make mistakes, we reject God and turn our back on him, we don’t live as God intends. God is just and fair and so he has to punish us for our actions. But Jesus took that punishment in our place so that we might be able to have a perfect relationship with God.”
This young Police Officer has much more to say! The second part of his story will appear in this column next week.
P.S. News of special events under the Catalyst Arts banner in the near future ... Curtis Tappenden and friends: ‘an evening of wistful thinking, comedy and arty participation’. Thursday April 12th, 7.30 pm, Community Wise, Old Town. Admission by ticket - £5 in advance, £6 on the door.
The remarkable story of David Holden. Thursday April 26th, 7.30 pm, Gateway Centre, Frenchgate Road, Hampden Park. Admission free.
Further details: www.catalyst-arts.org