Speaker: The Revd Tom Stuckey, Past President of the Methodist Conference (2005)
Theme: The Power of the Cross
Dates: Friday 3 to Sunday 5 November,
TEARS in the DARK - A Journey of Hope
To many, and maybe most of us, the experiences set out in this compelling book are quite unknown. It makes it all the more important that people like us read the painful story of Mark Edwards.
We read of babies or children being left to fend for themselves, of the failure of parents to fulfil their obligations. In this book we read of the trauma of such a child faced with life on his own. Then the agony and pain of being passed from pillar to post, of abuse and the sense of utter loneliness, the grabbing of straws in the desperate longing to be loved and wanted by someone. All of which led to the thoughts of, and attempt at, suicide.
All through life he was clutching at straws, most of which were just that, and he found life to be a catalogue of failures and disappointments. Most of his time was spent in foster homes while he desperately sought to find someone or something on which he could cling. Almost inevitably he broke down. Life was intolerable for him.
As the story unfolds, the details of which are harrowing indeed, one or two individuals seek to hold and help Mark, most notably a pastor who cares, loves and ministers to this desperate man. Along the line he requires psychiatric care but he is gripped by the grace of Christ and becomes a husband and father, with struggles in learning to live out the implications of those responsibilities, and he stands amazed that he too, was a child of God. He is now an Anglican priest and in the last paragraph of the book comments 'My God was the God of the impossible'.
One reviewer (a social worker) states, 'This book is essential reading for social workers, and those in allied professions'. I would add that for any Christian concerned to understand more fully the hidden pain and anguish in folk around us, this book is a 'must read'!