Pastor Andrew Layland
Andrew is a third generation Adventist. Born just down the road from Camp Hill in Walsall Andrew attended the Seventh day Adventist church until the age of 19. It was in the summer of 1995 that he left the shores of England for Greece. However this was not a missionary trip like that of Paul. Andrew explains,
“Like Paul I was preaching to the people, however my line of work was promoting a night club and not the gospel”
Andrew Spent 6 months as an events promoter in Tolon Greece before moving on to another adventure. In early 1996 after returning from Greece Andrew then set sail on another mission trip. This time the destination was Tenerife in the Canary islands. Andrew explains,
“This was the Las Vegas of Europe. Bars, casino’s, clubs and everything else that goes with it. I worked in a bar called La Boca (Spanish for big kiss) Life seemed to be going well. I thought I could do anything I wanted, I thought I was invincible, I thought I was going to live forever”
This dream all came to a crashing end when one of his best friends was murdered by another of his friends.
“The death of my friend really shook me. It really halted me in my path. Anger and pain consumed me. I realized that I was not invincible and that life was not a game. At the time I hadn’t attended church for a few years. I hadn’t hadn’t prayed for just as long. I didn’t feel the church had anything to offer me. I didn’t think God had anything to offer me. I felt I was the one who could take control of my own life and sort it out. I didn’t need a church or a God to sort out the messed up life I was living, I was the one who could overcome my addictions - How wrong I was”
After these events Andrew decided to go to University.
“I knew that I couldn’t work in bars all my life. I tried many jobs - I was even a care assistant for a time, a door to door salesman, a chef, an unemployed bum and many other things - I knew I needed an education. So I began 3 great years of University life studying History and Politics. University was life changing in one sense. It has since opened up doors to possibilities I never could of imagined.”
After graduating with a Bachelors degree Andrew moved to Plymouth in Devon and worked for LloydsTSB as an account manager.
“My job description could have read - make the rich richer and do your best to mess up the poor. After doing this job for 2 years things changed in my mind. I knew I was just working to live. I was still being controlled by my habits. I wasn’t happy. I began to look back and reflect on the last 10 years of my life. Although I had achieved many good things, like my degree, I realized that my life had been one long story of 1 step forward and 2 back. I realized that I was not in-fact in control of my own life. I was a slave to my habits and the company I kept. I thought about my dear friend who had now been dead for 7 years. I thought about why I still had life and he didn’t. It was then that I made a startling discovery. My life had gone down hill and was heading for ruin ever since I left the church at 19”
In 2001 Andrew decided to give his life back to Christ and returned to the Adventist church.
“I wish I could give you a big testimony - but there were no flashing lights, no road to Damascus stories to tell. It was just months and months of self reflection and the gentle voice of the Holy spirit doing its part. When I came back to church I was still struggling with the same habits, the same weaknesses. But the church I went back to was a church that offer’s unconditional acceptance. That is a real church. A church that lets people in whoever they are, wherever they have been, whatever they have done and wherever they are right now on their journey with God. For me thats a real church, when a church stops becoming a place of unconditional acceptance it then stops being a church”
Within a couple of years Andrew decided to give his life to missionary service for the Adventist church.
“It was kind of weird how it came about - Come and ask me when you see me how I ended up in South Korea, its a great story but yes, I worked as an Adventist missionary for 5 years in South Korea”
During his final year in South Korea Andrew felt the call to Pastoral ministry.
“Again its not possible to explain here about my call, I guess you will just have to come and talk to me, but I answered the call and spent 3 years at Newbold College studying my Master of Ministry in Theology in preparation for ministry”
During his time at Newbold Andrew spent 1 year working as a student Intern Pastor at the Wimbledon International Seventh-day Adventist church in London. Since the 1st September 2011 Andrew is now serving as an Intern Pastor here at Camp Hill.
“We look forward to the journey together” say Andrew