As a youngster my parents took me to Sunday services at the local Presbyterian Church. I went to Boys Brigade, youth club and a badminton club, all at local churches. I attended a methodist grammar school where pupils gathered every morning for Christian assembly before classes.
Growing up in Belfast during the ‘70s and ‘80s, where many communities where deeply divided by religion, left an indelible impression upon me. I promised myself that I would try never to discriminate against anyone, especially on religious grounds.
From as early as I can remember I had a love for places of worship – their carefully crafted designs, lofty internal spaces and street presence. I associated them with quiet faith, peaceful reflection, and with community. Throughout my architectural studies, and ever since, I have taken the opportunity to visit and study places of worship wherever I have travelled.
Whilst practicing as an architect in Glasgow 20 years ago I started to work on the repair and regeneration of historic church buildings, and from that time, until I moved to South Australia in 2012, my best church client was The Catholic
Archdiocese of Glasgow. As someone brought up a protestant in Northern Ireland who despised the active discrimination against Catholics there in the 1960s and 70s, I have always been proud to be associated with the Catholic Church because, I felt that in my small way I was redressing the balance of discrimation that I had grown up with in Northern Ireland.
I have always set out to treat everyone equally and have prided myself, over the years, in working with all religious denominations without bias or agenda. I have a quiet faith and don’t align myself with any one denomination – I believe in people and their inherent capacity for kindness and good, and that the path to true happiness and fulfillment lies in serving others.
Methodist College Belfast.