Jeff Bruce

Jeff Bruce

I was born into a Catholic Family in Calcutta, India on 27th  October 1943.  My family emigrated to the UK in 1955 and  I was educated at St Stephens Catholic School in Welling, Kent.  After leaving school at the age of 15, I joined the Royal Air Force as a boy apprentice studying Aircraft Electrical Engineering.  I was firmly convinced that the Catholic Faith was the only true Faith. During my working life I began to meet many different people of different faiths who were also convinced theirs was the only true religion.  I started to question many aspects of my religion and concluded that further investigation was needed into all religions.  After all, we all believed in GOD so the world should be a wonderful place of peace and harmony.

On examining my Catholic faith and other Christian faiths I realised that the example and principles of living were not in accordance with the teachings of Jesus.  Furthermore I started to believe that the priests could not reserve a place in “heaven” just because they sold indulgences to the congregation; also they were not guaranteed a place in “heaven” just because they were clergy.  I wanted to worship GOD without having to rely on any clergy who, I thought, had “lost the plot”.  I was not impressed by any of the other religions either.

When I left the Air Force 15 years later, I was given a resettlement course on accounting and commerce.  After the course I joined Phillips Petroleum Company, working in central London.

It was while I was watching the London Marathon near Buckingham Palace (I think the year was 1989) that I noticed a man amidst a group of runners who had a t-shirt with “Bahá’í Faith” written on it.  It made me wonder what faith this was as I had never come across it before.  However, I did not bother about investigating it and carried on with my life as usual.

About six months later (in 1990) I was flicking through the TV channels on a Sunday afternoon and came across a BBC 2 programme about the Bahá’ís.  It was about half an hour long so I watched it.  Again I thought it was interesting but did not do anything about it.  A year later I went to a friend’s birthday party.  During the evening I happened to talk to Martin Rainsford and his Irish wife, Niamh Hynes, whose name I can’t pronounce (it sounded like “neeve”).  It turned out that they were Bahá’ís.  This time I realised that I was being led to something so I asked them to put me in touch with some Bahá’ís so that I could discover more about the religion.

I was contacted by the Wandsworth (London) Bahá’í community and after six months of reading various books and cross referencing the Bible, and helped by David Marsh, a one time Verger at Westminster Abbey, I ‘declared’ and in June 1991 was registered as a Bahá’í.  However, at the time there were no “Ruhi Books” and I tended to drift.  It was the wonderful Mrs Munsiff who kept me on track.  She used to visit and occasionally we would go out for lunch or for a cup of tea and cakes.  She talked to me about Bahá’u’lláh and gave me Star of the West magazines to read.

Since then I have completed the Ruhi Books and have served on the Local Spiritual Assemblies of several communities.  I am now living in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire near my family.

In 1997 I went on Bahá’í  pilgrimage and again in 2009.  It was very inspirational seeing the places where Bahá’u’lláh had lived and where he produced His Tablets and other Writings.  I have attended some summer schools at Wellington College, Berkshire, which were amazing.  I have also gained depth of knowledge of the Writings and have enjoyed meeting Bahá’ís from other parts of the country.

I am a firm believer and I have discovered how powerful the prayers are and can say without a doubt that divine intervention has helped me on several occasions.  My family are still Catholics but they have not objected to me being a Bahá’í.  I have explained to them that I have not rejected the Catholic Faith but have updated to the new messenger of GOD.

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Jeff Bruce

February 2012

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