It's the mid 1980s. I'm a new Christian.
A lovely Christian lady, Sally* is a pillar of our church, St James*, which is on a busy shopping street. She runs a drop in centre through the week and some evenings. She spends lots of time counseling those who pop in for a coffee. Her son is in my class at school. The drop in centre was a great outreach and lots of prayer requests filtered down from Sally.
I was mentored at the time by a marvellous old lady called Harriet. Ex-missionary, intercessor, warrior for Christ... and the church warden at St James. Also, she didn't suffer fools gladly. She was the one that told me. Sally's husband Ted, who had been faithfully by her side at church for many years had decided he'd met the woman off his dreams. He was having an extra marital affair. Their marriage was over.
I will never forget Harriet's comments. She was highly critical of the church leadership for allowing this situation to develop. Ted would regularly come home to a son but no wife – she was too busy working at the drop in centre. She should have been there for him! But the church wanted her for their valued ministry.
I'm sure there was more to it than that. But I'd learned an important lesson. Churches should not be 'flogging their members to death', bleeding them dry when they have families to support, husbands, wives, children etc. Something is seriously wrong when church ministry causes marriages to break up.
*All names have been changed.