Hi … and welcome to Pass the Toast. My name is Neil Booth and I am 75 years old. I was born in Hartlepool, Tyne and Wear, in February 1942 to Greta and Charles Douglas Booth. For the last 38 years I have been married to Yvonne — an accomplished musician and quite the most wonderful person in my life.
By profession, I am a chartered accountant and, until my retirement from KPMG nearly 25 years ago following major heart problems and a quadruple heart bypass operation, I was a partner in that firm and a leading UK tax specialist.
(For anyone interested, my standard reference works include Residence, Domicile and UK Taxation published by Butterworths and National Insurance Contributions published by Tolleys. For several years I also wrote and published a monthly journal on Contribution law called Booth’s NIC Brief.)
Until a few years ago, I was a Reader in the Church of England and, since 1992,exercised my ministry at St James Church, Bolton, in the Diocese of Bradford. (For those of you who are visiting this page from outside the UK, Bradford is situated in northern Britain in the county of West Yorkshire; and contrary to popular belief, Yorkshire is not a county of dark Satanic mills where people wear cloth caps and breed whippets. It is in fact one of the most beautiful counties in Britain.)
I became a Christian as a result of an encounter with the Lord Jesus in 1953 in Manchester at a Scripture Union rally to which I was taken by one of my school-teachers. At the time I was only 11 years old, but my commitment was real and has endured for the last 64 years — partly, I’m sure, because of the wonderful follow-up and encouragement I received almost weekly by letter over several years from the amazing man of God who led me to Christ: R Hudson Pope, the celebrated children’s evangelist. During the greater part of that time I have exercised a preaching and teaching ministry to which the Lord called me at the age of 16.
I have not always been an Anglican. I started as a Methodist, became a member of the Plymouth Brethren for a while, returned to Methodism (which is when and where God called me to preach, and mentored me in that calling through a wonderful man called Alan Parker). Then, in my early twenties, I became a member of the Church of England.
But why this blog and why, in particular, is it called “Pass the Toast”?
Originally it was my response to a growing awareness that several friends of mine within the fellowship of the church felt the need for some form of daily spiritual sustenance but rarely get round to finding it for themselves. For as long as I can remember, however, I had been starting each day with Bible study and reading and prayer and was more than happy to share with others the stuff that was feeding me each morning (the “toast”). A few years years ago, however, I ceased to write this blog on a daily basis in order to write two books (which should soon be turning into a trilogy) that had been evolving within me over several years. The first – ‘Too Good To Be True’ – explores in a fictional framework the deconstruction and reconstruction of the conservative evangelical faith I entered into as a new Christian many years ago, and its sequel – ‘Living the Mystery’ – carries the story forward in various way. You can read more in the Publications section of Pass the Toast.
My hope is that everyone visiting this blog will find something to bless them and to help them grow in grace and the knowledge of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.