When I moved to Cherry Hinton, I was also searching for some meaning to life as well. Just previously, I had been living with some friends who introduced me to the pagan life, and although it was interesting in places, in other areas I grew frightened, so when I moved it was with a renewed sense of purpose that I started looking again at the Christian church. I say again because I had been brought up in the Christian traditions, but during my teenage years I let it lapse; I had not achieved any sense of understanding or acceptance, and it felt wrong to go to church without getting that.
I now believe this was partly because the Anglican churches I had been attending were making no real effort to educate and involve people like me at the time, although I doubt I was in a good place to receive it, either! By "happy chance" next door to my new house in Cambridge were two christians who were very active in the local Baptist Church. I plucked up the courage to go one day, and haven't stopped! It was a gradual thing, though. At first I was happy to get to know people and I was lucky that there was a very strong church housegroup that I could join. Some time after I started attending, I was taken ill for a couple of weeks and a friend kindly looked after me. During that time I had the chance to really consider what I thought and felt, and decided to apply for the baptism course and full membership. In our church we have a full baptistry, in which we can do a full adult immersion. It is very different to the sprinkling of a few drops of water, but good, too.
Later on, I started to get more involved, regularly attending the church youth group on a friday evening, the church administration meetings and, when the opportunity arose, taking over the production of the newsletter. Although that first time I gave it up after a year or so due to pressure of work, later I was able to restart and have been doing it for over 5 years now as a 12 or 16 page A5 booklet.
While the internal newsletters are, well, internal, I have contributed more publicly too: the community newsletter (an example web pdf is attached below) was designed and published by me (using InDesign) and delivered to over 3000 residents in the area in 2007. We have done similar things more recently, too. I enjoy this sort of publishing - it's great fun to make something that looks good and has a real purpose too.
I also helped to set up the church website, providing programming advice, the web server space, and bandwidth. This uses the wiki MoinMoin to provide a web-editable platform so others in the church can edit. The user system is however set up such that new users can't edit until a server-side change is made, which is a simple way of restricting the editors to those the church is happy to trust.
The Church has gone through many changes in the time I have been with them, not least the loss of several long-term members and the calling of a new minister. However, we still do a lot in the community, for example a biannual Holiday Bible Club, a weekly credit union centre and both youth and retirement groups. Reaching out to the middle-aged is our next challenge!