A violent criminal has abandoned his life of crime and is due to become an ordained minister this weekend.
Matthew Martinson is currently a curate at St Nicholas Church in Beverley, and he is due to be ordained by the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu on Sunday.
Revd Martinson left school without any qualifications and began drinking and taking drugs.
And after years of petty crime his life reached an all time low when he carried out an armed robbery at a post office.
The 35-year-old was plagued by fear that his violent lifestyle would kill him, and he began turning to God.
Describing the experience he said: “I said to him, ‘If you get me caught alive, I will bow my knee to you’, because at the time I was getting involved with armed robbery, and with the firearms issues the violence was growing and it was a very dangerous world.
“I’d come to the point in my life when I’d had enough, I couldn’t take any more. I tried to commit suicide but it didn’t work.”
He was arrested and sentenced to eleven years in prison for the armed robbery.
But after his arrest Revd Martinson felt God speak to him saying “you now have a choice to accept me or reject me”.
The clergyman described the experience, saying: “I didn’t hear it audibly, but I just knew that he was speaking to me.”
Revd Martinson added: “I regret very much the people I have hurt. I can’t wave a magic wand and change that, but it has also made me into who I am.
“I want the opportunity to share what God has done in my life and let people know that there is someone out there who loves them and accepts them for what they are. If I can turn my life around, then anyone can.”
Earlier this month it was revealed that a devout Christian forgave the Big Issue seller who plundered his home after he showed compassion and employed him to clean his house.
Property lawyer Richard Rawsthorn offered James McConnell, a homeless drug addict, and his partner Fiona a job cleaning his house.
But after the couple had been cleaning the house for a few weeks Mr Rawsthorne returned home to discover that £6,000 worth of his possessions had been stolen.
Mr Rawsthorn, a former UKIP parliamentary candidate, spoke of his forgiveness of the crime, saying: “It shook me that he had betrayed my trust so badly but I have forgiven him”.
In March a telecommunications tycoon gave up his “incredibly selfish” life to move to Uganda to start a charity helping orphans after ‘finding God’.
Jon Pedley, who by his own admission had in the past pursued money above everything else, decided to sell his businesses, his home and all of his furniture to pay for his charity ambitions.
Mr Pedley’s charity, Uganda Vision, will support local Ugandan children who have been orphaned by Aids and poverty.