…it did happen to him, in New Court, Trinity College, during the evening of October 12, 1975. At Eton, he had “vaguely assumed there was a God. But I didn’t believe. I wasn’t interested at all.” That night in Cambridge, though, praying with a Christian friend, he suddenly felt “a clear sense of something changing, the presence of something that had not been there before in my life. I said to my friend, ‘Please don’t tell anyone about this’, because I was desperately embarrassed that this had happened to me, like getting measles.”
Since then, there have been long periods with “no sense of any presence at all’’, but he has never gone back on that night’s “decision to follow Christ’’. This is not his doing: “It’s grace. Grace is a reality: feelings are ephemeral.”
To understand the change in Justin Welby’s life, you need to know what happened before.