Paul and Jean Blakey
Paul became a Christian at the age of 14. This was through attending the Billy Graham LiveLink in Bradford at the invitation of the local Anglican church he was part of. This decision to make Jesus the centre of all he is was a turning point - indeed someone the following day made the comment, "Paul, you look different - happier!"
Soon after this event Paul attended a March for Jesus event in Huddersfield - it was at this event God gave Paul the heart for reaching out with the amazing love God has for each and evey person. He became involved in Calderdale for Christ and the God Cares mission held in the Borough in 1992.
Following God Cares Paul became part of the steering group of Calderdale for Christ and was responsible for designing quarterly newsletters as well as organising events such as three March for Jesus days in Halifax Town Centre, visits by children's worship leaders Ishmael and Mick Gisbey (one of the Ishmael events attracted over 450 people with 70 making a decision to become Christians!), and Prayer Celebrations.
Paul also became involved in the Full Gospel Business Mens Fellowship International and served the Halifax group as Secretary and then President for several years. This group helps release people, particularly men, to be the people God called and purposed them to be, and Paul developed greatly through his involvement with this amazing group of people.
In 1998, just as the Internet was gaining popularity, Paul helped develop the Calderdale Christian Web Site. This helped the Boroughs churches become established on the web. This interest in the internet has helped several web sites develop over the years and has helped spread worldwide the amazing news that God loves people and is for people.
Paul has continued to work at seeking to unite the church in Calderdale and bring God's Kingdom to the Borough. He regularly preaches in churches across West Yorkshire and shares the Street Angel - CNI Network story as a speaker at lunches and clubs across the North of England. His heart is to see communities impacted and changed as we demonstrate that God's Kingdom is a reality not only individually but also within communities. He believes passionately that the church needs to be in unity and stand together for the sake of serving and impacting our communities, localities, towns, cities and nations with the Kingdom of God.
Paul and Jean set up the Street Angels project in Halifax in November 2005. This scheme has seen crime reduced by around 57% in Halifax town centre and helped thousands of people. The amazing work of Street Angels can be found elsewhere (including the amazing story in the book Paul wrote) but the work of the fantastic volunteers makes Street Angels possible and Paul and Jean are privileged to be part of this. As the work grew the CNI Network was launched in 2008 and has since helped over 130 initiatives to launch in the UK and overseas as well as joined forces with existing projects in Northern Ireland and Dundee.
Paul got married to Jean in August 2006, and feel very much that God has put them together for purpose and to stand and support one another in ministry. The honeymoon took in the sights of Paris, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay and helped establish Paul's heart to Pastor the Nations. In Brazil Paul and Jean spoke and ministered in several Firesowers meetings with Brazilian evangelist Dario Luiz - to be part of a different culture and way of doing church was an amazing experience.
Awarded a MBE by Her Majesty the Queen in 2010 and meeting the Prime Minister David Cameron in 2012 to receive the Big Society Award are both testimony to the impact of the work of volunteers across the UK through initiatives like Street Angels.
Paul has also developed other ideas into reality such as Love Your Streets #Do1NiceThing and is a great innovator, motivator and pioneer. Paul is a regular broadcaster on TV and radio and believes we should be making the news not just watching the news! He writes a monthly article for the BigBible DigiDisciple and has an interest in social media. Paul is in demand as a public speaker, often telling the story of Street Angels and about our work on the streets, in club venues and at music festivals.
Paul and Jean continue to serve the UK and demonstrate the reality of God's Kingdom locally and increasingly internationally... They have a heart for people and love to see people develop and grow in the people God has called and destined them to be...
A little about Jean....
When I was born I was only given six months to live. I was very unwell and failed to take on any food in any form. Knowing how desperate the situation was, my parents prayed for my healing and I was healed through God's grace and love for me!
Knowing about this rocky start to my life helped to forge a connection with God. This relationship ran very deeply throughout my childhood. I felt God's presence in my life and felt the Holy Spirit guiding me to tell my friends about Him and what He can do in their lives.
Throughout my teenage years I found life very difficult and I eventually strayed from the path of God until I ended up in an abusive marriage. While I was taking a journey through divorce I re-pledged my love and respect for God and the wish to follow in Jesus footsteps and promote good living and good decision making under the grace and direction of a loving God.
In my journey, I had to accept that I made a mistake and sinned in God's eyes. I also had to ask for forgiveness, accept forgiveness and learn from my past experiences. By sharing my journey with other people I pray that they will learn and make the right choice first time - to follow God and His plan for their lives.
When I re-married, I made this decision through prayer and guidance from God. I didn't want to make another mistake. As I felt peace in my spirit about marrying Paul I accepted his proposal. I am now in a blessed relationship, sometimes it is difficult as life has its own pressures, but it is mainly wonderful as each of us is following God's plan.
Just because you are an active Christian doesn't mean you are going to have an easy life. I am still challenged by the Holy Spirit to do things I find uncomfortable such as speaking in groups about God and to people I have never met. Mainly though I show God's love to people whenever I can through voluntary action and my social life. If you are thinking about becoming a Christian, however challenging you may find it, it is also the most gratifying and some would say the most rebellious experience on this earth.