Carpenter Steve, who lives in the parish of Boulton St Mary and regularly attends St Philip's Chaddesden, recently revived his carpentry skills and says Jesus guided him in making a cross for the church.
He joined a “men in sheds” group in Allenton and decided to use some of the wood meant for landfill to make a cross as a surprise for Philip's.
Whilst making the cross, Steve believes he had an encounter with Jesus.
He shared the encounter with the congregation in July and received an enthusiastic response.
He said: “I decided to make a cross as a surprise for the church.
"My background was in carpentry, but I haven’t used my skills for a while.
"When I started my arm got heavy and I couldn’t understand why.
"A short time later, I got the hammer and chisel and my hands felt hard and heavy. I thought this was unusual as I never normally feel like this when doing carpentry work!
"A voice came in my head and said 'we’ll make this together'.
"I was a taken aback as the voice was clear, and I found myself asking out aloud 'who are you?'."
Steve said: "The next thing I heard was 'I am Jesus, and we will make this together. It will be a special cross for your church'.”
Steve proudly presented the cross to Revd Sarah Watson, Enabling Minister at St Philip’s.
“Steve joined us with an interest in faith," said Revd Sarah. "He is a dearly loved member of our congregation and was recently confirmed.
"The recalling of his personal encounter with Jesus was emotional to hear and the cross will be seen and appreciated by all as Canon Julian Hollywell, Priest-in-charge of St Philip’s, has given his blessing for the cross to be placed permanently on our high altar.”