Shane Taylor’s Story

The dramatic story of Shane Taylor as told by Nicky Gumbel, the pioneer of Alpha and Vicar of HTB in London.

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Shane Taylor was considered one of the most dangerous men in the UK prison system. Originally jailed for attempted murder, he had his sentence extended by four years when he attacked a prison officer with broken glass, setting off a riot.

He was put in a segregation unit inside a maximum-security prison. He was given his food through a hatch. His door was not opened unless there were six officers armed with riot shields waiting outside.

Later, he was transferred to Long Lartin maximum-security prison where he was invited to an Alpha course. During the course he prayed, “Jesus Christ, I know you died on a cross for me. I hate who I am, who I’ve become. Please forgive me and come into my life.” At that moment he was filled with the Holy Spirit. Everything changed overnight. He said, “I knew God existed, I knew Jesus had touched me and I was going to live for him forever.”

“He has saved me. He has forgiven me for what I have done. He has turned my life around.”

His behavior changed so much that he went from living in total segregation to getting a trusted job in the prison chaplaincy. Whilst still in prison, he started sending money to a charity in Africa. He prayed for the prison officers and for his enemies and, when he came out of prison, he got involved in a church. He met a girl called Sam, who had also had a tough life and had been involved with drugs and criminal activity. She also came to faith in Jesus. Now, they are married and have four children.

Shane Taylor

Talking to Shane now, it is hard to imagine that he is the same person who terrified so many people in his past. He says, “Jesus has shown me how to love and how to forgive. He has saved me. He has forgiven me for what I have done. He has turned my life around.”

Alpha is a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith. Each session looks at a different question around faith and is designed to create conversation. Alpha is run all around the globe, and everyone is welcome. No two Alphas look the same, but generally they have three key things in common: food, a talk, and good conversation. In total, more than 29 million people have tried Alpha in 169 countries and 112 languages to date.