I was not ashamed of it or frightened what others might think.
It always was. It was like wallpaper. You see it every day, but you do not really notice of it. That piece at the edge which is peeling off - you hardly ever notice. You live with it.
That was a bit like my early Christian journey. Taken to church as a child, at school attending daily chapel, and BCP Matins weekly. Words recited, even now 50-60 years later, by rote.
Life went on. Confirmed, married before God, a brief skirmish with Christ, children baptised and so on.
Then I met a man, a priest in our very small country village church, we'll call him an angel. He lived a different life, spoke in words I understood, took time to listen to me, was both interested and interesting. He explained his faith, answered my sometimes nave questions. We talked. He was ordinary and special at the same time. His faith became my faith. I begun to understand the meaning and feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Home groups, close friends on the same journey, a healing service at which I was asked to speak. God felt closer. I came closer. The Bible came more alive.
The wallpaper was now more noticeable. My rough edges (there were and still are many) became clearer to me. I prayed. I read. Jesus became a more evident person in my life, a friend even. Someone I felt who saw what I did, who listened to my prayers, who comforted. He had been there, like the wallpaper, all along.
From then on the journey seemed to be more inevitable. I professed my faith, spoke about it, to friends, family, colleagues, even clients. I was not ashamed of it or frightened what others might think. I felt less and less embarrassed explaining my faith. When invited I now preach about it, usually with emphasis on exercising your gift of generosity.
I felt called to be a Christian in the workplace - to work with evident Christian values, to be ready to explain my faith, to be there when people around me needed help.
Some say that Christian bankers are a rare breed. How did I and do I manage?
It is about relating to people, valuing them, spending time listening to them, praying for them, helping them, although this is not always by saying yes. Integrity, honesty, keeping promises, explaining decisions, are just some of the important behaviours of a servant.
And so it went, and goes on. I am still on my Christian journey. Retired 11 years from paid employment, giving back to God some of my time and the benefit of some of my skills and experiences, working with the church, charities and people, supporting my extremely hardworking wife, trying to behave and live a less sinful life. I know I need to spend more time in prayer and with my Bible.
But the wallpaper is more familiar now. I even notice the bits which are peeling. But now I try to repair those pieces, to do something about it. They leave their marks, you know they are there but Jesus does too. He has left his mark on me. And he died to forgive me. And I believe he is the Son of God.
I am willing to share my faith by words and by actions. Others can too. That is why another 9,999 voices are invited to do this alongside me.
About the author
Canon David Froude is a Lay Canon of Bristol Cathedral, Chairman of the House of Laity in Bristol Diocese and a Member of the General Synod.