I had attended the local Congregational Chapel until my my teens and then, like so many young people, gradually drifted away. Work and a busy social life had squeezed out any thoughts of church.
It all began with a marriage proposal, where it will end only God knows!
When David and I decided to get married we wanted the service to take place at the city centre church in Swansea where my parents had been married.
The vicar there was happy to conduct the service, providing I was confirmed first. I had attended the local Congregational Chapel until my my teens and then, like so many young people, gradually drifted away. Work and a busy social life had squeezed out any thoughts of church.
I lived at that time in Clifton and my local church was Christ Church. I made enquiries about confirmation and spent six Tuesday evenings having tea with the then curate and his family followed by a one-to-one about different aspects of the Christian faith.
I knew I was going through the motions in order to be married. I kept the big questions I was being faced with at arm's length!
We were married, and two children and 15 years later we moved to a little village in Dorset, living next door to the church where we got to know the local priest. He was a lovely, ordinary man facing the same challenges in life we all do and yet his faith sustained him through thick and thin. When I thought about my life compared to his, I came to see that within me a gap existed that I realised only God could fill.
I realised too that this journey had begun with the seeds planted during those Confirmation classes by someone who truly welcomed me, despite my unwillingness to really take on board the truths that were shared with me.
Five years later I was ordained.
My journey has shown me, as a curate and then a vicar and now as archdeacon, that my responsibility to those who come for baptism, marriage or to arrange a funeral, is to welcome them as I was welcomed.
To share with them Jesus' gifts of grace and love and the difference He can make to our lives... and then to leave the rest to Him.
The Venerable Christine Froude is Archdeacon of Malmesbury
Spend a moment imagining what a welcome from God would look like for you.
Are there questions you keep at arms length?
Reflect on how encounters with church, God or Christianity could have formed a journey for you.
Meditate through the day
Welcome God into every conscious thought and welcome others in every interaction.