Hello. I’m Simon Ward, author of “Riding the Tide”, a book exploring 15 ancient Psalms and how they can help us through the challenges of 21st Century life. Waiting in the wings is a second book, similarly looking at the lives of 21 Bible Heroes; a daily blog called “In the Footsteps of the King”, which follows Jesus over a full year in Luke’s gospel; and “Time for Light”, verses of Scripture to help reflection on 100 key Bible words. All of them weigh up how a living faith can help us cope with daily life. I hope they will be of use even if you are not yet sure how faith might impact your life.
A bit about the author. I was born in Bath in 1957, spent a few months in Gibraltar, and was then brought up in Portsmouth. That gives a clue that ours was a naval family. After some fun years at Portsmouth Grammar School, mainly on the sports field, my contrary nature led me to try for a career in the Army. Maybe I should have tried the Navy after all, for the Army didn’t want me. But they must have liked the tongue in cheek report of my selection week adventures, written for my school magazine, as they included it in their recruitment brochure.
This was an early experience of irony, something I have appreciated ever since. It suggested I had a better way with words than I did on the zip wire, off which I had fallen, into a bog, on the final day of that selection week!
But I get ahead of myself. After scraping “A” levels, I studied Geography at Goldsmiths College, London. Thanks to the opera mad family of an Italian girlfriend, I discovered I had a tenor voice of some potential and spent the next decade training, in my spare time, and singing lead roles in 26 operas from The Magic Flute and Aida, to Peter Grimes.
This, however, was not to be my career. Beautiful as it was, I could never get my big voice 100% under control. When I was invited to lead the children’s work at my home church in Surrey, it was time to move on. And then after 8 years of occasionally outrageous antics learning about Jesus with 8-11 year olds, it was time to move on again. This time, I picked up the guitar that had been languishing in a cupboard since my teenage years, dusted off my voice and took up worship leading.
The thread running through all this has been my day job, working with the British Fashion Council. Although I got into it, back in the 80s, purely to pay for singing lessons, I am still there, now as Chief Operating Officer. 2006 was a turning point, when Sir Stuart Rose, Chairman and CEO of Marks & Spencer, took over as BFC Chairman. A formidable operator, he gave the organisation a complete makeover and brought in a new CEO, Hilary Riva, who gave me the chance to show my mettle as a senior executive, after years of pottering along in relative comfort.
Not long afterwards, I met up with a number of Christians working in the Creative Industries, in particular Steve Cole running Artisan, a grouping of Christians working in the Creative Sector, and Chrissie Abbott, who had recently set up what is now Fashion for Christ. After years of hoping my actions would speak of my faith, as my words did so infrequently, I slowly started to find a voice, initially amongst Christian colleagues and then with others in and around the workplace.
There is still a long way to go, but the journey is underway, and it is being helped by the writing and events that I am starting to roll out. They are enabling me to discover and articulate a new faith language, in which I feel comfortable talking to anyone, whether they are interested in the life-changing gospel message of Jesus Christ, or indifferent to it. Actually, I think what is happening is that I am finding my true identity as a follower of Jesus.
Have a look at the website and see for yourself if the samples of what I’ve been writing are helpful. I hope they are.