The Church is made up of Christians from a myriad of different professions, and yet their ordinary tales of God at work rarely get told. In this series, we bring you stories of faith on the frontline 

Fay Howard in the Chamber

My name is Fay Howard. I’m a local councillor in Swindon, elected by the residents in my ward to represent them within the borough council.

There are three elements to being a councillor. The first and most important part is working to resolve residents’ problems. The second element is attending council meetings. The public perception can be that we’re always arguing with each other in the chamber but, quite often, we’re working in small committees and it’s quite productive. The third part is being engaged in the wider political party, attending meetings, campaigning and trying to influence policy.

Faith and politics are as one for me. When I first came to faith, the Christians I met were into politics. I got really involved in Jubilee 2000 and the Drop the Debt campaign. Politics is one way that I live out my faith and care for people. It was great that the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) was able to help the stranger at the side of the road, but wouldn’t it have been even better if there had been street lights, and the attack hadn’t happened in the first place?

I’ve been surprised by colleagues who have visited the Holy Land and come back with gifts for me because they recognise my faith, even if I don’t remember having a conversation with them about it. I try to be authentic and fair. I’m respected across the political parties. I don’t speak out in the council chamber all the time, but if I say something, it’s because it really matters to me. It’s God-led, and people say that they really listen.

I’m always praying about things. In dealing with residents, I try to be Jesus to them and absorb what they are sharing, even if they are angry. Councils are incredibly short of money just now and are often short-staffed, so being supportive of council employees makes a difference. 

The majority of people don’t understand or respect councillors, and that can be hard, although I’m quite thick-skinned. I’m also a nurse, and people love a nurse!

This is the year of a general election. Please pray for everyone involved in politics and pray that Christians who work in politics would be true to their faith. I am praying for more Christians to get involved!