In 1960 the Metropolitan Methodist Church in Pietermaritzburg agreed to sponsor the printing of a monthly booklet of daily messages to be written by its senior minister, Revd Arnold J Walker. Mr Walker had already written occasional articles in the "Natal Witness" encouraging people in their Christian life. People appreciated these so much that they had asked for a daily message. So, under the title "A Faith for Daily Living" the first monthly booklet appeared in January 1961. The church would sponsor the first six months' printing after which it would need to look after itself.
It did just that and soon requests came in for more. No charge was to be made and all funding was to come from voluntary donations.
In 1963 Mr Walker moved to the West Street Methodist Church in Durban, taking with him "Faith for Daily Living". It continued to grow in circulation and soon staff had to be employed to help with the administration. Ten years later the work had become so vast that Mr Walker asked for separation from the work of the church in order to concentrate solely on Faith for Daily Living. In 1975 an independent trust was formed which was to be non-denominational in character and the office moved out of the Methodist Church building. The trust was to be known as the "Faith for Daily Living Foundation". In the early days of the project Mr Walker persuaded the Foundation's bankers to accept overseas currency and cheques without commission and this has saved the foundation many thousands of rands over the years.
In 1995 Mr Walker retired and handed over the writing of the book and the chairmanship of the foundation to Mr Brian Thomas, a retired attorney who had been a lay minister in the Presbyterian Church for many years and who had already shared the task of writing some pages with Mr Walker. The Revd Arnold Walker had been born in Sunderland, England and had received one year's college training at Cliff College before emigrating to South Africa in the 1940's. He passed away in 1998, a remarkable life's work having been accomplished.
In 2002 Mr Thomas took ill and died suddenly and the trustees appointed Revd Dr John Borman to be the editor. Dr Borman had retired two years previously after a lifetime in the Methodist ministry. He too had studied at Cliff College before emigrating to South Africa for ministerial training at Rhodes University.
Today 120,000 copies are printed and distributed every two months. They go to many countries in the world. After printing they are packed and posted by Lithotec who negotiate favourable postage rates for us.
Today the finances of the foundation are in a healthy state and donations pour in from many sources. Most of these come from individuals but some are from churches that order in bulk and distribute to their members. However, funds have not always been plentiful and on at least one occasion some trustees had to bail out the foundation from their own resources. In recent years a few substantial bequests have boosted the regular donations and this has made possible the launching of the Student edition.
In 2005 a reader, Mr Gareth Jardine, requested that a youth edition be published and so was born the "Youth Page". That has now borne fruit with the introduction of the Student Edition that appears exactly fifty years after the first volume of Faith. It is a translation into young people's language of the "senior" booklet, the translation being effected through "Reach Publishers".
In 2006, thanks to the work of Mr Neville Parathyras, the book was made available by e-mail to those requesting it. The take-up of this facility has grown steadily.
In 2010 another new venture saw Faith being made available by cell phone and those using this facility are also slowly increasing.
Today four trustees guide the work of the Foundation and a staff of nine people process all the office work. Through all these years God has guided and provided for the project. Readers have been comforted in sorrow, guided in perplexity, inspired in daily living and grown in grace. Some have come to know Christ, others have been motivated to serve him. Many have said how the messages have spoken to them on a specific day. "God was speaking directly to my situation" is a comment many letters convey. To God be the glory!