Industry Dice/Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net
Together they were helping to develop a new vision for the Church’s engagement with the economy and for the Industrial Mission Association (IMA), which exists to resource workplace chaplaincy and connect faith and work.
The conference attracted some high profile speakers, including John Ellis, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the URC, who formerly worked for the Bank of England, and the Rt Revd Peter Selby, former Bishop of Worcester, now part of the interim directing team at St Paul’s Institute.
Participants took part in a series of workshops led by Tim Jenkins, Director of Great Transition Initiatives of the New Economics Foundation, and enjoyed after-dinner speakers from both the CBI and the TUC.
At the end of the conference, those present were sent out ‘to live and work to God’s praise and glory’ by the Revd Phil Jump, Regional Minister Team Leader for the North Western Baptist Association.
His talk was titled ‘Jerusalem, Judaea and Samaria.’ (Acts 1:8) Jerusalem: it might be tough, dangerous and require sacrifice. Judaea: it might be routine and familiar. Samaria : it might even include bankers and other ‘Samaritans’!
And the response to the disciples’ question to Jesus, ‘Will you at this time restore the Kingdom?’ is in effect ‘No, stop building ecclesiastical empires and get out there like chaplains to the farthest corners of the earth!’
IMA Moderator, the Revd Randell Moll, said, 'It is becoming very clear that chaplaincy, mission in the economy and workplace chaplaincy in particular, is increasing in popularity, not least through the enthusiasm and commitment of new teams of lay volunteers. The Church as a whole will surely rejoice at the vitality of this truly fresh expression of mission and ministry, and will want to support and resource it, so that these newer shoots will take root and flourish.
'As the economy is 24/7, so is our Christian discipleship. How do they connect? Many Christians spend much more of their time at work than at church. They seek support in making sense of the 21st century economic world in the light of their faith. Partnership between teams of workplace chaplains and local churches are trying together to meet this need.
'Support and resourcing by national and local churches, especially of key workplace chaplaincy posts, is now crucial for the opening up of this huge, timely and vital area of mission and ministry.'
The IMA is the only national ecumenical network for practitioners engaged in workplace chaplaincy, and mission in the economy as a whole. It provides a significant resource and it believes that mission in the economy, as a growing concern, must be owned and supported by the whole Church.
To find out more email the IMA Moderator Revd Randell Moll firstname.lastname@example.org