Queen's counsel XXVI

October 2003

In my first article in this series, before I had even started at Queen's College, I was looking forward to balancing my life between home, work and college and wondering how I would cope. My engineering effort came to an unexpected end last year when the company I worked for was closed and my job became redundant. My local tutor reminds me from time to time that my engineering perspective remains an active and important ingredient in my outlook on life and of course it is. It is important for us all to know ourselves and to discover the special abilities that we have, tried and tested or still latent.

Between the various years of our study, we are allocated two pastoral positions to enable us to develop our experience in a wider context. The first is a parish placement and you may remember that I spent some time in the parish of Bilston last year. Their Harvest thanksgiving service at St.Leonard's was particularly memorable because of the way they came together to celebrate local achievements from the world of work. Some they had stimulated themselves through a variety of local projects; others were invited to come and share thanks for their work, its struggles as well as its rewards. This is the church being involved with the community and seeking to be relevant to daily life.

The second is a secular attachment and this year I have the good fortune to be working with the Black Country Urban Industrial Mission (BCUIM) that seeks to link our faith with the world of work. There are nine chaplains who have been invited to come alongside those who work in a wide range of businesses and to share their insights and concerns with employees and employers. This is the world of work and of being community seeking to find God in the midst and of growing God's kingdom in our busyness as well as in our stillness at the end (or the start) of each week during worship in church.

The BCUIM, and others, think also about prayers and liturgies that are specific about bringing the world of work with its associated economy together with the church. This is something that we all contribute to in various ways but sometimes find its tensions and priorities difficult to reconcile with our faith. Here is the opening prayer offered for use on Industrial Sunday earlier this year.

Be our guide and companion, merciful God
in our place of work;
so that setting aside all bitterness and rivalry,
and treating others as we would wish to be treated,
we may be subject to your just and gentle rule;
through him who gave up his throne in heaven
to reconcile the whole world on the cross,
even Jesus Christ our Lord
AMEN.



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This page was last updated on 2003-08-12


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