Faith at Work XIV

September 2005

We have come to the beginning of another academic year; our thoughts and prayers are with those who study. But where does this end? Doesn't the whole of life provide opportunity for developing skills and knowledge? And where does our own individual yearning end and our corporate impact on society begin? Most successful businesses have a vision that integrates both, for example GKN (whom I supported as an engineer, and who nurtured me, for 23 years) include both people and community in their professed values. Two ambitions stand out for me:

  1. to encourage employees to fulfil their potential for the benefit of both themselves and the organisation;
  2. to contribute positively to the communities in which they operate.

At the Science Park the other day, I was introduced to some of the people from the UK College of Life Coaching. Their reason for being, it seems to me, is very similar, to encourage the best in everyone and to spread this approach around, training people as coaches so that they may affirm individuals and help them attain a healthy work / life balance. The interesting thing for me was the emphasis on people discovering themselves and responding to the contexts around them. There is far more scope these days for the individual to shine but also a greater risk of being lost as our present networking environment increases in complexity.

Since the topic was in the air, I was asked directly whether I was in favour of women being consecrated as bishops. My reply was two-fold, firstly to reflect that we have a good model in Mary Magdalene and secondly that we all need to discover our potential for ourselves. Mary encountered her risen Lord outside the tomb on the first Easter Day and was promptly commissioned by him to go and spread the word to the disciples [Jn.20:11-18]. Peter may have been "the rock on which I will build my church" [Mt.16:18] but Mary was the first apostle. Both had a job to do and were challenged by Jesus to become fully aware of their role and ability. I can see Mary overseeing the spiritual development of the disciples just as easily as Peter overseeing the formation of the church in Rome. One distinctive role of a bishop is to oversee that part of the church where they hold responsibility and to see that the spiritual pervades the whole of life.

Brother Lawrence (1611-91), once said:

"The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, I possess God in as great tranquillity as if I were on my knees at the blessed sacrament."
May it be so for us too. AMEN

This site was developed to contain work by Mike Fox relating to the WMMTC course
and subsequent experience during ministry in the parish of Codsall and the BCUIM.
This page was last updated on 2005-08-02

Copyright 2005 Mike Fox
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