Faith at Work LIX

June 2009

Its good to celebrate, isn’t it. We find all sorts of reasons why we can and they are often associated with particular milestones, birthdays or wedding anniversaries or holding down a job for 25 years (sadly getting less common these days), whatever it is. We can look back on the things that have been achieved over that time and we can look forward to things to come; we can say, with Dag Hammaskjold: “For all that has been, thanks; for all that will be, yes.” In between, we find the magical moment for which we live, when the inspiration comes that shapes us and gives us a glimpse of the future.

Three hundred years ago, in 1709, Abraham Darby successfully smelted iron ore with coke in his furnaces at Coalbrookdale to form the first iron products. He must have had a few moments of inspiration that led him on the way and may have had a good feeling that it would work – all he had to do was to follow his instinct, though it may have been costly and a lot of hard work. What would we have done in between without iron and steel? We celebrate the beginning of the Industrial Revolution this year.

Fifty years later, the Dowlais Iron Company was established in Dowlais, near Methyr Tydfil in South Wales and was managed by the Guest family. Lady Charlotte Guest led them in the 1850s to become the world’s largest manufacturing company. Later they were to amalgamate with Keen and then Nettlefolds to become GKN; you can trace their development on a special website: In the March 2009 edition of the group newsletter, the chief executive, Sir Kevin Smith, says: “we always have an eye on what the future might hold” and the group certainly has had an influential and ever-changing portfolio. They are celebrating their 250th anniversary this year and plan to continue the two-fold tradition of innovation and help for the community.

Two thousand years ago, a small group of people who had experienced the inspirational leadership of Jesus were huddled together wondering where they were going now that he had left them, ascended to his Father in heaven. All of a sudden, they had a life-changing experience. A rushing, mighty wind came to disturb them and tongues of flame came and rested on each one of them. They found that they were able to speak in all the different languages that they needed to communicate their faith to all those around them. We celebrate that moment on the day of Pentecost (fifty days after Easter) every year, and so we pray, with Elizabeth Baxter:

Free flowing spirit, gather my loved ones,
travel with them, dance with them, lift their spirits
that they may find strength, their confidence,
their freedom in you, the ground of their being.

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 2009-05-11

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