Faith at Work LXVI

January 2010

So, what will the New Year bring? In the factories that I visit they would hope for a stronger and more robust order book. When volumes drop by 60%, as they did last year, it is very difficult to sustain the current way of working and employ the same number of people – the numbers just don’t add up; maybe they need to be composed in a different way nowadays as we work towards a more sustainable, and “green”, economy. Having survived a torrid year and lost a few good workers, the hope now is that the customers will ask for an increasing number of products and also that there may be a few more customers from other sectors to help maintain the work flowing through the works.

How do they cope with an unpredictable demand for the things they can supply? That’s a question that has been taxing the companies more recently – there are various aspects to that: one is to become more flexible and train people to be available for a greater variety of tasks. There has also been significant recruitment of staff, but it is on a temporary basis until it is clear that the economy really has started coming out of recession. That raises other questions: how do workers respond when others are being rewarded on a different basis? How much slack can you afford to have in the system? Should there be more overtime or more people available to do the work? What other work could they do? It’s a difficult balance to maintain and inevitably a variety of approaches that can be taken.

The church has its fair share of variety as well – this month between the 18 and 25 January we celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. There has not always been agreement among the churches about when to hold it, and there is certainly a continuing need to pray for unity. The Week of Prayer is fixed by date and involves both St.Peter and St.Paul. The 18th is the feast of the chair of St.Peter when he was first enthroned bishop of Rome and the 25th is the day when we remember the conversion of St.Paul, a Jew who took the gospel out to the rest of the world.

The material for last year’s Week of Prayer came from Papua New Guinea; this year it was compiled in Scotland. The theme, “you are witnesses”, invites us to think about celebrating life, sharing our stories, relating our faith to daily life. But it also challenges us to think about remaining true through our suffering, drawing comfort from Holy Scripture and sharing our life in hope and trust with others, and so we pray, from the Week of Prayer booklet:

God our comfort and guide,
when our doubts are deepest
and our fears are darkest, you are there,
though our clouded perception may miss your presence.
Make us each secure and supportive,
atune to the sensitivities of others,
that we may be encouraged in faith and hope
on our journey to you.

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 2009-12-17

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