Methodist Church aims to close gap between work and worship

Methodist churches will mark their first ever Business Sunday next month in the hope of bringing faith and work life closer together.

Sermons on May 3 will be geared towards helping congregations make the connection between work and their Christian faith.

Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, David Walton, was inspired to launch Business Sunday after taking part in an ethical business consultation last year.

“In all the discussions I have been having with people all over the country, there has been a significant concern that we are not spending enough time making the link between our faith and our working lives,” said Walton, a partner in a solicitors’ firm in Manchester.

“We often include doctors and teachers in our prayers, but we don’t pray for the entrepreneurs, estate agents, accountants or people working in industry and commerce generally. Business Sunday is part of an initiative to support and encourage those people,”

He said the emphasis was not on creating another special Sunday in the calendar every year, but on having worship and study material available “to help leaders support and value those in their congregations who are often facing tough decisions and ethical dilemmas in their working lives”.

The Methodist Church has a nationwide presence in industry through a network of workplace chaplains.

Chaplaincies Coordinator, the Rev Rob Jones, said it was important to pray for people in industry.

“We pray for teachers and health workers, but when do we pray for people working on the shop floor of a car manufacturer? We don’t, on the whole, we don’t see the faith link, but in actual fact these people carry their faith into the work place in a vigorous and often a very creative way and we want to support them in what they do,” he said.

May 3 has been chosen for Business Sunday because of its proximity to Labour Day and Rogation Sunday.

The Methodist Church is putting together a number of Business Sunday resources, including service plans. It is also in the process of developing a Facebook-style website to further support workers.

Business Sunday will be formally launched in Bolton on May 3 at a meeting of 70 Methodist local lay preachers and worship leaders.

The launch will be joined by former Methodist Vice President and Phillips director, John Bell, who encourages churches to engage actively with business life.

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