Despite the relentless snowy weather - which is making it very difficult to get in and out of Cuddesdon - the new term is underway with a Themed Study Week. Unlike the week which ended last term, this week has a variety of options for us to choose from; I am doing a week on Faith & Work.
I asked to do this because there are so many aspects to this course which are relevant to future parish ministry. Surveys are regularly conducted which show that many Christians struggle to make connections between their faith and daily life, and received little help from their local church in this area. And yet, for those in our congregations who do work, they will on the whole be spending more waking time at work than at home in a typical week. And so I believe that this has to be a key area in which the parish priest supports the congregation in his or her care. There are also, of course, issues around unemployment, retirement, etc.
So far this week, we have had some introductory thoughts, followed by a trip to one of the big Investment Banks in Canary Wharf yesterday. We met a number of key personnel - some of whom are Christians and some of whom are not - along with the Chaplain to Canary Wharf. It was a very interesting day, particularly in understanding more about the banking industry, the pressures that people who work in that atmosphere have to deal with, and in visiting the homogeneous, impersonal trading floor.
Then today we have been doing some theological reflection on our time there. Still to come, we will be looking at how Christian Theology of Work has developed over the years, and then thinking about specific ways in which pastors can support Christians at work.
It would have been nice to visit somewhere very different as well - banking, of course, is very different to healthcare, which is different to education, which is different to manufacturing, etc - but this week has been excellent so far. And it has been a great way to kick off the new term, before going back into the normal timetable next week.
3 weeks ago