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Originally published by ICF www.icf-online.org

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4 (NIVUK)

Do we expect to come home from work as healthily as we went in? Or even to come home at all? It’s easy to look back at an event and see how it could have been prevented, but by then it is too late.

Health and safety can have a bad reputation, but in the same way that Jesus left the ninety-nine sheep to look for the one lost, we need to leave the ninety-nine safe situations to address the one unsafe. Similarly, when we hear the tales of apparent overreach in the name of health and safety, we need to ask the question, what is this trying to achieve? Because when viewed this way, often the stories that seem ridiculous at first, turn out to be sensible.

28th April was International Workers Memorial Day; this is a day to remember those who have lost their lives whilst doing their jobs. For most of us, most of the time, this is not something that we will experience, but for the family and friends of 147 people in 2019, this was not the case.

Following Jesus’ command to love our neighbour, we have to see the value of all of those we work with and so we cannot be negligent in then ensuring that they come home at safe from work. As Christians, if we try to see people and the world around us as God does, then having them come home safe after a day at work is a must. For Jesus called us to love our neighbour and we cannot love without trying to keep them safe.

Caring about the health and safety of our colleagues is not just our legal requirement (Health and Safety at Work Act 1974) but a key part of how we should approach our work as Christians. This means that our approach to health and safety should not be just about how do I come home safe, but how does everyone else come home safe.

So how do we do this? Does this just mean that we minimise risk for us and those we work with? Do we run into danger so that others might not have to? Do we challenge the structures around us? All of these play a part, and none can be looked at without thinking of the others.

This is not just about ensuring that we do not do our work in a way that endangers others, but is as much about looking at structures of money and power. Are they more concerned about productivity and profit than about the lives of those who work there and about the lives of those who your work may impact? Do they value others above themselves, not looking to their own interests but to the interests of the others?

For many, a large part of what you do in your work is to put yourself in harm’s way for the sake of others. Some of those roles are more obvious than others, we will often think of soldiers and fire-fighters and fishermen, but we also need to remember others who may not come home. This year the call to remember those who have died in their work is even more poignant due to the COVID–19 crisis; at the time of writing this more than 100 healthcare workers in the UK have died as a result of caring for those who have had the infection and sadly these will not be the last.

So at this time of remembering, let’s give a round of applause for those who put themselves in harm’s way, especially those in healthcare and other key workers and take a moment to remember those who won’t be coming home tonight.

For those who put themselves in harm’s way, Lord our defender, we pray for your protection

For those who are hurt at work, Jesus who heals, we hold them before you.

For those who don’t come back, Father we commend them into your arms

For those who grieve, Spirit bring your comfort

Creator of all, we pray that you protect everyone as they go to work today.

www.icf-online.org

Originally written for Ministers at Work the Journal of CHRISM

Reading at Work is an entirely lay led workplace ministry based in and around the town of Reading, Berkshire. I have been leading it for the last 12 years and I work as a scientist for a utilities company.

 

In the late 1990’s as a result of several prayer meetings, faith and work study groups formed in different churches in the town, the most significant of these were Greyfriars, an evangelical Anglican and Wycliffe Baptist. These groups, whilst operating with the blessing of the church leadership, were run by members of the congregations, who were active in the local business community rather than the church leadership.

After a couple of years of doing things independently, the groups discovered each other and decided that rather than focus on their own churches, that they would team up to develop a cross town ministry.

 

The aim has always been, to inspire those within the church to think about how to be a Christian in their job. I have always been struck by the idea that I am a missionary to my workplace and that I should treat that in the same way that I would if I had been called to go to Africa.

 

In recent times we have done this in three ways

 

Inspire – mostly this has been about bringing in speakers, who can then get people thinking about how their work is part of the kingdom. We have had Christian business leaders and senior Church leaders and speakers from organisations such as ICF, LICC & Transform Work UK.

 

Pray – We have always wanted to make space for people to pray both about their work and business in general. A small keen group has been meeting every month for the last 12 years to pray for Businesses in the town.

 

Connect - Making connections has often been one of the most significant parts of what we do. From the beginning we have realised that we cannot do everything, or even as much as we would like because we are a group of volunteers fitting this around our full time jobs. So we have made a point of supporting and working with other organisations. The most significant one recently has been Transform Work UK where we have helped them to grow Christian workplace groups. We have also spent a lot of time connecting with the local Gather group of churches and we have seen that the interest in workplaces in the churches in the town has grown significantly.

 

We have not found this to be easy, but we have found that whilst progress has been slow, God has given us new connections and opportunities on a regular basis.

We are very grateful for the way that God has led us as a small group of lay people using their spare time to make a difference and the way that he has enabled us to do the work whilst largely operating without a budget. We don’t know what the future will hold, but we are looking forward to new ways of working, the main one being to move to being predominantly online. This is both as a response to COVID 19, but also because we believe that is how God is calling us to reach to more people.

 

We hope that our story has helped and inspired and if you want to learn more, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mindfulness by Shirley Anstis

With Mindfulness becoming more common in workplaces, here are some thoughts by Shirley Anstis, Christian Counseller

 

Jon Kabat-Zinn is considered the instigator of bringing mindfulness to western science through establishing the Stress Reduction Clinic for research and practice at University of Massachusetts.

Since these beginnings the evidence to support the effectiveness of mindfulness has been overwhelming. Mindfulness has been recommended by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as a way to prevent recurring depression.

Kabat- Zinn’s definition is that mindfulness means “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally.” It is neither Christian nor Buddhist but about how our brain works.

Being more mindful can help us connect more to our compassion, be more courageous and curious. Mindfulness practice helps to develop a beginner’s mind.

Studies have linked regular mindfulness meditation with decrease in anxiety, depression and irritability. It can also help to increase mental and physical stamina, improve quality of relationships and immune functioning.

These half-an-hour sessions offer an opportunity to pause, be more present to your internal and external world, and let go. It is not about acquiring any state. Practicing mindfulness helps to improve clarity and focus. Only an experience will help you to know if it is for you. Try it and see.

P.S. It is not suitable for you if you are in the middle of a deep depression, OCD, anxiety or any psychotic state. That would require one-to-one sessions with a therapist or psychiatrist.

What are Christian Workplace Groups? by Matt Aldridge

 

As the name suggests, Christian Workplace Groups (CWGs) are groups of Christians that meet within their workplaces to worship, pray and bless not only their colleagues but the wider organisation. CWGs are to be a positive impact in the workplace, supporting other believers and looking to bring the Good News of Jesus into an otherwise secular environment.

 

Many groups start as individuals that take a step of faith and search out other Christians within their workplaces for prayer, support and discussion. As the group grows and becomes more established they can look to request formal recognition by their employers as a diversity network through the organisations diversity and equality policies. Through formal recognition, the CWG can look be a shining light in the darkness.

 

Why do they matter?

 

In the same way Jesus equipped his disciples through the Holy Spirit to spread the gospel throughout the world, we believe he is calling us to see the workplace as a key mission field. CWG’s are an effective vehicle by which we can disciple the workplace. Many of us work with hundreds of co-workers who have little to no concept that Jesus loves and died for them. Will they hear this in the gym, supermarket or social gathering? God is transforming workplaces and lives through Christian Work Groups and his followers in the workplace. To understand why Christian Workplace Groups matter, we should ask ourselves:

 

Where is my frontline?

Is God interested in my 9-5 work life?

Where will my faith have the most impact?

Where do I have most personal contact with those outside Church?

 

If the answer to many of these questions is the workplace then why not start or join a CWG and become a workplace disciple.

If you want to start a CWG or help with your group, come to one of our networking events or contact Matt@readingatwork

Matt Aldridge has recently joined the Transform Work UK team and will be working alongside us in Reading at Work

 

 

I grew up in the New Forest in a Village called Lyndhurst and gave my life to the Lord at an early age. After attending an Alpha Course about eight years ago, the Holy Spirit revealed to me through the Book of John that I was to focus my life on loving God with all my heart and to show his love to those I encountered. 

 

After working for a Publishing company in Basingstoke for seven years my job transferred to Kings Cross. What appeared to be a short term inconvenience to my career plans in fact turned out to be part of Gods bigger plan for my life! Whilst working in Kings Cross I attended the lunch time ministries run by St Helens at Bishopsgate at a pub in Kings Cross station. It was during this time that God gave me a heart for workplace ministries. From receiving colleagues turn down invitations to church based events I found they did attend the lunchtime gatherings where they would hear the gospel in familiar surroundings. 

 

After  my time at Kings Cross had come to an end I started working for my current employer Quintiles on the Reading Green Park business Park. From putting out Facebook messages and meeting with Jamie Carter from Carey Baptist I was introduced to Dave Law at Reading at Work and Transform Work UK. Through Gods provision and guidance the small  group at Green Park continues to grow and God has placed on my heart that I should serve him through the work at Transform work UK.