Business Sunday launched to connect with business life

As the recession continues to dig in its heels, the MethodistChurch is pioneering ways to bridge the gap between work and placeof worship.

May 3 will see the first Business Sunday, a day when leaders ofMethodist services will be encouraged to connect their sermons withthe whole world of work.

Business Sunday was an idea instigated by Vice-President of theMethodist Conference, David Walton, following an ethical businessconsultation at the Martin Luther King Centre in Manchester inOctober. The date May 3 was chosen because of its proximity toLabour Day and Rogation Sunday; two festivals which remember thejoys and trials of working life.

David, who is a partner of a solicitors' firm in Manchester, said:"In all the discussions I have been having with people all over thecountry, there has been a significant concern that we are notspending enough time making the link between our faith and ourworking lives. We often include doctors and teachers in ourprayers, but we don't pray for the entrepreneurs, estate agents,accountants or people working in industry and commercegenerally.

"Business Sunday is part of an initiative to support and encouragethose people. The emphasis is not on creating yet another specialSunday in the calendar every year, but on having worship and studymaterial available to help leaders support and value those in theircongregations who are often facing tough decisions and ethicaldilemmas in their working lives."

There are 150 Methodist workplace chaplains working with people inindustry and commerce, from Bluewater Shopping Centre through toAsda. Rev Rob Jones, Chaplaincies Coordinator, said: "We pray forteachers and health workers, but when do we pray for people workingon the shop floor of a car manufacturer? We don't, on the whole, wedon't see the faith link, but in actual fact these people carrytheir faith into the work place in a vigorous and often a verycreative way and we want to support them in what they do."

Resources, including service plans, will be available from today onthe Methodist Church website. A Facebook-styled website aimed atfostering a network of support for like-minded people is indevelopment.

The idea follows on from the work of former Vice President JohnBell who, as a former director of Philips, encouraged churches toengage actively with business life. David will be at a meeting of70 Methodist local lay preachers and worship leaders in Bolton onMay 3 for the launch of Business Sunday.