In This Issue…
We report and reflect on a fascinating variety of issues, local and global. The impact of COVID-19 has been devastating, but there have been shafts of light amidst the gloom. So we include stories of hope that provide genuine encouragement.
The pandemic has brought the plight of the homeless to attention and prompted some positive action. Martin Clark describes a successful initiative that his organisation Allia has pioneered in Cambridge, providing small good quality modular units. He asks readers who might be able to do something similar in their area to get in touch with him.
Eight years ago Tom Sanderson wrote an article for FiBQ charting the progress of micro-finance in emerging economies. Rachel Lindley, his successor as Chief Executive of Five Talents, takes up the story, explaining why the Anglican agency has switched from making loans to facilitate the formation of savings groups, with encouraging results.
The spectacular picture on our cover is the design for the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer, a large new building soon to decorate the skyline south-east of Birmingham. Architect Paul Bulkeley tells the exciting story of how his company Snug came to win the design competition.
The current crisis has vastly increased the amount of online retailing. This increases the pressure on high street stores, so it is easy for Christians to join in the somewhat hypocritical clamour deploring this development. Will Treasure offers some cogent arguments in the other direction, highlighting ways in which home deliveries benefit the needy.
A disturbing story that predated COVID is the collapse of Carillion. Richard Higginson, with help from Cal Bailey, reveals how the construction company’s practices came to be at serious variance with their stated values. A similar concern with the gulf between intention and practice runs through Peter Heslam’s piece, the first in a new series on the Purpose of Business. Phil Jump reflects on important questions for church and world to ask in the light of the pandemic.
This issue is replete with a rich vein of reviews. Phil is one of the co-authors of Love@Work, the landmark history which marks the centenary of the Industrial Christian Fellowship. We encourage readers to buy this book which is the subject of an astute review by Anthony Harrop. Joe Osman, whose whole working career was spent with Traidcraft, has written a fascinating history of the Christian fair trade company, reviewed here by former chairman Christopher Stephens. Ken Dickson does a masterful ‘compare and contrast’ analysis of two books that are highly relevant to our current situation, Penny Pullan’s Virtual Leadership and Karen Kircher’s Called to Influence. Richard Higginson delights in Andrew Bradstock’s biography of David Sheppard, focusing on the way the cricketer-bishop related to the world of work and business.
Plenty for you to read here which should stimulate thought and action!