In This Issue…
The Faith in Business Retreat which took place at the Cambridge Union Society on May 21-22 was a memorable experience. It was wonderful that this event featured face-to-face encounter for the first time in three years. The programme consisted in a mixture of honest and heartfelt talks, inspiring practical theology, refreshing worship expertly led by Andy Flannagan, deepened as well as new relationships, and above all a sense of the potential for working life to be transformed.
The theme, God’s Investment and Ours, is fully reflected in the contents of this issue. We harboured an underlying sense that just as God in his work creates, sustains and redeems, so we – human beings made in his image- have the opportunity to do that in our work. These three core activities (creating, sustaining and redeeming) might even be a guide to the companies we invest in.
You will find here written versions of three of the Retreat talks, along with the second in his series of articles on investment by Peter Heslam. Some motifs crop up several times, such as our responsibility to be good stewards of God-given resources, promoting good and avoiding evil in our investments, and the parable of the talents. But there are fascinating variations in focus. Investment manager David Saunderson utilises both his own experience and the Bible’s wisdom literature in introducing the theme. Ben Nicka displays disarming honesty along with shrewd insight in exploring how the attitudes that underlie our giving are often very different from those that inform our investments. Chris Gillies draws on his 40 years in business to distil four immensely helpful lessons about investment, both corporate and personal. Meanwhile Barbara Ridpath, summarising a talk given at Faith in Business Monthly, explains the principles behind the Church of England’s ethical investment policy.
There is deep food for thought to be found in articles on other topics. Kara Martin and Peter Cumming follow up their article on identity in 21:4 by showing how work environments are increasingly precarious, but through keeping alive a biblical sense of work as vocation and developing good habits entailing routine, space, people and purpose we can still ‘hold’ things together. Phil Hanson and Terry Young compare and contrast notions of business excellence and Kingdom behaviour – another article which originated in a talk at FiBM. Austin McCraw (like Ben Nicka an experienced US businessman now doing advanced theological study) evaluates the use of ‘conversion’ language in marketing. Phil Jump continues his reflections on the fact that secular community groups now occupy much of the space traditionally associated with the Church. Plenty here to think about – and to act on!
We apologise for a mistake in the last issue. The view which purported to show St David’s, the UK’s smallest city, actually showed the St David’s area of Exeter. Thanks to a native of Exeter for pointing this out!