Christian Entrepreneurship

2018 03 11 tree branches b&wA&Q 1 and Christian Entrepreneurship

While I love Advice & Queries 1, “Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts. Trust them as the leadings of God whose Light shows us our darkness and brings us to new life.” I had not previously considered it as business advice.

During last week’s Churches & Commerce conference, Richard Frazer, Minister Greyfriars Kirk Edinburgh, gave us some thoughts on approaches to a theology for entrepreneurs.

As a Quaker I try hard to remember that all things are equally sacred – work, play, rest, worship… So I was intrigued by Richard’s comments that he thought the first Apostle Andrew was also an entrepreneur in the way he handled his big opportunity (meeting Jesus) by recognising that:

  • it was an opportunity
  • he wasn’t the right person to handle this alone
  • he knew others who needed to be part of this opportunity

Andrew was humble enough to leave Jesus, and go fetch Simon Peter, but also continued to network and bring people he felt would be useful. Andrew found the boy with the loaves and fishes, for example. Of course he was also a fisherman, so would have been used to networking as part of running a small business. Dealing with clients who wanted to buy his fish as well as the others who worked in the family business, other fishermen, etc.

Money Making as Mission

Yesterday, during Meeting for Worship, ministry was shared about how a childhood prayer asking for ‘G*D’s guidance, love and protection‘, took on a new deeper meaning when the speaker twisted from ‘asking’ to ‘being ready to receive by standing in a place of gratitude for the blessings already received’.

This connected with my musings, over the last few days, about the difference between networks and business plans compared to G*D’s community & plans. A concept mirrored by the interconnectedness of the tree branches lining my view from the room.

I’m often asked how I can see running a business, making money, and working with clients to help them do likewise, as a mission. For me, it depends on where you start.

If you are rooted into a firm foundation of G*D’s love and truth, and are looking at these opportunities as ones where you can make a difference by creating or facilitating a profit, network, etc., that then allows you to work from a place of gratitude and thankfulness, with a quiet certainty that you are following the leadings of G*D for you.

This is very different viewpoint and attitude to one that is only in it for the profit, or personal gain, and leads to different choices. But it does require continual awareness and consideration of which state I’ve slipped into, and a regular drawing back to the centre where I can hear those quiet promptings.

Q&B Conference 2017 ‘Seek unity; uphold difference; find wholeness: Exploring decision-making through Quaker Business Method and other models’

The annual conference was held at Friends House, always a pleasure to spend time there.

The day was very full – with more workshops I wanted to attend than I could, which is always a good sign.

You can read the full minute and report on Q&B’s website: http://qandb.org/qbc17

Priming the Brain

My highlights were a workshop with Claire James from Pivotal Moment on Priming the Brain. Claire talked about the new discoveries in neural science are showing how people can consciously shape their thinking environment, and help them make better decisions.

Charity Governance and the Quaker Business Method

Shivaji Shiva from Anthony Collins Solicitors gave a good overview of Charity Governance and the Quaker Business Method. I’ve done several workshop/seminars exploring and explaining Governance, but it was good to have a specific workshop aimed at Quaker Charity Governance.

Including a quote: ‘Recognition of the fact that good charity governance is difficult to achieve is a useful first step.’ Something to keep in mind, as we struggle to be good trustees and committee members.

Lots of notes to work through – and hopefully a couple of blog posts to come.

Flowers in Meeting for Worship

2014 09 28 new meeting

  • Do you have flowers or books on a table in the middle of Meeting for Worship?
  • If you do – what books and who chooses them?
  • Have you worshipped outside?

All of these questions and more are being asked by Peter Duckworth who is coming to the end of a two year Equipping For Ministry (EFM) Course at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre. During the course he has developed an interest in the motivations for use of flowers and books in Meeting for Worship. Many Friends are deeply attached to the practice though it is a relatively recent innovation, one not generally used by American Friends and alien to the practice of early Quakers.

As part of his EFM Project, Peter was prompted to find out more about how widespread the practice is and what the experience and understanding of Friends might be. He has developed a short ‘flowers in meeting survey‘ which he asks for Friends to complete – it won’t take long and each answer helps to give a fuller picture.

My current meeting meets in rented accommodation and doesn’t tend to have flowers; many people don’t have a garden to plunder or come by bike. I haven’t noticed any difference in how I settle or worship without flowers – but do enjoy them when they appear.

QBC’16 – Embodying Equality in Business – Why? & How?

QBC’16 – Embodying Equality in Business – Why? & How?

The ‘Why’ inspires change and the ‘How’ empowers change

Wednesday, 9th November 2016
Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ

9:30am to 10:00am Registration and Networking.
10:00am Meeting for Worship (for ten minutes).
4:30pm Close.

The heartfelt purpose is for those attending the conference to leave with their own personal intent to embody equality in their organisations at a deeper, more profound human level. The participants will leave feeling and knowing the difference these ideas will make for their staff, their customers and for the wider community.

The day will be grounded in Quaker Advice and Queries 22:
“Respect the wide diversity among us in our lives and relationships. Refrain from making prejudiced judgements about the life journeys of others. Do you foster the spirit of mutual understanding and forgiveness which our discipleship asks of us? Remember that each one of us is unique, precious, a child of God”

There will be speakers and creative activities during the day; and the flow of our four speakers for the day is:-

  • Gender Equality
  • Sexual Orientation Equality
  • Racial Equality
  • Religious Equality

Satish Kumar, internationally renowned speaker on ecological and spiritual issues will be speaking on Embodying Religious Equality in Business.

Michael Lassman, who has over 30 years’ experience following an equality and diversity agenda, speaking on Embodying Gender Equality in Business. Michael set up Equality Edge at the end of 2006 as a vehicle to deliver innovative workshops, one-to-one or small group coaching and public speaking services. He is speaking at the 2016 Global Equality and Diversity Conference.

You can find the full programme here.

Looks like a full day of inspiration and challenge – I’ve put that in my diary and hope to see you there.

Fire Drills During Meeting for Worship

2013 07 15 fire truck 2Fire!

Fire Alarms and the necessary Fire equipment and signage are all an important part of any building’s safety plan – and we always hope they won’t be needed. However, if the worst happened – would your meeting know how to respond?

Mount Street, Manchester recently held a fire drill during Meeting for Worship. Although there were several mishaps, and originally many people were upset, by the end they had learnt so much it was decided this should be done again.

Have your Premises and Elders sat down to work out an evacuation plan? Appointed marshals to ensure the building is empty, count everyone out and to ring the Fire Brigade?

Consideration of where to meet – and when to reunite children and parents are two important issues.

Are there any people who need special consideration?

  • Is anyone hard of hearing who wouldn’t hear the alarm for example?
  • Is there anyone who would need help in getting out of the building for any reason?
  • Does your Children’s Meeting meet in a different part of the building? If so do the helpers know where to go and have enough people to ensure everyone can leave safely?

We’re not alone in needing to do this – Ship of Fools has a thread about other churches who have done drills during services. One suggestion was to hold the drill at the end of the services so everyone was still there but the evacuation practice was done. Another was to do it at different times of the month to cover any changes to routine.

Reminding us that this risk is real one post commented that there was a priest who started each Sunday service with information about fire exits as their previous church had burned down.

  • Have you ever held a fire drill during Meeting for Worship?
  • Would you consider it? If not – why not?

Reading Quaker faith &Practice Chapter 2: Approaches to God – Worship & Prayer

Qf&P stones Chapter 2 Approaches to God - Worship & PrayerReading Quaker Faith & Practice Chapter 2: Approaches to God – Worship & Prayer

This chapter is one that most Quakers I’ve spoken to have dipped into.

Not surprisingly ‘Quakers and God’ is a continually popular Quaker Quest session.

There are four sections

  • Experience and nature of worship
  • Silent Waiting
  • Prayer
  • Meeting for Worship

and ninety-two passages, quite a lot to read in 31 days, but fourteen which contain the word “LIGHT” so they are in my current Qf&p journal. I reread through my journalling, and worked through the four remaining.

My word for 2016 is BELIEVE – I was interested to see that although BELIEVE appears ten times in Chapter 2, there are only three (2.24, 2.57 & 2.58) that also included LIGHT.

I’m looking forward to pondering and journalling on the remaining seven in this year’s journal.

  • Are you taking part in this reading project?
  • Is your meeting arranging a monthly discussion group?

This post is part of my Reading Quaker Faith & Practice series – click here for the introduction and explanation or here for all posts in this series.

‘Reading Quaker faith & practice’ conference at Woodbrooke

Woodbrooke Conference & Quaker Study centre

All area meetings in Britain have been invited to nominate a Friend to participate in the ‘Reading Quaker faith & practice‘ conference at Woodbrooke, 22nd to 24th April 2016.

The conference will provide an opportunity to:

  • Learn from one another’s experience of participating in the Reading Quaker faith & practice programme so far.
  • Gain ideas and resources for setting up and inspiring groups in meetings.
  • Share reflections and insights emerging from existing groups.
  • Understand more about the origins, purposes and development of the current book.

The conference welcomes participants from all area meetings, including those which have not yet decided to participate in the Reading Quaker faith & practice project.

Every Area meeting is being asked to nominate a Friend or attender who has one or more of these qualities:

  • is involved in an existing Reading Quaker faith & practice group
  • is willing to promote the programme around the area meeting
  • has a concern for spiritual learning in the area
  • will be able to communicate with others about what they have learned

If you would be interested in attending the conference on behalf of your area meeting, please talk to your AM clerk or nominations committee. For more information about the conference contact: qfp@quaker.org.uk

I have found the process of reading from a specific chapter and then discussing it with others (including members of my local meeting) such a benefit this year. Combined with my Qf&p journal it has been both inspiring and challenging.

 

Building a Fairer World

2015-08-18 banners at FH Trish Carn 2 watermarked

Copyright Trish Carn, used with permission


After all the long term struggles to get banners on Friends House with Camden council, I have so enjoyed seeing them go up – temporarily and now permanently. Such a good form of outreach and of brightening up the neighbourhood. Lovely to see them as I exit Euston station.

23.13 Seeking to live at all times in a divine order of life, Quakers have always counted social service part of Christianity. In fidelity to the genius of their inward experience, they have set themselves the task of developing their own spiritual sensitiveness to the light of truth; and have then resolutely confronted the unawakened conscience of the world with the demands of the new light, and have borne witness to it with undaunted patience.

This has resulted in progressive enlightenment for themselves, and in the slow but sure triumph of many of the causes of which they have become champions. The reform of the criminal law, the improvement of prisons, the suppression of the slave-trade and of the institution of slavery, the abolition of the opium traffic, the protection of native races, the repeal of the state regulation of vice, the emancipation of women, have all been powerfully helped to victory – however incomplete – by Quaker action on these lines, side by side with that of other noble-hearted reformers.

Other great ills, patent or latent in our civilisation, have yet to be overcome, perhaps have yet to be perceived; the old philanthropy has to deepen into something more vital if the full demands made by the teaching of Christ are to be obeyed; but the faithful following of the Light that illumines the alert conscience still seems to many of us the truest way for securing this deeper experience and for recognising and combating the evils that menace social and international life.

William Charles Braithwaite, 1919

During the discussions one of my groups has been having regarding reading Qf&p, the comment was made that short passages can spark inspiration, more than slogging through some of the longer passages.

I see where that is coming from – and some of my favourites are quite short. However, there is also a power in the slow unfolding of a message and the explanations of attitudes and theories.

This passage featured in several conversations around here over the last week. That last thought that ‘other great ills, patent or latent in our civilisation… have yet to be perceived….’ is one that stops me and haunts my thoughts.

What great ills are we not aware of, or have not yet started to struggle to overcome? Climate change? Housing inequality?

The ‘yet’ brings me hope for both the perceiving and the overcoming.

This post is part of my Reading Quaker Faith & Practice series – click here for the introduction and explanation or here for all posts in this series.

Everything can happen….

2015 09 26 everything is possible23.32 is one of my favourite passages – Ursula Franklin talks about the her enjoyment of sitting in silence at the beginning of meeting knowing that everything can happen.

It always makes me think of an encounter with a homeless ex-catholic priest while volunteering at the Quaker Centre at Friends House. A large part of the role is to meet the public and discuss aspects of Quaker beliefs and history with them.

Suddenly, in the middle of a personal history monologue, my visitor leant forward and putting an arm on the desk said earnestly,

“I have been meaning to ask you…. do you go to Meeting?”,

after I confirmed that I went most Sundays, he continued.

“So…. do you have miracles every Sunday?”

I don’t remember exactly what I said, something along the lines of ‘not every Sunday’. But ever since, that question has been mulled over on a regular basis. Remembering the idea of all days being created equal, I’ve felt the question could have easily been: “Do I have miracles happen every day?”

Maintaining that expectant waiting that I go into Meeting for Worship throughout the week would be tricky but I think returning to it regularly would also be worthwhile. Something to consider the next time the days start to blur together through work or family stresses.

So – what miracles have happened in your life?

Do you look for them?

This post is part of my Reading Quaker Faith & Practice series – click here for the introduction and explanation or here for all posts in this series.

Qf&p Chapter 23: Social Responsibility

2015 04 12 Qf&P stones Chapter 23

This chapter is the first in the calendar to read through.

It contains the following sections:

  • Faith in Action
  • Corporate Responsibility
  • Social Responsibility – poverty and house; slavery; torture; discrimination and disadvantage
  • The Individual and the Community – work and economic affairs; education
  • Friends and state authority – conscription; crime and punishment

Fifteen passages have the word ‘Light’ in and therefore are part of my current Qf&P journal.

I had already journalled several earlier in the year, but will be contemplating the remaining nine throughout this month. Exploring the chapter through discussion with my groups and reading through some of the other Quaker blog posts as well.

I’m looking forward to the reading, as this isn’t a chapter that is as heavily thumbed as some others – but with 103 passages, plus an afterword this is a full month of reading.

 

This post is part of my Reading Quaker Faith & Practice series – click here for the introduction and explanation or here for all posts in this series.