Mercury 'Viewpoint' by Chris Warner
Courtesy of the Great Yarmouth Mercury
By the Rev Chris Warner Team Leader Good Work (Norfolk and Waveney Industrial Mission) Pastorate Development Officer – United Reformed Church in Norwich Trinity United Reformed Church, Norwich.
is the new brand for Norfolk & Waveney Industrial
Mission. It includes Industrial mission activity in Great Yarmouth. Our mission is to “seek God’s love and justice in the world of work and the economy”.
We do this by making links between companies, churches and communities, the “trinity” of a good economic life and soul for society. In Great Yarmouth there are many chaplains at work, three of which are directly linked into Good Work.
r Paine is Port Chaplain as well as having a wider role as chaplain to the Sea Cadets, a workplace chaplaincy within the Town Hall and other duties. Steve Andrews, who is also a member of the Anglican team in Yarmouth, is chaplain to Asda, Camplings, Great Yarmouth Borough Services and Norfolk Count Services in the Yarmouth area.
Rev Peter Glanville, a member of the Roman Catholic team, is chaplain to British Sugar in Cantley, to ANGEL, the Yarmouth network of electronics companies and assists with ship visiting. Peter is also a hospital chaplain.
When we meet as a team we do bible study and pray together and, without going into any of the confidences we are all bound to, we try to understand the issues that are common to all our experiences of offering pastoral care to people at work.
Debt comes up time and time again and Great Yarmouth is no exception. In fact a higher percentage of Yarmouth residents struggle with debt than many other areas. Around 40pc of the CAB’s work involves debt problems.
Many people in Jesus’ world lived on the “bread line” and were in
debt. Jesus told parables about it and reminded people that God’s law required people to be released from debt regularly in recognition that everything belongs to God in the greater scheme of things and that God is a forgiving God
A line of the most famous prayer of all time – The Lord’s Prayer (the Our Father) says “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”. This is a different take on debt which suggests that if we don’t find ways of helping people overcome their debts we are actually trapped in debt ourselves.
God has given us so much and we are indebted to God for all that we have received. God wants us to repay all that we owe by sharing our God given wealth with others. Not to do so leaves us in debt, a debt that we will be held to account for in the end.
Good Work has two strands to everything it does; pastoral care comes first and prophetic activity
This is a mission balance we all have to find. In this case we are called to forgive people their debts (whether money, or time or wrong doing) and also to find ways of changing society so that people don’t find themselves entrapped by debt.
Christians believe “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” – that’s a gift (a debt) that we can never pay off without sharing it’s great benefits fully with our neighbour and seeking to build it’s benefits into the life and soul of society. It starts with us.