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/ 20 January 2017

Glimpses of God at work in Canary Wharf

Frontline Fridays - Bishop Rob visits Kate at Barclays

Our family dining table was a place of much conversation. Most nights my brother and I would be asked how our days were at school, and then my parents would settle down to a long, and at times very laborious, conversation about Barclays Bank. They were both employees.

I have often reflected upon their experience of work in the banking industry, especially when the banks have subsequently received a bad press. I have also often wondered, given the long hours, the commuting and the stressful environment, how we might support those in the banking industry, especially those who are Ambassadors for Jesus Christ.

I therefore jumped at the opportunity to meet with Kate Henry, who works at Barclays in Canary Wharf.

Once we had navigated the security systems I found Kate to be inspirational, and what’s more she loves working for Barclays Bank. She knows that her personal values reflect those of the company, and she has a confident faith that Jesus is alive in the midst of the banking industry. It is her Christian values that help her to be patient and calm with her, sometimes vulnerable, customers (she works in the Whistleblowing team) and they also keep her fired up in faith when being challenged by her boss, who classes himself as an evangelical and committed atheist. He certainly knew much of the Bible, and was clearly up for the challenge of a deep discussion with a Bishop! She is also deeply grateful for the support that her church is giving her as an ambassador for Jesus Christ, having been commissioned some time ago. Holy Trinity Southall has taken their role very seriously in releasing their members to be fired up in faith in their places of work, school or wherever, and this focus is clearly paying off.

Kate is not a lone voice. She led me to the Barclays Christian Forum leadership team, a fantastically enthusiastic group who saw themselves as the salt and light in the midst of a global company. They offered almost daily acts of worship and praise, with Barclays Bank, with its Quaker roots and Christian values, being their global mission field. They were very impressive indeed.

Upon reflection, I saw glimpses of God at work in Canary Wharf, through Kate, many of the employees of Barclays and through the Canary Wharf Chaplain, Fiona. Thank you for your energy and inspiration. I loved hearing your stories.

Many people spend more time at work than they do at home, and I wonder how we, as the church, might be encouraging our brother and sister Christians to be ambassadors for Jesus Christ at work.

Following the inspiration given by our Barclays Ambassadors, I wonder whether we might:

  1. Encourage churches to pray for congregation members and work colleagues, by giving some digital forms for Morning or Evening Prayer to use on the commute.
  2. Intentionally ask those in business what their prayer needs are, and then pray for them.
  3. Intentionally ask how we might equip those in business to be ambassadors, which will involve some basic apologetics to respond to those evangelical atheists who love to debate.
  4. Intentionally ask those in business to share with our churches what they will be doing This Time Tomorrow, as a way of building up the body of Christ.
  5. Intentionally ask those in business to share the values of their companies, and help to demonstrate how many of these values are Christian at their core.
  6. Love those in business, because they could be vulnerable and fearful, especially in this Brexit era, and too afraid to tell you.

What does it mean for you to be an ambassador for Christ right where you are? Read more stories and share yours www.ambassadors2020.org @ambassadors2020.

About Rob Wickham

Robert Wickham became Bishop of Edmonton in September 2015. He is responsible for the four north London Boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Enfield and Haringey. Bishop Rob is also lead bishop for ALMA, our partnership with the Anglican Church in Angola and Mozambique.

Read more from Rob Wickham

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