Faith at Work in Worcestershire is a charity and Ecumenical Partnership working across the county to encourage and enable the Church’s mission and ministry within the economy. Through building partnerships with and between churches and workplaces FWW promotes debate and engagement, from a Christian perspective, with the experience of work through workplace chaplaincy. This is pastoral and prophetic ministry; a practical expression of God’s love, mercy and compassion and desire for justice and peace in the way we organise economic life.
What has been achieved.
In the first phase of its Development Plan (2018 – 2020) FWW:
- adopted a new constitution and employed part-time staff
- secured financial support from its sponsoring denominations and others in order to focus on growing partnerships with local congregations which had a vision for outward facing mission.
- By the end of 2019 FWW supported more than 40 volunteers as workplace chaplains in 6 local teams, mostly offering chaplaincy ministry within the retail sector.
- In order to gauge the impact of this ministry a Chaplaincy Impact Survey [https://www.faithatwork.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Chaplaincy-Impact-Survey-published-report.pdf] was undertaken at the beginning of the final year of the plan, with very positive results. For the first time FWW was able to measure the benefit of chaplaincy, to those at work, the chaplains themselves and the congregations where they worshipped.
In March 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world economy. Chaplaincy face to face had to be suspended. Although the full impact is still to become clear, it undoubtedly will result in significant changes to both the shape and size of the Economy. Place this alongside two further major factors – Brexit and the Climate Emergency, and we are faced with a significant impact economic life and an immense challenge and opportunity to the Church’s mission within the context of the economy.
Where we want to be and how we will get there.
In order to meet this challenge and opportunity FWW has set the following objectives:
- To grow the network of partner organisations – churches and workplaces – and individuals to engage in this mission in the economy by support through prayer; being active through chaplaincy and debate; and funding through a new ‘Supporters of FWW’ network.
- Tell the story of chaplaincy and the economy more effectively by increasing staff time devoted to communicating with our network and partners, and the wider church and community, both corporate and individual.
- Build better and new links with workplaces and business partners to secure opportunities for chaplaincy and other programmes, as well as financial support, through dedicated Business Partnership Volunteers (BVP) recruited from the business world.
- Develop our expertise, to the highest standards, in working with volunteers as an essential foundation of sustaining and continuing our work.
What it will cost.
Though volunteers are at the core of our plans, staff resources are needed to provide necessary training, support, administration and communication. For three years this has been modest, the equivalent of 3 days a week – the Development Officer for 2 days and the Communications and Administration officer for 1 day. The Plan sees a doubling of the Comms and Admin capability by increasing this to 2 days per week. This increase of 33% in staffing (to the still modest combined 4 days FTE), together with sustaining an office base, and anticipated higher volunteer expenses, results in a 37% increase in budget to £44,000 compared to expenditure for 2019.
We aim to raise this through grants from denominational partners and other charities, donations from business partners and fund raising by the ‘Supporters of Faith at Work in Worcestershire’ (SFWW).