Most local Anglicans spend much of their lives in everyday jobs that many of them would not really class as “Christian” at all, never mind as opportunities to serve God. But that is a great pity, says Rev. John Oakes, chair of the Diocesan Evangelism Unit, because they are missing out on a great deal in the process.
“There is an unfortunate tendency to think of ministry as something that remains the exclusive preserve of those of us who happen to be ordained,” says Oakes, “rather than as an activity in which every church member can be engaged, whatever they’re doing and wherever they work.
Yet the New Testament view is that all members of the church, wherever they are and whatever their occupation, are part of what the apostle Peter calls ‘a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.’”
It is primarily in order to address that issue that the Evangelism Unit has organized its new conference, “Faith @ Work,” which has now been rescheduled for Saturday, February 18 at Holy Trinity, Vancouver, where Oakes is Rector. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Paul Stevens, recently retired Professor of Marketplace Theology and Leadership at Regent College.
Stevens has taught and spoken at institutions all over the world on his primary focus of equipping the whole people of God for leadership. He is also the author of several key books in this area, including The Other Six Days: Vocation, Work and Ministry in Biblical Perspective and Liberating the Laity; The Equipper’s Guide to Every-Member Ministry.
Stevens will be joined on February 18 by a multi-talented and vastly experienced group of workshop leaders, who will be teaching on key topics like “Finding Your Vocation,” “Nurturing Your Spirit at Work,” “Keeping Your Integrity” and “Life After Work.”
They include fellow deacons and educators, Steve Bailey of St. Laurence, Coquitlam and Alisdair Smith of Christ Church Cathedral. Joining Bailey and Smith from the high echelons of the corporate world will be Rev. Marilyn Hames of St. Philip’s, Dunbar, who recently retired as Vice-President for Research and Technology at the mining company, Placer Dome Inc., and business leader Paul Wagler of Holy Trinity, Vancouver, whose high-flying career has included positions as Chief Operating Officer of the Loewen Group and CEO of Art in Motion.
The conference is intended for all who have any kind of interest in living out their Christian faith in the workplace, or in helping others to do so. Oakes is particularly encouraged that the event is being co-sponsored by City in Focus, the locally based Christian network group, whose mission is “to increase the real and visible presence of Jesus within the city of Vancouver.”
“Our hope and prayer is that as many as possible will be able to join us on February 18,” he says. “With so much talent and experience in one place at one time, Faith @ Work certainly promises to be an exciting and enlightening day for those who do!”
Saturday, February 18, Evangelism Conference
“Faith@Work,” 9:30 am – 4 pm at Holy Trinity, 1440 West 12 Ave. (at Hemlock), Vancouver. A conference on how to be “salt and light” in the everyday, workaday world. Cost: $10 (includes lunch). Keynote, Paul Stevens, Professor of Marketplace Theology and Leadership, Regent College. Email email@example.com or phone 604 731-3221.