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Diversity of people and faith

“Diversity of People and Faith”

An AwayDay for CIGB Chaplains takes place on July 2nd at St John’s Church, Berkswell.

“The world outside your organisation is changing faster than the world within your organisation”.. CIGB has some diversity: Birmingham and Solihull are ‘Super-Diverse’.

Chaplaincy fits into the ‘Diversity Agenda’ at a number of our workplaces: what does that mean for us? How can we use this opportunity? On our AwayDay, we will look at diversity on issues like ethnicity, age and volunteerism; as well as beginning to consider how we can better claim to be chaplains to people of other faiths.

Most organisations want to remove barriers that stop people from flourishing. Business research shows that when workplaces are struggling to come up with new solutions to old problems, that diversity in the project team correlates with success more than does ‘ability’ within the team. Creative solutions need leadership that is a group process, not an individual: leadership that helps people to see ‘change’, rather than ‘loss’. Real inclusion helps people to feel engaged and to be willing to give extra ‘discretionary effort’.

Jesus clearly saw diversity as an opportunity. Desmond Tutu took part in the Diversity Training for the 2012 Olympics Staff. He said: “People are tending to pull apart. We need something that will say that we are different not in order to be pulled apart but so that we should know our need of each other”.

As Jesus showed, diversity causes conflict and is messy: but some conflict and mess can be constructive, in working towards a new solution – a solution that may not come into existence in a homogeneous environment. Messiness is the opposite of static ‘group-think’. Jesus’s disciples were a scrappy bunch: but they conquered the world.