Our mission is a response from Christian churches’ in Birmingham and Solihull in order to engage with and respond to the world of work.
We believe that God is already involved in the world of work, through individuals, organisations and structures. We are delighted to discern this work and to join in with it. Our work is just a small part of God’s ongoing creative and redemptive work in Birmingham and Solihull.
Our name CIGB stands for “Churches and Industry Group Birmingham and Solihull” – which is a bit of a mouthful but still our legal name. Churches and Industry Group has been active in Birmingham for over 40 years.
We are part of a national church movement called ‘Industrial Mission’. Our management council is made up of representatives from different churches and business interests.
Why Chaplaincy? – For Business.
Organisations which care for their staff and which have clear corporate values are organisations that thrive. Chaplains can play a key role in these areas by – offering informal pastoral support to staff, complementing any other provision; developing an understanding of the business and so understanding the pressures people face; assisting with diversity issues; contributing to discussions on values and culture.
Our Work Themes
The themes of our work are Workplace Chaplaincy, Deepening Church Economic Engagement, and Campaigning for a Faithful Economy.
About 50 chaplains are based in over 100 different businesses and organisations. They offer personal support and listening, wholebeing advice and diversity appreciation, and a questioning presence, if necessary. Businesses recognise that chaplains help with issues like reducing workplace stress and, flourishing from diversity. Some workplaces offer Multi-Faith spaces and chaplains have experience in managing these places.
Most of our chaplains come from the Christian faith, but some are from other faiths; all chaplains are able to address different faith issues and understand that they are not there to proselytise or recruit for their faith. On the whole, they will only talk about faith if asked to.
Our chaplains are trained, and checked with the Disclosure and Barring Service, as well as having references from their local faith community. We provide training for new chaplains at least once a year.
Deepening Church Economic Engagement
We help churches to deepen their faith relationship with the ‘at work’ part of their congregation’s lives. They can better celebrate the highs of working life, and empathise with the lows. They can help workers to explore how to reconcile some of Jesus’ ‘hard teachings’ with their daily life: what is the role of wealth? how do we cope with business competitiveness? do we always have to tell the truth?
We can speak and help lead worship; supply study materials or advise on local initiatives like a ‘Town Centre Prayer Walk’.
Campaigning for a Faithful Economy
Chaplains are engaged in projects to make our economy work better for all people. Projects include Combatting People Trafficking, Employment Opportunities for Young People, and Workers Memorial Day.
We also worked on issues surrounding migrant workers, resulting in the ‘Here to stay?’ report, and recently contributing to the ECCR report: The Banks and Society – Rebuilding Trust. Our ‘Chatham House’ conversations with senior regional bankers have been reported in the House of Lords debate on Banking Standards.