Jesus may have had some harsh words for money lenders, but a Tyneside vicar has been offering up prayers for modern day bankers.
Banks may not have enamoured themselves to people in recent years, but Father Chris Fuller is prepared to risk public disapproval – by offering prayers for them.
The plea for help from above is part of a radical approach by the vicar at St Hilda’s Church and town centre chaplain, who has launched “prayer services for businesses” throughout the town.
Prayers have already been offered for NECA – the North East Council on Addictions, based at Cookson House, the Citizens Advice Bureau, in the Edinburgh buildings, and Market Place stallholders.
Yesterday he invited representatives from the 12 banks based in and around the town centre to a service at St Hilda’s – although in the event no one from the banks attended.
Father Chris said: “We still offered prayers to the banks and named bank managers.
“Banks may not be the most popular businesses in the community, but they do offer a service and I think they have had a bad press because of the city bankers.
“I think that locally one hopes they are focused on the community and I’ve had a good response from those I’ve visited, even though some have expressed surprise that I want to pray for them.
“No one is outside of being prayed for – even banks!”
> In that case, maybe the vicar should start at the bottom – the Jobcentre, and the poor sods getting sanctioned.
As for local bank branches being focused on the community – they’re not local, they’re part of multi-national businesses. If someone at head office says “Screw the community”, then that’s what they’ll do.
Future prayers for retailers and firms will be offered at Wednesday morning services for town centre businesses – including The Gazette.
Father Chris said: “Part of my role as town centre chaplain is to support what the businesses are doing.
“They are part of the community here and, like everyone, are in need of prayer. By supporting them in prayer, the church is showing it has a role, not just for Sunday, but for all of the week for anyone in need or trouble.
“I visit businesses, give them a leaflet about the town centre chaplaincy, explain who I am and ask for the name of manager to invite to our Wednesday morning service.
“We pray for the organisation, a named manager and whoever the business supports.
“A chaplain is there to take an interest in the people in their community and offer a listening ear and advice.”
Father Chris, who has been a chaplain to both the police and the army, added: “I’m happy to support local businesses through prayer.
“Prayer is our business after all.”
> “Business” obviously being the operative word.
Source – Shields Gazette 13 Feb 2014