Photo: Ivars Kupcis/WCC

Photo: Ivars Kupcis/WCC

How to spiritually strengthen, to live faith and values in daily professional decisions may not be in the human resources manuals of 21st-century companies, but if they were, many pitfalls could be dodged.

That was one of the observations during two conferences at the World Council of Churches (WCC) organized by the Agape Foundation.

The first daylong conference on 21 January was titled International Conference of Faith-based Entrepreneurs: Stronger Together: Spirituality 4.0 at the Workplace,bringing together an eclectic group of faith and business leaders.

Conference convener and moderator, Prof. Dr Christoph Stückelberger, executive director of the Geneva Agape Foundation, said: Here we can learn from each other, to connect to each other and to further cooperate in implementing the Faith in Business Geneva Declarationof 2018.

Day one focused on How can I connect with God at work for inspiration and orientation? Or, how can we spiritually strengthen to live faith and values in daily professional decisions?

In closing remarks on the second day of the first conference, WCC deputy general secretary Prof. Dr Isabel Phiri said she is from Malawi and Zambia, and that she had just returned from a five-week trip home to Africa.

What struck me most was the involvement of churches in business,said Phiri, noting that churches in Zambia are leasing land to those who are developing it.

How do we facilitate the involvement of the church in business, not just in dealing with business when it comes to matters such as corruption?she asked.

A keynote speaker was Chinese entrepreneur Prof. Dr Cui Wantian, whose talk was titled, Between Crisis and Mobile Phone Prayer and Care. Cui is the president and founder of the Geneva Agape Foundation in Beijing, China.

Cui is a convert to Christianity and related how he came to the Gospel and read it because he wanted to use it in a name for his company. His office building now is designed like a church.

Work is worship

I believe spirituality will become the key role for our futureMy point is that work is worship,said Cui.

Alfred Berkeley III spoke about spirituality and values in finance management and its importance for SDGs (the UNs 2030 Sustainable Development Goals). He is a former president of the NASDAQ, an American stock market that handles electronic securities.

Berkeley said, The SDGS of 2030 are all about engaging the private sector in getting real results after the failure of the Millennium Development Goals.

Older companies

He also noted that despite the rise of internet-related companies, The great bulk of cash in economies still comes from older companies.

Rev. Timo Plutschinski, a pastor, networker and director of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Business Coalition also spoke of how the global network of WEA is tapping into connecting business with Christian values.

Aimé Sene, a Senegalese entrepreneur, showed how he had grown up as one of the five percent of Catholics in his mainly Muslim nation to being a leading business leader.

My business is linked with business and faith.A leader must be a role model,said the Sene who leads the Association of Catholic Business Leaders of Senegal and is a renowned philanthropist.

Helen Howe, manager of the UK-based Christian Aid SALT Business Network, said, Spirituality in our workplace has never been more important.She described how SALT is working to engage with the private sector, rather than merely critiquing malfeasance in companies.

A second conference on 22 January was titledInternational Conference for Christian Investors and Development Agencies - FaithInvest: Building Bridges.”

Photos from the International Conference of Faith-based Entrepreneurs "Spirituality 4.0 at the Workplace“

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