Faith And Work In Conversation
By Whitney Roberson


Many people seek to connect who they are and what they do.

       Epiphany at Work and Spirituality at Work (E@W and S@W) are two projects that give people in the Bay Area the opportunity to discuss how their faith and their work intersect. The groups meet in work places, churches, and homes. Some groups meet weekly, understanding that people come when they can. Others meet every other week. Conversations generally are limited to one hour and attendance fluctuates.

        The groups are facilitated by a convenor. Groups can have a single facilitator, a pair of convenors who trade off facilitation, or all the participants can take turns at facilitation. We have developed materials that move the conversation quickly and naturally to a depth that participants find satisfying. Using a sort of "agenda, " in each conversation, we explore a different work-related theme that has emerged from earlier conversations, reflecting on it in light of the wisdom of our own and other spiritual traditions.


   "Work is my Obsession
     but it is also my devotion."

        Donald Hall,
        LIFE WORK
        Beacon Press, 1993


       We conclude by inviting participants to decide on some "action step" to try during the coming week, such praying during commute time or journal keeping at work. As participants begin to remember that God is present at work, inviting them to something new, transformation happens. One man begins to notice and support a colleague whose quiet "ministry" has been facilitating community in his workplace. Another participant sees service to his clients in a whole new light. Still another is able to re-locate a difficult relationship with her superior within a much more gracious context, discovering she is really working for God, not the troublesome boss; as she becomes more present to her work and to him, he begins to change. We have learned that there is real knowledge to be found in our own experience; there is much wisdom and transformative power already present among people who come together to share their questions and insights.

Apollo grant that I be satisfied
with what I have as what I ought to have,

And that I live my old age out with honor,
In health of mind and body,
doing my work.

from "A Prayer,"
THE ODES OF HORACE
Trans. David Ferry

Epiphany at Work and Spirituality at Work began as experiments and, as others are attracted to the life-giving possibilities inherent in these conversations, the experiments expand, drawing others into the conversations. To learn more, please phone Whitney Roberson at Spirituality at Work, 415-387-7224 or send e-mail to Whitrober@aol.com.

Whitney Roberson is an ordained Episcopal priest.

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