to businesses' prayer
BUSINESS does not have to be crooked. or immoral, a Benedictine monk told a conference on ethics and management at Belmont Abbey, Hereford.
Conference co-ordinator Dom Simon McGurk told 15 business people that the ancient rule of St Benedict on the management of religious communities could be adapted to business today. St Benedict's rule included the basic principles of business ranging from motivation, personnel management, delegation and the concept of efficiency, Fr McGurk said.
The conference, entitled "A Rule for Business", was led by John Hubert, bursar at Belmont Abbey, and businessman Bill Bellamy. Men and women from a wide variety of businesses including members of the Confederation of British Industry discussed the compatibility and incompatibility of the ideals and methods of the monastic and business worlds.
"I have had many people approach me in anguish because they feel that they cannot reconcile being Christian and being in business," said Fr McGurk.
"There is an urgent need for a theology of business, so that Christians have a firm and clear basis to work from," he said.
The symposium took place in the monastery guesthouse and included theatrical role-play and an audio-visual display on the theme of monastic and secular work.
"It was a most successful weekend," Mr Bellamy said. "There is a common feeling nationally that management style can be changed so that it is more caring and more humane. New thinking is needed all the time to ensure that business is Christian, and the rule of St Benedict certainly has something real to add to management styles."
St Benedict's code included the essential wisdom that people could live and work together in harmony, Mr Bellamy explained. A monstery unit was not -unlike a business unit, he stressed.
Fr McGurk, guestmaster at the abbey and a former headmaster of the abbey school, said that this conference would not just be a "one-off" event. "Further talks and action should take place here in the coming years on ethics and business. It is evident that there is an interested body of business people in Britain who would like to change their style."