‘A clear, contemporary integration of faith and work’
Baptist trio join forces to produce new book outlining the history of Industrial Christian Fellowship (ICF)
Ian Randall, well known for his research into Baptist history has been joined by former principal of South Wales Baptist College, John Weaver and NWBA Regional Minister, Phil Jump in co-authoring new publication Love @ Work - 100 years of the Industrial Christian Fellowship.
ICF was formed when the Navvy Mission and Christian Socialist Union combined in a formal ceremony reputed to have taken place in what is now the principal’s house at Regent’s Park College Oxford. Over the years it has provided a platform for the work of such influential figures as Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy and William Temple as it has pursued a mission of bringing Christian values and influence to the political and industrial life of our nations.
The book, the first ever history of the ICF, was commissioned for the 100th anniversary of the organisation’s formation. It owes much of its framework to the meticulous research of Ian, a Research Associate of the Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide. He is also a Senior Research Fellow of the International Baptist Theological Study Centre in Amsterdam. Ian traced the history of the organisation through the subsequent decades. Exploring the lessons and challenges of the past, it seeks to develop a clear contemporary integration of faith and work. Combining history, sociology and theology, it comprises a fascinating study of the influences of faith, family and social context on our understanding of business, management, employment and community.
Phil Jump, who is current chair of ICF, said, ‘When we met to discuss the initial draft of the book, we increasingly felt that this should not simply be a history but a book about contemporary mission.’
In the discussions that followed, the three began to collaborate in using ICF’s story as a commentary on many of the issues encountered in Christian mission today. In this sense the authors view it as ‘essential reading for all involved in contemporary mission: from workers organisations, management groups, and Christians engaged in the public square with an interest in faith, work, and politics.’
This point was supported by Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, who wrote the foreword. He noted,
‘The three authors have done a fine job, a rationale and glimpse of the potential for ICF’s future. Even if ICF at times felt as though it were a voice crying in the wilderness, it has nonetheless persisted in urging us to make straight the way of the Lord. I commend this book.’
John Weaver added, ‘It has been my privilege to work with ICF for several years as it offers a compelling and holistic vision of Christian faith. Although framed around ICF’s particular history, this is a book that is for anyone who is serious about exploring the connectedness between faith, work and Christian discipleship.’