Clergy Column | The Rev. Monica Ouellette

February 15, 2014 

I often wonder how well the people in our communities of faith are making the connection from Sunday morning Sunday school and worship to their everyday lives in the workplace Monday through Friday. On Sunday, we come into worship ready to praise and honor God with our singing, prayers, words and hearts. In our communities of faith, we are encouraged to give our best to God. But on Monday morning, we are back in the real world, a world that does not hold the same values; it is a world where competition is encouraged and the bottom line is the most important objective.

As God’s people, you are encouraged to engage in spiritual practices that deepen your relationship with God and your connection to your community of faith; these practices include prayer, meditation, reflection, reading Script-ure, journaling and being in conversation with other believers.

I wonder, do you take these same practices and engage in them in your workplace? Do you ever take time to pray before making a major decision or beginning a major project? Do you consider how your work affects the lives of other people, either short-term or long-term? Are you doing the work that God, the divine spirit, wants us to do? Are you making a difference in someone’s life by the work you do? Are you kind to co-workers? Do you pray for your boss?

I recently read an inspiring book titled “Soul at Work: Spiritual Leadership in Organizations,” by Margaret Benefiel, a professor at Andover Newton Theological School in Boston. This book looks at the way organizations do business and describes the important role that awareness of spirituality can play in leadership and organizational life. Benefiel tells the story of the leaders in several organizations — including the band U2, Sisters of the Road Café, Reell Precision Manufacturing, Greyston Foundation, Health East Hospital, Southwest Airlines, Mercy Medical Center and several other organizations — that incorporate spiritual practices in their organizations.

These leaders bring their spiritual practices into the organization during staff meetings, in hiring new personnel, in making business decisions, in writing a code of ethics and in many other ways.

I often preach that it is not enough to sit in the pews on Sunday morning; you need to live your faith in your daily life.

This book helped me realize that there are many people who do this and many ways to live our faith the workplace. I invite each of you to reflect on how you are living your faith in your workplace.

Monica Ouellette is the pastor at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Boalsburg, Contact her at ordain educc@comcast.net.

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