CHURCHES: Rules or relationship

I’ll always remember the day I started at the factory, because of the big sign that greeted me as I entered the building. It was a list of clear instructions on what was expected of each employee, entitled The Rules.

A colleague explained that The Rules had been created by the managers, based on their understanding of what The Boss expected of his staff.

Few people had met The Boss, so it was believed vital to have these guidelines. This was confirmed by every room having a copy of The Rules pasted on the wall!

To be honest, The Rules were convenient, and the managers were enthusiastic in ensuring we didn’t break any of them. It was made abundantly clear that we wouldn’t want The Boss coming down from his office to give us an earful! This threat would often be emphasised by a vague gesture upwards, indicating his office was up there somewhere, possibly the top floor.

Then one day, whilst staring at the ubiquitous instructions, I wondered whether it’d be a lot simpler if I could just meet The Boss. Maybe talk to him, hear his concerns that led to establishing The Rules.

As I was thinking this, I looked up and saw an open door leading from the shop floor. I didn’t recognise it but I walked in, and sitting behind a tidy desk was The Boss. He looked up and smiled.

He asked me how I was, and we chatted about everything. Football, money, family. He then told me about the factory and everyone who worked there: his intentions, dreams and hopes.

As we talked, The Rules started to make sense, but in a way where they didn’t matter as much. I was getting to know him. As I stood to leave, I noticed something unusual and remarked: “You don’t have The Rules hanging up!”

He chuckled: “I didn’t write The Rules. Your colleagues came up with those. I’ve always been here and my office is an open door; anyone can come and chat. But I suspect The Rules are easier for some. Maybe a relationship is a bit too complex, or requires more time.”

As I left, he surprised me again by saying: “I’ll see you soon, maybe on the shop floor at some point.”

I turned and he winked: “Most people don’t even know it’s me. They’re all convinced I have a long white beard.”

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Upcoming events across the area:

• The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have asked that during the period from Ascension Day until Pentecost (May 25 to June 4) we should pray for the spread of the Gospel in this country. This has been taken up by churches of a number of Christian denominations. As part of this there will be a Prayer Vigil at St Mary’s, Church Street, Littlehampton, on Wednesday, May 31, from 6pm to 9pm.

• Rev Martin Seymour is calling on anyone with a problem to resolve and needs help to bring it to Littlehampton Baptist Church, Fitzalan Road, Littlehampton, for the first ‘PIN’ (People In Need) event on Thursday, June 1, from 10am to midday, to see if the church can offer assistance.

• Littlehampton Quakers are holding a coffee morning and table sale on Saturday, June 3, at the Friends Meeting House, Church Street, Littlehampton, from 10.30am to midday, with proceeds going to Compassion in World Farming.

• On Sunday, June 4, churches everywhere will be celebrating the birthday of the Christian church, the Coming of The Holy Spirit onto the early Christians at Pentecost (or Whit Sunday). Littlehampton Churches Together will be holding its celebratory service at 6.30pm at St Catherine’s Church in Beach Road, Littlehampton.

• All Saints, Wick, will be open from 9am to 9pm on Thursday, June 8, to pray for our nation during the General Election.

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