The Commissioning of an Industrial Chaplain

Worship / Produced by partner of TOW

This Sample Service is part of "Work in Worship," a collection of material for work-themed services compiled by David Welbourn. For more services, prayers, songs, readings and sermons, click on the table of contents to the right.



After welcoming the candidate and his/her family and specially invited guests, the officiating minister should briefly outline the purpose of Industrial Mission (see the words of the Licensing below) and the history of the local IM team. It should be explained that IM is part of the total mission of the Church, an important part of whose task is to discern God’s presence in, and declare God’s purpose for, the life of society – of which the world of work and its institutions are a crucial part.


(Ye holy angels bright)


We give thanks to God the Father, Maker of the Universe
for the unity and order of created things;
for the resources of the earth;
for the gift of life;
for our share in the continuing work of creation;
for creative vision and inventive skill;
for industry and commerce.

Let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God.

We give thanks to God in Jesus Christ,
for his obedience fulfilled on the cross;
for his bearing of the sin of the world;
for his victory over evil and death;
for his care for people;
for the value he gave to human labour;
for all our opportunities of work and leisure.

Let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God.

We give thanks to God the Holy Spirit,
for his continuing presence and power in the world;
for the harvest of the Spirit in the lives of people –
for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control;
for the strength of the Spirit, which enables and inspires

Let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God.


Let us confess to God those things that are wrong in our work.

We bring before you, Lord, all the failure of our daily work;
We have fallen short of your demands upon us;
We have not given you the glory, nor worked in your love.

Good Lord, forgive us:
Forgive us Lord.

We confess the faults of the industrial society in which we work;
the inequalities, the injustices in all systems
and the difficulties we have in changing them.

Good Lord, forgive us:
Forgive us Lord.

We have not worked together as brothers and sisters of your family.
There have been differences,
lack of cooperation and chances of reconciliation missed.
We have not brought out the best in others.

Good Lord, forgive us:
Forgive us Lord.

We have wasted and misused the raw materials of the earth,
and scarred the beauty of nature.
We have not made the best use of the time and skills you have given us.

Good Lord, forgive us:
Forgive us Lord.

We have not met the needs of the hungry and impoverished of the world.
We have not been able to meet the demands of those without work.

Good Lord, forgive us:
Forgive us Lord.


(1 Corinthians 3:5-17)


The flavour has gone out of the world:
our childlike wonder has flown away.
God, it’s your presence we miss:
you aren’t at the centre of our concerns.
The secular realm is all we can sense:
our experience is limited by material things.
Help us to relish true knowledge of you:
so we can become ourselves again.
Our recognition of you has been stunted:
we need salt to bring out the taste afresh.
“You are the salt of the world” you said:
so that is our task and vocation –
To bring back the taste of you to our world:
to keep people consciously open to you.
(John Hammersley)


Creative Work
It is easy but wrong to glamorise the Bible’s view of work. Human beings, “in the image of God”, and given dominion over the earth, are made to fulfil themselves in creative activity. This belongs to their high destiny. But there is no sentimentality here. Human work is tainted through the Fall. The consequences are reflected in working conditions. Some find their work stressful; others are concerned about the value or morality of what they are doing. Some find their work dull, or exhausting – not healthily so but just debilitating. There are many whose problems is that of no work and their number is increasing.

Human work belongs in the realm of God’s redemption. The Church must take more seriously its place within the divine purpose; clergy and laity together must share in uplifting all who labour, seeking to renew the economic order and holding before all the promise of a brighter future.

One contemporary word is of special import: the word “technology”. For some it raises fears of unemployment as machines take over from people. For others it spells excitement and the chance to overcome our many problems. Could it be that the scientists and technologists of our age have been raised up by God for the redemption of his people, even if many of them know him not? Used according to the divine will, the new instruments they have produced may liberate from drudgery, end dehumanisation and save our threatened environment. Under God, technology could play a significant part in enabling us to be a real community, freed for the creative work of caring for each other and the planet.

(Adapted from sermon notes produced by the Industrial Society, 1978)


(Suggested sermon: Industry and the Work of God)


The candidate is presented to the Bishop/Church Leader

Bishop, we present … [name of candidate] to be licensed as industrial chaplain in …. [name of town/city/area] and a member of the … Industrial Mission team.

Bishop: … [name of candidate], the work of Industrial Mission involves always the careful study of the nature of industrial life. It means faithful visiting, listening and understanding. It requires a great sensitivity to the problems of being employed and being an employer. It requires humility and respect before the creative activities of men and women.

Will you be sensitive and diligent in your contact with the world of industry and commerce?


The work of Industrial Mission involves gaining the trust of people at all levels of industry and commerce, and preserving that trust.
Will you be careful to earn and keep this confidence?


The work of Industrial Mission involves a due appreciation of the value and dignity of work, and of the suffering that comes when human creativity is frustrated.
Will you endeavour to stand for quality and wisdom in industry and for clear thinking about work and its place in human life?


The work of Industrial Mission involves a concern for justice and compassion in human social relationships, so that all may lead a fuller life.
Will you endeavour to encourage people in industry and commerce to discover the importance of Christian values in all their dealings, and will you yourself be ready to offer such help as may be called for?


The work of Industrial Mission involves teamwork. Industrial chaplains act on behalf of the churches and plan carefully all that they do with their colleagues. In this way the quality of our common mission in enhanced.

Will you consult and act together with your fellow team members and all those who associate both formally and informally with your work in … [name of town/city/area]?


The work of Industrial Mission involves the deep understanding of our Christian theology and its application to the affairs of the world. It includes the building up of the common life in the body of believers.

Will you persevere in your study and devotion to these great tasks?



Almighty and everlasting God, by whom all virtues are given and perfected; give such grace to this your servant … that s/he may worthily fulfil the charge we now commit to him/her. Give him/her reverence towards you, faithfulness in visiting of places of employment, aptness in all his/her work of industrial chaplain in … for which we do now commission him/her.

The Bishop now reads the Licence and then says:

Receive the Care of Souls, which is both yours and mine; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

May the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, give you wisdom, courage and love to do his will; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be upon you and your work done in his name. Amen.

The Industrial Mission team say together:

… we welcome you as a colleague and member of the … Industrial Mission team.

The team then shake hands with the new chaplain, who is then greeted in similar fashion by representatives of industry and commerce, management and trade unions, officers and other representatives of the local authority and local community groups, and finally by representatives of the local Churches Together groups and local churches.


(Lord of all power, I give you my will)


Lord, we remember
that work in industry is the principal way in which we provide for our material needs and the needs of others, and help to maintain our social services and leisure;
that work is for people, not people for work;
that money, machines and materials are things, while workers, suppliers and customers are people;
that in our type of society, those who cannot work feel their dignity is diminished;
that life is more than work.

The Leader announces what the response is after each bidding

Let us thank God
for the gift of life and the resources of the world;
for our share in the continuing work of creation;
for human skill and inventiveness, enterprise and hard work.

Let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God.

Let us thank God
for industry, commerce and administration and its many products of food, transport, roads, houses, clothing, medicines, machines, fresh water, sewage disposal, heat and light, milk and
for those who work to maintain the fabric of our community, in shops, officers, factories and farms.

Let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God.

Let us thank God
for engineers and technologists, for technicians and sales people, for those who work in finance, and industrial research and development;
for those who plan and manage;
for the principal organisations of industry, for companies, for professional associations, for employers’ organisations and the trade unions.

Let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God.

Let us thank God
that we are made in the image of his Son;
called to share in his reconciling work, called to resist evil, to transform nature and to proclaim his concern for people.

Let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God.

Let us thank God
for those who are not employed but still contribute to the life and well-being of society – for housewives, the retired, the disabled, the unemployed, and children.

Let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God.

The Leader announces new bidding and response

Let us pray
for those who seek work but cannot find it;
for those who over-work and neglect others;
for those who should work but avoid it;
for those who do work but resent it
for those who exploit work and demean it.

Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

Let us pray
for efficient production, honesty marketing and responsible use of resources;
for the unemployed, their families and other victims of economic forces;
for more justice in the sharing of the world’s goods in our own community and between nations.

Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

Let us pray
for all Christians at work, that they may look on their employment as ministry and feel supported
in it by their local church;
for the whole world, as it faces the challenge of change and the impact of new technologies.

Lord, in your mercy:
Hear our prayer.

Let us ask for God’s grace, as we say together:

Grant us, O God,
a vision of our world, fair as it might be;
a world of justice where none shall prey on others;
a world of plenty, where vice and poverty shall cease to fester;
a world of fellowship, where success shall be founded on service,
and honour given to worth alone;
a world of peace, where order shall not rest on force,
but on the love of all for God and for each other.


(Forth in thy name O Lord I go)


Guide us, Lord, in all our doings with your gracious favour, and further us with your continual help, that in all our work begun, continued and ended in you, we may glorify your holy name, and by your mercy attain everlasting life.