The Guinness Care Trust Christmas Pay Saga: The Bishop Speaks

The Exeter Guinness Care Trust Christmas saga seems to be rolling on with the Exeter Bishop stepping into the “action”:

In an unusually strong statement he said: “This is a cynical use of the equality agenda to exploit care workers who are already often among the lowest-paid in our society.

“Care workers carry out a hugely important role in the life and health of our communities and are already poorly rewarded for what they do. To deny them the opportunity to be with their families on Christmas Day, and to fail to properly reward them for that sacrifice, is to further exploit them.

“The company, Guinness Care and Support, speaks of ethics and equality, but I don’t think it is at all serious about either.

“Its policy prioritises the non-religious over the religious. A policy of true equality would recognise the importance of Christmas Day and Easter Day for Christians and allow other workers to nominate two different days to reflect their own faith, or other commitments. The company is trying to hide its Scrooge-like meanness behind the language of equality.”

While The Church Sofa lads generally tend to not agree with the Bishop, this time around with do agree that the Guinness Trust does seem to be hiding behind “equality” in an attempt to simply not want to award their staff. One thing that he does seem to take for granted is that people are being told they have to work on Christmas Day, without being given any other option. Hopefully the Guinness Trust are showing some Christmas Spirit..?

Last Saturday we had a Beer with @bigbible…

… and had a nice little chat about the

When did you guys (Andy & Andy) set up your blog and what do you enjoy about it that keeps you blogging?

Over recent years the two of us have been involved in various online projects, in the form of blogs, websites, etc. They have all too varying degrees of success and sustainability. TheChurchSofa is our first joint project and the idea came to us in the summer of this year, whilst partaking in a few pints at the local which happened to be called The Living Room….hence sofa! We wanted to be a voice for the men in churches, who probably, like us often would rather be sat on the sofa watching TV and having a beer than heading to church, but we recognise that this Christian stuff seems to work better in a group.

What inspires your blog post topics and do you have a particular strategy?

Strategy…….not so much! Possibly one day – we’re still trying to find our niche at the moment. In terms of what inspires us, we both try to draw on our own experiences and things that we see popping up in the news, local events, what Bob at church might have mentioned in his preach last Sunday… the list could go on.

Humour is clearly important in  what you’re doing, what’s important about that kind of angle?

Humour???? (is that enough of an answer?)

Who’s on your Blogroll (links) and why?

Good question… the moment it’s mostly just our mates plus one or two blogs we liked and have gotten to know via the twitterverse

Read More at The Big Bible

The Guinness Trust and Christmas Pay

Well here’s one for people. (From the ThisIsExeter website)

“The owner of eight city care homes is refusing to pay staff extra for working on Christmas Day and Boxing Day – because it said it cannot recognise one religious festival over others.

Guinness Care and Support said it had an “ethical belief in equality” which meant it did not favour Christmas over other religious celebrations and cannot pay staff extra for working them.

It said it only paid bonuses for bank holidays, which rules out Christmas Day and Boxing Day this year because they fall at the weekend.”

“One member of staff, who asked not to be named, said they were stunned by the announcement: “We have learnt that senior head office management have decided that all staff who work on Christmas Day and Boxing Day will be paid standard flat rate wages with no bonuses whatsoever.

“The management themselves are on two weeks’ annual leave. It has come as a shock and left us all stunned.””

Mick Green, senior human resources manager for Guinness Care and Support, said he appreciated the hard work of staff who will keep the homes running throughout the festive period.

But he said: “We would like to make our position on pay clear – we have a strong ethical belief in equality and diversity and are unable to recognise one religious festival over others.

“Our policy is not to pay extra when staff work during a religious festival.”

Many many questions here:

  • Is this a case of people wanting a Christian Religious holiday recognised, or do they just want to be paid more?
  • Are there going to be any Christmas decorations up anywhere?
  • If someone belonging to another faith wanted to take a day for religious reasons, would that be refused?
  • Is there anyone involved with Guinness Care who feels pressured to work on Christmas day?
  • Or is this case of management (who will be on holiday) not wanting to spend any extra money on staff, and not simply coming out and saying so?

UPDATE: The Bishop of Exeter has realised a statement following up on the above.

What do I know?

A while ago, I came across this little tune called “This Little Light of Mine” by Manchester based LZ7…

I have to admit I thought it was some cheesy tune which I kinda hoped would go away.

It was then released as single… I pushed my head in the sand, smiled politely when people mentioned it at church,  and generally hoped it would go away.

I’m not sure what I was thinking, I cant remember my thought processes  as I downloaded the video onto the laptop I take to youth club… but it was there. The video was still there the other evening when one of the guys at youth club was exploring the “videos” folder… before I knew it, he was dancing to the tune, talking to me about break dancing, and wanting it to be played again later that evening.

What do I know about what’s cool?  Obviously not much.

What have you found uncomfortable or felt to be rubbish, but your youth club has seemed to love?

How do you make sure you’re in tune with “whats in” with your young people?

Have you also noticed how much the lead singer dude looks like a young Gordon Ramsay?

Weekly Round Up: The Will It Blend Edition

Bit of a mixed bag this week, its a bit of a blended mix if you will:

A while ago, a number of bloggers were watching with their head in their hands as the SPCK chain of bookshops were sold to St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust. This move led to a number of tragic tales coming from the former chain of book stores. “The Watcher” has provided a handy reminder that the saga isnt over yet. In the interests of fair play, please feel free to check out the St Stephen The Great homepage.

Did you hear the joke about the guy that said he was going to blow up Robin Hood airport? The joke itself wasn’t funny, but the punchline is actually quite serious. Crimperman asks if Twitter is now a place where humour should be avoided?

BMS World Mission have announced their new website, it looks pretty but could the blogs were updated more often?

And finally… (for the Doctor Who fans out there)… Can a Dalek blend?

Problems with sung worship?

Thanks to Vicky Beeching for inspiration for this post from her questions on twitter this week.

Many people will say that they aren’t a fan of the singing part of church. I have to say I quite like it, being a musician and worship leader that bit of church is right up my street, it’s just the rest of it I don’t like. Quite often it’s men that I hear grumbling about the content of worship in our churches. A university friend of mine told me that he couldn’t engage in sung worship in church, partly because he isn’t much of a singer and he finds it a bit uncomfortable but also he finds that the words are hard for him to engage with. And I can see where he’s coming from.

Often the songs we sing in church aren’t particularly ‘manly’. And men also have a bit of a habit of running away from anything with the word ‘love’ in it. So it would be easy to say that songs that go like ‘Jesus I am so in love with you’ should be thrown away. But doing so would get rid of one of the fundamental parts of being a follower of Christ – God loved us so that we can love.

And if we look at it more subjectively across the broader spectrum of worship songs there does seem to be a much more ‘manly’ focus as well. For example songs like ‘Yesterday, today and forever’ by Vicky Beeching, ‘Happy day’ by Tim Hughes and ‘Strength will rise’ by Brenton Brown are all songs that don’t have that focus on love.

I believe that as we worship a God who is bigger than anything we can possibly know, and has at least as many emotions and characteristics as us – then our worship should reflect that. We should look at the Psalms as an example. The breadth of emotions are huge, they range from fear to joy, from love to abandonment.  However they all cling to the truth that God is there,  bigger than we can know,  in control, stronger than we could imagine, and He loves us so that we can love. And so so so much more!

A challenge to worship leaders is to incorporate the whole of God not just one aspect of him. Maybe not in every worship time in church but we need to make sure we experience and recognise all of God not just one bit.

And a challenge to men…Man up and share the love that God has given, first with Him and second with everyone else!


We shall remember them…

From Doctor Who: The Family of Blood

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
– Laurence Binyon