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St Ethelburga’s Day 2019 – Mentorship, Faith and Endeavour

The ancient Livery Companies were not only trade fraternities, but also religious ones – worshipping together in the churches in their trading districts. The Modern Livery Companies and Guilds almost all follow the spirit of this tradition, through their adopted City churches and saintly patrons around which they focus their remaining religious activities.

The Guild of Entrepreneurs’ patron saint is St Ethelburga, the 7th Century Abbess of Barking, whose feast day is 11th October.

So it was, then, that, on a drizzly Friday afternoon, the Guild was represented at its church of St Lawrence Jewry next Guildhall, at a service marking St Ethelburga’s Day 2019‎. The themes of the service were mentorship, faith and endeavour, all of which clearly resonated with the entrepreneurs in the congregation.

The Clerk read from St Paul’s Epistle to Timothy, in which Paul exhorted his protégé Timothy’s faith, and encouraged his self-belief and boldness in growing the early Church.

The Chaplain read Jesus’s words of encouragement to His disciples, reinforcing their self-belief in response to their pleas that He might “increase their faith”. Jesus responded with the famous words that faith as small as the proverbial mustard seed is all that is needed to do great things.

On the value of mentorship, the Chaplain, in a brief homily, shared his experiences as a mentee in his early ministry.‎ Paul’s mentoring of Timothy, as with Christ of his disciples, were, he said, illustrations of the power of encouragement and trust to foster self-belief and endeavour.

Self-belief and endeavour were central to the life and ministry of Ethelburga, who expanded the Barking Convent and founded a satellite sorority ‎in the City of London (on the site of what is now All Hallows’ Church, known in former times as “Barkingside”). Her faith and successes, particularly as a woman in religious ministry, remain an exemplar of socially conscious enterprise.

These inspiring reflections made for stimulating discussions after the service over a glass of wine. The Clerk was pressed to say a few words‎ about the history and aspirations of the Guild of Entrepreneurs, and, particularly about the work of the Guild of Entrepreneurs Trust in supporting enterprise skills.

Notes: The Guild of Entrepreneurs welcomes applications from prospective Freemen of any faith, and none. St Ethelburga’s Day 2020 is on Sunday 11th October.

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