Work serves both God and our neighbour, and rest is of equal value – the world's oldest ”health and safety law” is the commandment to observe the Sabbath. The value of work is measured by what it produces, and it must honour and be of service to every person as made in God's image. Work should enable rather than limit fulfilment; it should not burden creation unduly; and both the life it affords and the conditions in which it is undertaken should reflect the dignity inherent in humanity.

Workers should have a say in work's rhythm and implementation; and a good balance of work and family commitments needs to be maintained. The church is actively involved in supporting healthy working environments: in many workplaces there are chaplains, with whom major issues and problems of work and life may be discussed.


During the recession of the 1990s, the church was active in addressing the new challenge of high unemployment. Parishes continue to work with local associations of unemployed people to organise meals, clubs, excursions and other activities, and parish workers are available to offer counsel and support. The church seeks to serve as a partner to, rather than a representative of, the unemployed, assisting them to mobilise and make their voice heard.

Unemployment is a long-term and complex social problem requiring intensive socio-economic and cultural evaluation. Although neo-liberal orthodoxy suggests that full employment is an unrealistic goal in the age of the global market economy, the church maintains that it is both reasonable and achievable. 

A woman selling vegetables.