Bishop welcomes 150 businesses and thanks for them recreating ‘the people’s place’ inside the Cathedral

THE Bishop of Ely twice looked out onto a congregation of business people yesterday and declared his enthusiasm for the “bustle and networking” they had brought to Ely Cathedral.

The Rt Rev Stephen Conway spoke firstly at the Chaplaincy to People at Work service at lunchtime and then gave a key note address to a service concluding a week long business exhibition in the cathedral.

The bishop said during his lunchtime address that he felt the extended recession and its impact on jobs, unemployment, pensions and social care were issues to be addressed by the whole community.

Bishop Conway said that the word “capital” meant much more than mere cash and “we are partners with God in celebrating the many kinds of capital available to us.

“In Cambridgeshire particularly we celebrate not just financial capital but also intellectual capital as it is used in every innovation park. Above all, we celebrate the wonder of social and human capital, the resources and dignity of human work and workers.”

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During his evening address the bishop remarked how delighted he had been to support the 150 businesses who had taken part in the exhibition organised by the Ely Cathedral Business Group.

In the preceding days, he said, the cathedral had become very much “the people’s place’ as it hosted the first of what he hoped would become an annual event.

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Tom Green, chairman of the business group and chief executive of Spearhead International Ltd, announced initiatives going forward that included mentoring opportunities for small East Cambs businesses.

He also promised greater links between schools and businesses and spoke of the need for all businesses to become sustainable to provide continuity and viability.

The concluding speech was from Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership and chairman of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.

He explored issues reflecting the role of businesses in the well being of the communities they serve.

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