McKinsey tasked with bringing City Christians into Church of England fold

23 February 2018 3 min. read
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The Church of England has become the latest religious institution to put its faith in the consulting industry, with the engagement of McKinsey & Company. The firm has been tasked with broadening the Church’s appeal to Christians working in the City, months after Accenture completed a redesign of the Catholic Church’s Vatican News network, in order to broaden its relevance.

It might allegedly be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, but that isn’t stopping the Church of England looking to supplement its flock with members of London’s financial elite. A group led by the Church of England’s most senior Bishop has appointed McKinsey to draft a five-year plan, aimed at boosting the appeal of England’s state religious institution among Christian financial services executives aged between 20 and 35.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby reportedly said he wanted to see more Christians “feeling empowered” to know that what Jesus thinks is important when they make decisions. In a statement to the British press, he remarked, “Given the frenetic and consuming nature of work in the financial sector, I would like to see Christians asking: what does it mean properly to stop? What does it mean to take time to reflect and examine your day?”

McKinsey tasked with bringing City Christians into Church of England fold

McKinsey has also started to help the group as of January, pro-bono, as the Church sought to entice more City workers to sign up to Welby’s so-called Year in God’s Time initiative. The year-long programme is focused on ethics, prayer, service to the poor and quasi-monastic living; qualities which detractors of London’s financial district might suggest that the City could exhibit more of.

It is the latest effort by the Church to influence UK business for the better, and comes after the Church’s investment arm warned large UK companies earlier in February, that it would be stepping up its pressure on executive boards over corporate governance issues. With regards to the Year in God’s Time initiative, around 20 City workers have participated so far, but according to those behind the programme, this is just the beginning. The programme will commence “a major push” for applications ahead of a planned relaunch in September 2018.

Simon Lewis, the dean of St Anselm, the community behind the programme, said, “In 10 years’ time, we would love to be able to see those who went through the first years of the programme move into senior management positions in their organisations, with their decisions starting to make a difference in the world and the sectors in which they operate.”

McKinsey alumni hold senior roles in the Church of England and the Catholic Church in the US, and aside from its work with the Church of England, McKinsey, which has declined opportunities from the press to comment on the story, also has a long history of advising the Catholic Church. In 2014, it was drafted in to help the Vatican reboot its communications operations.

In a follow-up on McKinsey's work, the Vatican’s Ministry of Communications early this year brought in Accenture to unify the current array of independent communication channels under a single new portal: Vatican News.