Belief in God and the endless pursuit of profit in business may not sit side by side that easily.
But for ten years one couple has been offering Christian and spiritual support to many in Birmingham’s fast-paced business community.
ChaplaincyPlus, a Christian charity which ministers to the city’s corporate sector, has been run by husband and wife team Chris and Clair Dinsdale since its inception.
But now the couple, who offer pastoral care, counselling and support to more than 700 people, are set to retire
Mr Dinsdale revealed he had mixed emotions about calling it a day, but confessed he was also excited at the prospect of retiring.
“We have been here for ten years and I think it is time for God to bring someone else in who can build on what we have done,” he said.
“When we first came here the business community said they felt disconnected – and wondered where all the other Christians were – and I think now they feel connected.”
Delivering pastoral work in a Christian context was a sudden career change for Mr Dinsdale, a chartered surveyor by trade and partner in London firm Weatherall Green & Smith.
“In 1992 I clearly heard the voice of Jesus saying to me ‘what I want you to do is to have time for hurting men’,” he said.
“The only hurting men I knew were in the business world so I started pastoral work in that area.”
Mr Dinsdale met ChaplaincyPlus trustee and Birmingham lawyer Anthony Collins in 2000 and made the move to Birmingham in 2003.
The fledgling charity was given an office by Hortons’ Estate on Colmore Row and it remains there, in the heart of the city’s business district, today.
The organisation has developed considerably over time, Mr Dinsdale explained, and offers a host of events such as regular prayer breakfasts and annual carol concerts.
“When we started, Anthony gave me 150 names, it has now grown to 750 people.
“That is mainly through word of mouth within the business community but also through the events we run such as the Birmingham Prayer Breakfast and Carols for the Business Community”.
ChaplaincyPlus team leader Mr Dinsdale works mainly in the area of pastoral care while his wife is an accredited counsellor and runs the City Women group.
The couple are also supported by Deborah Walton, who runs the City Lights project, a sub-group which aims to support young adults in the workplace and has an events programme of its own.
The group City Legal also exists under the umbrella of ChaplaincyPlus and is a dedicated group for people in the legal profession.
Mr Dinsdale said: “Part of it is standing alongside people, supporting them on an individual basis and offering pastoral care.
“It is also about getting the Birmingham business community aware that Christians are concerned for the city and want to pray for it, encourage it and support it and we do that in conjunction with the cathedral through the prayer breakfasts.
“My job is to have time for people – by giving people time you are showing that you care for them. There is often no time for people and things have got far worse over the last 20 years.
“In a lot of businesses you don’t get that provided but people need to feel cared for in the workplace.
“If we can be doing that for people what we are doing is helping the business community to be a more effective community.”
The Dinsdales are supported by a team of ChaplaincyPlus trustees that includes Anthony Collins and Peter Coggan.
Mr Coggan said he believed the organisation provided a vital role in the city, particularly in the wake of the financial crises of recent years.
“We have been through the banking crisis and standards in public life have gone awry,” he said. “There is a lack of moral standards any more.
“From a Christian point of view we feel we do bring that back and can support people ethically in he workplace – people in individual situations who are under pressure and being asked to do things they feel are not right. If you have faith you can stand up above that and feel that God is in control.”
The organisation, which relies on donations from the city’s business community for its running costs, has never been left wanting for money, because of incredible generosity, said Mr Dinsdale.
He added: “It has been testing during the recession, but God has not been found wanting and we have managed to balance the books.”
Summing up its ethos and its plans for the future Mr Collins said: “We are not an evangelical organisation but we do aim to encourage faith.
“We are now looking to appoint someone to take it forward.”