The MIC Ethic of Hospitality
The MIC Ethic of Hospitality - An Ethos of Christian Care & Duty
- The rise of social responsibility within the corporate world is one of the most interesting phenomena of the contemporary world. Increasingly organisations are expected to live according to values with regards to sustainable use of natural resources, appropriate lifestyles and awareness of the environmental impact of energy. For many years, major hotel chains for example have asked if you need to have your sheets and towels changed every day on the grounds that if they don’t have to wash them, they can cut down on the detergents going into the water system. It has also of course reduced their costs as well.
- Increasingly we see that this initial step is not enough. Organisations need to look at their overall footprint, not just in terms of carbon, but also water and natural resources such as food stuffs.
- This is why MIC has developed its ethical hospitality programme the core elements of which are spelt out in the document What Ethical Hospitality Means to Us - click here to download.
- However, while this does justice to the business ethics, it needs to be placed within the wider framework which is a given and therefore rarely spelt out. This ethic arises from, is an expression of and helps to make real the far more important ethos of Christian care and duty which lies behind it.
- The ethics spell out the how – how to source only fair-trade, organic and free range for example; or how to sources FSC wood products; sustainable energy and how to develop an ethical wages policy. What the ethos does is spell out why.
- In recent years, a great deal of attention has focused on two key aspects of Christian ethos. These are the ethos of Christian concern and compassion for all aspects of God’s Creation and the ethos of hospitality.
- Care for God’s Creation has led the major Churches to look critically at their traditional understanding of why the rest of Creation exists and has led to a move away from a utilitarian approach to one founded upon the Covenant which God makes in Genesis 9:12 to 17 repeated in what is for Judaism the basis of their daily prayer which is Hosea 2: 18 to 20 in which God promises life to all aspects of Creation including humanity.
This rediscovery of our place within God’s Creation brings with it a moral and ethical consequence which is that we have to be mindful of the right use of all that Creation provides because we are but part of the bigger picture. This is the ethos of care and duty which shapes why we must ensure that any animal’s life taken to feed us has been lived as generously and naturally as possible; why we must steward the use of energy sources; why we must ensure that any wood product is from an ecologically sustainable forest.
- The ethos of hospitality likewise arises from a rediscovery of the tradition of Biblical hospitality. For nearly two thousand years, Christian monasteries have offered travellers of whatever status, a place of rest, refreshment and welcome. This finds its inspiration in the Biblical accounts of generosity to the stranger for example in the Old Testament story of Abraham and the three angels at the Tree of Mamre in Genesis 18: 1 to 15 or the New Testament stories of the Feeding of the Five Thousand in for example Matthew 14: 13 to 21 or the Road to Emmaus story in Luke 24: 13 to 35.
- In Hilda Porter’s original vision, those who needed to be welcomed and offered hospitality were the foreign students who were being barred from hospitality by racism and fear. Those days are now long gone. The need for hospitality now is for those who in their everyday life are seeking to live more ethically, to walk more gently upon the earth and for those for whom an ethos of Christian hospitality opens doors to an appreciation of Christianity itself which would not otherwise be possible.
- This is why in the new developments of MIC, we place such emphasis on the ethical and the spiritual. This is why we now only serve free range eggs, ensure our waste goes towards energy production and why we have a chapel for quiet meditation and the offer of Holy Communion once a week. I would like to see us offer a moment of quiet prayer everyday as part not of the ethics of hospitality but because of our ethos of hospitality and Christian care and duty.
- In looking at why MIC is planning to take the path proposed, we would therefore ask you to see our why as well as our how for it is the unique combination of both which marks MIC as not just a pioneer here in the UK but as leader of a growing movement of faiths around the world to live, work and function with an ethos of care for all Creation.