Why, for Lent, I’m taking up cleaning…

The Centre for Theology & Community l and tagged , , l

profile-Tim-TOur Development Director Tim Thorlby blogs about the progress being made with our ethical cleaning company, Clean For Good…

If I say the word ‘cleaning’ to you, I wonder what your first reaction is?

For many, it’s a hassle, perhaps something we’d rather not be doing with our time. A growing number of people ‘contract out’ their cleaning at home now for this very reason – it’s something we’re often happy for someone else to do.

And yet we all clean.

When I get up in the morning, one of the first things I do is to have a shower. I clean my teeth. I put on clothes I’ve washed earlier in the week. Cleanliness is an important and essential part of our lives. More than that, it is something which actually brings satisfaction to us – the minty fresh breath after cleaning my teeth, the well-scrubbed face staring back at me in the mirror.

When we go out to work, to meet people, to party, what do we do? We ‘scrub up’ and enjoy looking good. Cleanliness is a huge part of this. No-one wants to be the person smelling of last night’s dinner!

Different detergent bottles on white background

And more than this, the absence of cleanliness can be a sign of something amiss in our lives, a sign of disorder. The person who can’t muster the enthusiasm to wash or tidy themselves may perhaps not be OK. In our schools, teachers are trained to look for signs of children not being cared for at home. One of the triggers for those alarm bells? Lack of cleanliness.

Cleaning is perhaps more important to us and our society than we realise:

– It reveals the true beauty of an object or a person – removing the dirt allows us to see the true colours and textures of what it is supposed to look like

– It protects us – from bacteria, the spread of illness, from ill-health

– It is an act of love and care – we clean those things that matter to us, which we want to look good and show off in their best light

– It is a sign of order and wholeness

Today is the first day of Lent – a short season when we try to spend a bit less time thinking about ourselves and a bit more time getting closer to God, as we move toward to the great celebration of Easter and new life. Like many Christians I have been pondering how to mark Lent.

Then I remembered about Jesus and his cleaning.

On the night of the Last Supper, on the eve of his crucifixion, Jesus modelled to his disciples what true leadership looks like. He washed their feet. He made the time to do some cleaning, for the benefit of others, in an act of humble and loving service. He told them that this was how they would change the world.

So, this Lent I have resolved to do a bit of cleaning every day for the benefit of someone else – a daily act of service – 40 days of cleaning. It will also be a chance every day to reflect on Jesus washing his disciples’ feet and how this is the route to changing our world for the better. A bit less of me and a bit more of God.


I’ve been thinking a lot about cleaning recently because CTC is currently leading the development of a new cleaning business Clean for Good. It’s a different kind of cleaning company – a business with a social purpose.

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We will provide an excellent cleaning service – because cleaning matters. But we will also pay our cleaners the London Living Wage, provide decent working terms and conditions (like paid leave and guaranteed minimum working hours) and invest in our people – because cleaners matter. We want to reinvent the idea of a cleaning company and challenge the rest of the cleaning sector to do the same.


We have a business plan, great partners, most of our start-up investment and are currently building a leadership team. We are aiming to launch later in 2016.

You can follow Clean for Good on twitter and you can keep in touch by signing up for our new monthly newsletter on our website, and if you’d like to help, or you think you might want new cleaners, get in touch!

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