Building our common life
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Welcome again to the Together for the Common Good newsletter. We look over the silos of the different Christian traditions and beyond to gather stories for you below. No apologies for the length, it's encouraging to see so many people have a heart for the common good (1 John 4:12). See below to read about initiatives and organisations who are:
- strengthening civil society
- encouraging good business and accessible finance
- collaborating across different traditions
- promoting good politics and civic responsibility
- undertaking research into social action
- putting Catholic social teaching into practice
- exploring post-liberal thinking and the alternatives to individualism
And we're happy to share news for our friends:
- recruitment notices
- events - in our listings pages
Before we start, a big thank you to all who visited us at St Michael’s Cornhill during our residency there in the week before Pentecost. It was a busy and fruitful time with events and a prayer installation for the common good in the heart of the City of London. Click on the pictures below for videos and podcasts of our two debates:
‘A Balance of Interests: Britain, the EU and the Common Good’ chaired by Dr Eliza Filby with Dr Jonathan Chaplin, Caroline MacFarland and Peter Smith.
‘Is it Possible to Build a Common Good with Money’ chaired by Dr Eve Poole, with Lord Maurice Glasman and Professor Philip Booth.
Thanks to all who took part, and our wonderful volunteer team, our partners, CoVi, Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics, and our sponsors, CCLA Good Investment, the Social Stock Exchange and St Michael's Cornhill.
We are now busy developing resources, building relationships and in fundraising mode.
What's going on
Read on below for examples of activity going on across our traditions for the common good - we've gathered them under broad themes for you. Click on the pink links for downloads etc. Tell us what interests you, and let us know what you'd like to see.
Strengthening civil society
Supporting mental health in parishes: resources to help reduce stigma including toolkit, workshops and training - from Welcome Me As I Am.
The rehabilitation of prisoners: Belief and Belonging, a new report by Lemos & Crane looks at the spiritual and pastoral role of Catholic prison chaplains.
Providing access to affordable credit: the Church Credit Champions Network is part of the To Your Credit initiative. So far, the pilot has engaged over 200 churches, trained 150 Credit Champions and is on target to bring in 3,000 new credit union members. A proposed 18-month rollout to 30 dioceses would train 6,000 Credit Champions, benefitting 2.5m people. To get involved, click here.
Paying a living wage to support family life: read this briefing for churches by Church Action on Poverty.
Bringing about positive change in neighbourhoods: visit Church Urban Fund’s Get Started in Your Parish. Using the asset-based approach, mapping out a community's shared assets, building on gifts and skills.
Teaching the Common Good in school: read a short report from Franca Gambari in Italy on a recent conference on educating for the common good
Being good neighbours: read this blog from Chris Lawrence in New York City who describes his ministry as a ‘church that puts the neighbours first’.
Deacons living and working in communities: Building Kingdom Communities by David Clark, of the Methodist diaconal order, on a new order of mission.
Responding to the refugee crisis: A guide: refugees, asylum seekers, migrants – a practical, downloadable booklet for all churches across the country by CTMR.
For Refugees acts as a hub for churches who want to support refugees: mentoring, fostering, partnering, teaching English, and more.
Refugees Welcome Board – a coalition with Citizens UK, supporting communities to help refugees: training, sponsor a family, housing, be an ambassador, and more.
Jesuit Refugee Service UK – support JRS UK who work with refugees in detention centres and in their centre in East London.
A 5 minute video introducing the refugee crisis – useful for discussion groups - by the Jubilee Centre.
Encouraging good business and accessible finance
Encouraging good business:B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee: the UK’s is the fastest growing B Corp community in the world. In the last 6 months, 25 more companies have become B Corp certified here, employing a total of more than 3,500 people.
Investing for social impact: Social Stock Exchange is part of a rapidly evolving sector where investors large and small support initiatives enabling companies, social enterprises and charities achieve their values and mission as well as delivering positive financial returns. Alongside charitable grants and fundraising, this is emerging as an additional, sustainable method of funding.
Challenging accountability in the City: watch videos from our recent debate on money in the City of London featuring Lord Maurice Glasman and Professor Philip Booth, chaired by Dr Eve Poole.
Improving access to finance: the Responsible Finance network sent us this 3 minute video explaining why the disclosure of bank lending data will help to unlock access to finance for businesses and families.
Collaborating across different traditions
Our roots are in the Sheppard Worlock partnership, outward-facing ecumenical church leadership which puts people and communities first, so we are always on the look out for more ‘better together’ stories:
On Pentecost Sunday, Bishop Paul Bayes tweeted: ‘on giants’ shoulders’, witnessing to the Liverpool's unique history and to his relationship with Archbishop Malcolm McMahon. The annual ‘Hope Street Walk of Witness’ between the city's two cathedrals, started 34 years ago, has now become a joint civic-church festival called Pentecost Pageant.
A Faithful Presence: working together for the common good: a practical handbook by T4CG founding member Hilary Russell, has a new review, by Ann Morisy (Church Times) who describes it as 'An aid to our morale'.
Read an inspiring story of an Anglican-Catholic partnership between two senior bishops in New Zealand, working together for the common good featuring the joint leadership of Archbishop David Moxon and Bishop Denis Browne.
Orthodox-Catholic collaboration in humanitarian relief was highlighted in a joint visit to refugees in Lesbos by Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis.
Meanwhile the long-term, patient work of doctrinal discussion continues: ‘Towards a Church fully reconciled' will be published this autumn by ARCIC III.
This article on Hillsborough by Clifford Longley tells how Liverpool’s ecumenical partnership helped shape the city’s response to the tragedy.
Promoting good politics and civic responsibility
EU Referendum: Watch videos from our recent debate on the EU Referendum, featuring Jonathan Chaplin, Peter Smith, Caroline MacFarland and Eliza Filby. Find more material on the EURef in our Further Reading Materials section here. Take a look at this article by Ben Ryan of Theos. Explore the Reimagining Europe blog and don't miss KLICE’s series of EU Ref briefings. See our events listings pages for upcoming discussions before 23 June.
London Mayoral Elections: get a flavour of how Citizens UK works by watching this video of their Mayoral Assembly. With 6,000 people holding the mayoral candidates to account, their methodology enables the voices of those experiencing injustice to be heard. Read a moving reflection by the Dean of Southwark Cathedral about the installation of Mayor Khan, and the positive response of the Jewish community here.
Citizenship: Simon Duffy (Director of the Centre for Welfare Reform) has written this article on Citizenship, citing two essential principles: first, ‘value each and every individual for their differences and their diversity’ and second, ‘treat each and every individual as an equal, worthy of respect’.
Undertaking research - click on the links to participate:
Theos Think Tank is conducting research into ‘faith-based organisations responding to social need innovatively’. Please tell them what you know.
Jubilee Plus is conducting research into Christian social action for older people. Please help them by participating in their survey.
Blueprint for Better Business is assisting the Cabinet Office with a call for evidence on how to support mission-led businesses. Read their frame of reference.
Putting Catholic social teaching (CST) into practice
The Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society was launched recently at St Mary’s University Twickenham. Headed by Stephen Bullivant, current projects include a scientific study of non-religious belief, Humanae Vitae at 50, and commentary on policy and society. (Professor Philip Booth, one of the academics active in the Centre, is a contributor to our book of essays).
The Centre for Catholic Social Thought and Practice is launching on 13 June. They link with the work of CAFOD, CSAN, the Von Hügel Institute in Cambridge, the Las Casas Institute in Oxford, and Durham University. The chair is Dr Anna Rowlands (another contributor to our book of essays). To attend their London launch (with workshops on the church and the migration crisis) go to our events listings.
Theos has published a report: Catholic Social Thought and Catholic Charities in Britain Today: Need and Opportunity looking at the challenges they face, and assesses how well CST is known and applied in the sector.
Questions on Just War Theory within CST were discussed at a recent conference co-hosted by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi in Rome. We were interested in the response from Lord Guthrie (former Chief of Defence Staff and now Chancellor of Liverpool Hope University). Members of the conference called for Pope Francis to issue fresh teaching to reorientate the church’s teaching on violence.
Exploring post-liberal thinking
Listen to this podcast of the inimitable John Milbank in conversation with Scott Stephens on democracy, liberalism, individualism and the state.
Coming in July: The Politics of Virtue: Post-Liberalism and the Human Future by John Milbank and Adrian Pabst. Described as ‘a compelling critique of contemporary liberalism with post-liberal alternatives in politics, the economy, culture and international affairs, providing the fullest account so far of the post-liberal alternative in Western politics’. T4CG was honoured to be involved in the early discussion stages.
The Jesuit Refugee Service UK is recruiting a Policy and Advocacy Officer. Candidates will have an interest in UK and International refugee policy and be conversant in CST. Deadline: 2 June.
CoVi (Common Vision) the common good visual think tank are recruiting for a Senior Researcher, and a Research/Communications Assistant. Deadlines 27 May and 31 May.
The Centre for Theology and Community are recruiting for a finance manager – deadline 31 May.
We do our best to bring you a range of updates. Do write to us and suggest what we could include next time. We archive selected items from our newsletters in our Further Study Materials pages on our website.
Click here for listings of related events held by our friends and partners: Capital Mass, For Refugees, CoVi, Hurtado Jesuit Centre, The London Encounter, Centre for Catholic Social Thought and Practice, Industrial Christian Fellowship, Centre for Enterprise, Markets and Ethics, Quakers and Business, National Justice and Peace Network, Student Christian Movement, Focolare...
We hope you find this newsletter helpful. Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have an idea to discuss - after all, we're working Together for the Common Good.
Warmest wishes to you and your family,
Together for the Common Good
A Faithful Presence: working together for the common good by Hilary Russell. A practical and accessible book, to inspire and equip everyone working to strengthen civil society. Tracing the thinking underlying T4CG it also contains case studies and examples of how churches are working together through social action, service provision, community building, prayer and advocacy.
Together for the Common Good: towards a national conversation Contributors: Maurice Glasman, Clifford Longley, Jonathan Chaplin, Brian Griffiths, Jon Wilson, Tehmina Kazi, Andrew Bradstock, Anna Rowlands, Esther Reed, Patrick Riordan, Phillip Booth, Sam Burgess and Malcolm Brown. (Eds Nicholas Sagovsky & Peter McGrail). For free Study Guide and further information click here.
Together for the Common Good is guided by an independent, ecumenical Steering Group:
Hilary Russell, Andree Blake, Andrew Bradstock, Alison Gelder, Jenny Sinclair,
Tim Livesey, Richard Holman, Ali Lyon, Kanyin Sanusi.
We consult with a circle of advisors.
Enquiries to: email@example.com
T4CG gratefully acknowledges help-in-kind from our many friends and partners, too many to list here.
A big thank you to the Sisters of the Assumption for giving us a lovely office.
We are grateful for financial support from CCLA,
the URC Vision Mission Fund, the Passionists Grants group, and others.
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