Welcome to our newsletters page! Click here for the latest newsletter, and look on the bar to the left for earlier editions. We have a new logo, so you will see our original logo on earlier newsletters.
Have you subscribed? It's free! Click here to sign up
January - February 2016
This year more than ever demands of us a new sense of purpose. It's only mercy that can challenge the globalised indifference that enables injustice and mercilessness to thrive. A loving, personal responsibility is the foundation for the Common Good, and this requires cultivating an attitude of hope, opening our minds and hearts to the dignity of every human person - including those with whom we disagree. When society is increasingly fragmented and unequal, when we encounter people of different views and backgrounds less and less, the practice of the Common Good becomes more and more important if we are to build a common life together.
Indifference stems from a poverty of love. Unless balanced by healthy civic institutions and relationships, systems often have a tendency to dehumanise, whether they are market or state created. We all need to put our shoulders to the wheel, open up to unlikely partnerships and join this hopeful story of a purposeful life together in which all people of good will can take part, across belief traditions, circumstances, politics and interests. Hope fosters courage and enables us to build bridges where people, groups or organisations have become estranged or polarised. It's about negotiating and injecting a little humanity wherever it is absent: in our parishes, workplaces, throughout our economic, political and cultural life. Social scientists talk about human capital. This is about creating Love Capital.
Welcome to the Together for the Common Good Newsletter. You'll find links and downloads that we hope are helpful for you. Scroll down for What's going on, Lent Resources, New Year reading and for more detail on the following, click on the links Common Good Principles • Catholic Social Thought • Study Materials • Events
Events - click on the calendar for our events listingsdon't miss these conferences, talks, workshops from: Near Neighbours, Housing Justice, Theos, Christians in Politics, Christian Aid, Las Casas Institute, ResPublica, Micah, Good Works, SCM, Eco Church, Hurtado, Church Urban Fund, Taize, Livability... and more... click for full details...
A special mention for Events in which T4CG is collaborating:
HOPE16 is a festival of events from 7-31 January organised by local schools, community groups and churches the Walton neighbourhood of Liverpool (near Everton FC’s Goodison Park). Hundreds of local people and school children are taking part in exhibitions, performances, inspiring talks and workshops and discussing how best to work together for the common good in their neighbourhood (lots of pictures and press on Twitter @HOPE16T4CG). T4CG was delighted to be involved in the planning group. Hilary Russell and Jenny Sinclair will be taking part in an evening of discussion and debate, A Faithful Presence + the Common Good: on Monday 25 January at 7pm. Refreshments from 6.30pm. Hilary's book, A Faithful Presence will be launched and copies will be on sale. Free and all are welcome. For info click here.
T4CG's Maria Power is collaborating with Nick Franchini of Good Works and Chris Baker of William Temple Foundation to produce a series of retreats called Faith in Work, each for a different faith tradition, bringing together professionals from across different industries to explore how best to restore faith in work. The first retreat is for Catholics, and expressions of interest are invited from other faith groups (the next retreats in the pipeline are for Anglicans, then Hindus, and others will follow). The first is on 29 April - 2 May 2016, at Boarbank Hall in Cumbria, with speakers Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Dr Kathryn Mannix, Danny Daly and T4CG’s Tim Livesey. The retreat chaplain is Fr Augusto Zampini Davies. For further details click here.
Just to update you, T4CG is working on several projects in partnership with over fifteen organisations (we've lost count) including our common good training session; a new publication; building a development programme for our conversation model; assisting with curating events; providing input at events, networking and making connections, communicating via Twitter, gathering material for you in this newsletter and adding to our website resource. The T4CG project continues to unfold in a creative and unpredictable manner - that's just the way we like it!
What's going on
Click on the pink links to access downloads, video, audio and articles
This is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Feel free to download T4CG's prayer here - this is what we use at our meetings. Check out news of events across the country on the #wpcu wall here. The theme is Salt of the Earth -download resourcesfrom CTBI.
The Global Foundation has been meeting in Rome to discuss Building an economy that works for the common good. Featuring Mark Carney and Christine Lagarde among the fifty world leaders attending, it is chaired by Anglican Archbishop Philip Freier and involves Catholic Cardinals Parolin, Turkson, and Cardinal Pell who "made a carefully nuanced speech designed to counter-balance the perception that the Catholic Church under Pope Francis has become a forum for anti-capitalists" read more here on the Social Stock Exchange website.
Reflecting on the COP21 talks in Paris, Nick Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury writes on Paris and Beyond: Working Together to Make a Difference and says commitment to the goals is not an option for Christians: each church community can work towards becoming an Eco-Church, reducing heating and electricity bills and finding sources of renewable energy. The Eco Church project launches on 26 January -see our events listings for details.
Be champions of hope: this is what Christians can give society amidst a 'fear-driven brutalism'. A beautifully constructed piece by Theos think tank's Elizabeth Oldfield in 3 minutes for Thought for the Day. Listen here.
Jean Vanier's new year letter reminds us that "there is no peace without justice, and there is no justice without forgiveness” and of Desmond Tutu’s maxim: "Forgiveness is nothing less than the way the world is healed." In this special year of mercy Pope Francis is showing us how mercy is a route to justice. L’Arche are promoting the voice and the contribution of people with learning disabilities in a series of films, the first of which is here.
We reported last time on the Woolf Institute’s Commission on Religion and Belief in Public Life report with links to responses including this excellent blog from Malcolm Brown, Director of Mission and Public Affairs for the Church of England. Since then, a member of the CORAB Commission Angus Ritchie, Director of the Centre for Theology and Community, has written this thoughtful response.
In a blog on the Carnegie UK website, Steve Wyler says ‘Common good thinking is on the ascendancy in many fields with new organisations such as Together for the Common Good, Blueprint for Better Business, Commonweal and Economy for the Common Good'. Read more in his blog here.
John Milbank, who is Research Professor of Politics, Religion and Ethics at the University of Nottingham, makes sense of the complex territory of human dignity, rights and liberal autonomy in this article. We think it’s well worth the effort.
In our last issue, we looked at asset-based community development (ABCD) and compared it with the long established 'needs-based' approach. This time we recommend watching this video of Cormac Russell of Nurture Development, explaining how ABCD works in practice.
Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro and Frank Field MP, have been working together to explore 'social supermarkets', an initiative that is well advanced in some of mainland Europe and is gaining ground in Britain where, their research shows, up to 4 million people may be only one crisis (like an unexpected bill) from being unable to feed themselves. Read this article in The Tablet.
We congratulate Frank, who, along with Julia Unwin, CEO of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, is among six new 'Canons Provincial' appointed by the Diocese of York: they are being recognised as individuals who have made a distinguished contribution to the building up of Church and society. Julia Unwin is among the speakers at A Poor Church for the Poor a major conference on 5 March in Leeds looking at the structural reality of poverty in the UK. See our events listings for booking details.
We were encouraged to see SFRE an investment company that deploys "substantial amounts of long-term capital to support the growing segment of banks focused on serving individuals and enterprises in the real economy whilst delivering a triple bottom line of prosperity, planet and people." Read more about SFRE here.
Finance can be hard to understand for the uninitiated and harder still when it is hidden. But sometimes work going on under the radar is more effective than we might guess. Check out the Church Investors Group whose 55 members cross all denominations and have combined investment assets of over £15bn. Convened byJames Corah of CCLA, the CIG effectively uses its position to influence corporations for good.
The focus on Europe is increasing with Theos holding an event exploring Which Europe? on 27 January (see events listings) and launching their report 'A Soul for the Union'. They are open to responses and suggestions about where the discussion should go next. Adding to the range of voices is a group new to the UK, with European and South American roots, Global Hub for the Common Good. Also worth checking out is the Reimagining Europe blog, a space for Christian reflection and debate on Britain's relationship with Europe, including blogs by Jonathan Chaplin and Tim Livesey.
If you were unable to attend The Tablet's conference in Durham, 'the Spirit of Catholic Renewal', click here for full reports, transcripts, recordings and videos, of inputs by Stanley Hauerwas, Cardinal Walter Kasper, Anna Rowlands, Tina Beattie, Alana Harris, Paul Murray and Timothy Radcliffe.
For families and churches wanting to help with hosting refugees, start by looking at RefugeesWelcome which offers resources and training, and Home For Goodwhich is offering a series of information events and helps those able to foster or adopt unaccompanied minors. And just a reminder that Housing Justice shares resources for churches and school assemblies for Homeless Sunday which is on 24 January; they have also produced an impact report on night shelters – click here to download.
Jubilee Plus is providing signposting to help churches who want to equip themselves to serve the community in their neighbourhood. They have identifiedover 40 franchises that your church can take on to address different social issues, for example, debt, crisis intervention, family life, health and disability etc. Look also atCinnamon Network's large range of projects.
Many Catholic parishes find that setting up a YCW (Young Christian Workers) or Impact group shows the parish wants to make a difference in the world and values young people. A YCW group enhances the life of a parish, and can enable better interaction with the wider community. Learn more on the YCW website.
We've received a link to a transcript of a speech given by Lord Maurice Glasman in 2013. This text shows his prescience, consistency and why we invited him as a keynote speaker at the T4CG conference that year. We recommend it to anyone exploring the politics of the common good. As he says, 'The only hope lies in the building of relationships with others'.
This is just a flavour - do let us know if there is something we should include next time.
Keep an eye on the Lent page on our website, as we may add more resources, but for the time being, consider these:
Just Love: personal and social transformation in Christ by Paul Hackwood and Angus Ritchie.
If you are following Lent in an ecumenical partnership we suggest 'With Christ in the Wilderness: Following Lent Together' by David Sheppard and Derek Worlock.
Resources for Lent and Holy Week from the Department of Spirituality at the Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle
Hope, Actually a 5-week Lent course by Church Urban Fund
The 40acts Challenge for Lent starts on the 10th February 2016. Sign up as an individual or as a group.
Why not dedicate Lent to the Common Good and read
New year, new reading?
These are some of the books and articles that have come to our attention recently:
- An Other Kingdom: Departing the Consumer Culture - Peter Block, Walter Brueggemann, John McKnight
- The Paradox of Liberation: Secular Revolutions and Religious Counterrevolutions - Michael Walzer
- The Name of God is Mercy - Pope Francis
- Justice, Unity, and the Hidden Christ: The Theopolitical Complex of the Social Justice Approach to Ecumenism in Vatican II - Matthew Tan
- Reconciling State and Society? The Practice of the Common Good in the Partnership of Bishop David Sheppard and Archbishop Derek Worlock: this is a longform article by Dr Maria Power about the roots to which T4CG owes its existence. If you cannot download the file, please email Maria firstname.lastname@example.org who will be happy to email you a pdf version.
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.
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.
Thank you for being a part of this journey with us. Your views will help us learn, so do tell us what is useful for you. Please pray for us and get in touch if you have an idea you would like to discuss. We are still operating on tiny resources, and are taking steps to move to a more sustainable footing, so do get in touch if you are in a position to help. After all, we're working Together for the Common Good.
Warmest wishes for a Peaceful 2016,
Together for the Common Good