Goodness is a powerful force
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In a world of increasing diversity and conflict, how are we to build a life together? Sometimes it seems that it’s all too much. But as John Paul II reminded us ‘No evil is greater than the infinite mercy of God’ so we should take courage and realise that goodness is a more powerful force than the news media might have us believe. Together for the Common Good is working on ways to bring together people of goodwill, across their differences and traditions, and encourage them to become agents of change for the common good. We see the practice of the common good as a transformative, new way to approach political and cultural life.
Please spare a prayer or a thought for us next Wednesday when we pilot our new Common Good Conversation with a group of invited ‘critical friends’. We've developed a new conversation framework bringing together people of estranged positions who focus on a theme of mutual concern. Discerning the Common Good through facilitated dialogue, underpinned by common good principles, the process leads to a language of hope, positive action and collaboration. The combined expertise of those taking part in the pilot will illuminate its strengths and weaknesses and this will help us produce a robust toolkit so that the model can be applied across a range of contexts.
Our collection of essays on the Common Good is now in its editorial phase and the manuscript is due to go to the publisher at the end of this month. We are delighted to have contributions from twelve leading thinkers and theologians across the faith traditions and all being well the book will be published before the General Election next year.
We are preparing for the second in our series of gatherings to support Parliamentarians as they face challenging times ahead. In early November we will be partnering again with Christians in Parliament to host a cross-party conversation on the Common Good for MPs and Peers to look at selected areas of policy and explore how the concept of the Common Good can be a helpful tool to inform decision making and as criteria for judgement.
It’s always been our aim to remain small, and we are still working pro bono, but the momentum around our work is undeniable and we are very overstretched. We need to establish core resources and are now in fundraising mode. We would be delighted to hear from you if you’re in a position to help. So far this year T4CG’s activities are being funded by Westminster Abbey One People Fund, CCLA, MB Reckitt Trust, Hymns Ancient and Modern and the Church Urban Fund and we’re grateful to the many individuals and organisations who are involved by supporting T4CG with help-in-kind. Would you like to be involved? Donations can be made via Better Together Trust, or get in touch with us direct.
What’s going on:
New in our Opinion Pieces this month we are looking at the understanding of the common good in the voluntary sector and in Christian Conservatism. Steve Wyler OBE, former Chief Executive of Locality, warns that the voluntary sector must not become complacent about its contribution to the common good. Meanwhile theologian Dr Joshua Hordern considers why some business practice has forgotten the common good and explains how Christian Conservatives can encourage the rebuilding of trust between business and society.
Leaders and policy makers who are ‘are stuck in the realm of pure ideas’ become ‘disconnected from realities.’ This is the view of Pope Francis, explored by the newly appointed Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago. Click here to read more.
The Salvation Army have produced a detailed resources pack for churches to take action to raise awareness of the crime of human trafficking. Focusing initially on 19th October, Freedom Sunday - when churches all over the world are joining together - the resources are also useful anytime: download here.
A major report by Clifford Longley is now published by Theos - Just Money: How Catholic Social Teaching can Redeem Capitalism. It promises to challenge the 'prevailing orthodoxy of neoliberalism' and offer up a model of fundamental change found in the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
- At the recent Church of Scotland-led conference on ethical investment, Dr James Corah, Secretary of the Church Investors Group and Deputy Head of Ethical and Responsible Investment at CCLA, gave a talk on how ‘the church can engage with companies on what is best for the common good' and influence cultural change in business practice.
- Francis Davis has written a thoughtful article suggesting that the churches could be key to a national conversation about our constitutional future, in the wake of the Scottish referendum and impending devolution across the UK.
- Articulating and celebrating the key role of the Christian churches in economic and cultural life, Phillip Blond’s address went down a storm at the Chichester Diocese clergy conference last month. Listen to the recording here.
- If you are London-based, you may be interested in Change London’s series of papers prompting ambitious ideas for the city’s next Mayor – feedback is invited.
- The transforming work of the Church Urban Fund’s Together Network continues. Their Good Neighbours report produced with Theos demonstrates that tackling poverty is more effective when working with rather than working for the poorest and most marginalised. Watch their video:Investing in Communities (4mins) and How Church Urban Fund helps (2mins)
Events coming up
- Good Works is hosting ‘Is Sustainability Good Business?’ Wednesday 15 October, London. An evening event, the fifth in a series of seven talks on the principles of a Blueprint for Better Business. For all those who have an interest in workplace values and ethics.
Tax for the Common Good: a study of tax and morality - a new publication from Christian Aid is launched on 21 October at St Mary le Bow Church, London. Keynote address by Rowan Williams, panel discussion with authors Professor Esther Reed and Canon Angus Ritchie.
- Education, Value, and the Art of Living: 14 November, London. A one-day event to prompt discussion about the meaning and purpose of education. Speakers include Revd Dr Matt Bullimore, Professor Claire Connolly, Marius Carney, Lord Glasman, Professor Francis O’Gorman, Rt Revd Dr Stephen Platten, Professor Andrew S. Thompson.
- 19-25 October is Good Money Week and churches can get involved on a very practical level. They have produced a helpful 'Money doing good' guide, with ethical investment worship resources and suggestions for holding events.
- 'What is Christian Investment?' A symposium as part of Good Money Week: 22 October 8.30-10.30am. Chaired by Dr James Corah, CCLA Deputy Head of Ethical and Responsible Investment & Secretary to the Church Investors Group.
- The Archbishop William Temple 70th Anniversary Conference, ‘Reclaiming the Public Space’ hosted by the William Temple Foundation, is on Monday 10 November at the People’s History Museum, Manchester. Speakers include Lord Raymond Plant, Chris Mould, Prof Linda Woodhead, Prof Craig Calhoun and others.
- The influential Blueprint for Better Business Conference, ‘Putting purpose into practice’ takes place on 30 October, London. Speakers include Sir Mike Rake, president of the CBI, John Kay, Economist, Clare Chapman, BT and Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever.
- Locality's annual convention takes place on 17-18 November, Cardiff Town Hall. A large scale gathering of community enterprises, community-led organisations, neighbourhood planners, community organisers and groups working to make neighbourhoods a better place to be.
- ‘The New Localism: What Does It Offer The South?’ 20 November, Winchester. A major conference to debate future challenges of the South of England and help shape manifestos nationally, incorporating the launch of the Southern Policy Centre. With Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Lord Andrew Adonis and others.
- 'Educating for mission within the world of work' is taking place on 13 November in Birmingham. A consultation sponsored by the Saltley Trust and The Kingdom at Work project to explore the faith and work movement among the different Christian denominations across the UK - and a bit beyond.
We hope you find this newsletter and the Resources on our website helpful. We are always open to suggestions so don't hesitate to get in touch - after all, we're working Together for the Common Good.
Every good wish,
Together for the Common Good