Together for the Common Good post conference update
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The Together for the Common Good Conference sparks a new movement to link churches, faith-based organisations, different faith traditions and secular allies to build momentum for social justice
Those of you who were there know that the T4CG Conference was a powerful gathering of people expressing a passionate commitment to co-operate for the common good and to realise the Gospel imperative to work together for justice and peace. Delegates and speakers discussed ways to translate the vision of Sheppard and Worlock into a contemporary programme of ecumenical and inter-faith partnerships for the good of all. A full summary will follow next week.
Please note that T4CG is not an organisation, just a small group of individuals with very limited resources but a big idea! If T4CG appeals to you, we encourage you to take from it what inspires you and run with it rather than expecting us to lead the way. We are committed to completing our Research process, which runs until the end of the year, and to publishing at least one book next year. What other outcomes transpire from this process depends on you! Keep in touch with us and each other via the T4CG blog or email us if you would like to discuss an idea. What are you going to do?
- In the meantime please find today’s press release at the bottom of this email, and
- We have gathered the essentials for you to explore at www.togetherforthecommongood.co.uk:
- Video of all conference sessions
- Dr Anna Rowlands’ Keynote address and other speakers’ texts available to download
- T4CG Blog launched this week - join the discussion
- Resources – useful downloads and links on Catholic Social Teaching, Urban Ministry and further reading
- Reports and news coverage
- Opinion pieces - articles by leading figures
- Case Studies - how collaboration is working in many different contexts
- T4CG’s research process – get involved and help to shape the findings
Please follow us on Twitter @T4CG. You may be interested to know that the co-authored titles by Sheppard and Worlock, Better Together and With Hope in Our Hearts have recently been reissued as e-books.
CHURCHES MUST EXTEND DIALOGUE AND ACTION FOR THE COMMON GOOD - PIONEERING CONFERENCE
A NEW MOVEMENT CAN LINK CHURCHES, FAITHS AND SECULAR ALLIES TO BUILD MOMENTUM FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE
Churches must work together to make the common good a priority in policy and practice at all levels of society to deliver justice for “the least, the last and the lost”, a ground-breaking conference of Christian churches inspired by the Sheppard Worlock years has concluded.
A new Common Good movement can be born where churches deepen their links with other faiths and those without faith to tackle hardship, exclusion and injustice, it was suggested at the Together for the Common Good (T4CG)conference, held in Liverpool Hope University from 6th to 8th September. Delegates went away with renewed determination to to work to build a more just society. They included bishops and priests, academics and activists, project workers and policy makers. They all made commitments to advance the common good in their own work.
Amongst their pledges, the 170 delegates agreed to join Bedroom Tax campaigns, set up a local debt centre, host destitute asylum seekers and explore how churches collectively could out trade payday lenders such as Wonga.
The three-day conference heard from those who knew and were inspired by Bishops Sheppard and Worlock as they acted as “honest brokers” for the people of Merseyside during the hardship and strife of the 1980s; as well as church leaders and academics discussing the meaning of the common good for today’s challenges.
Dr Anna Rowlands, in her keynote address, argued that the common good needs to “make the things the market and state make invisible, visible”. She said that, “at root politics and faith are mutual expressions of the question: what life do we wish – or in our case are we called - to live together”.
Recalling the growth of Liverpool from the 1980s, Chief Executive of Liverpool Vision Max Steinberg, said the Bishops brought forward voices that needed to be heard and that boldness is needed. “The antidote to fear is faith. We need a more mature discussion.” He said. “And if the politicians can’t have it, our faith leaders must have it.”
Drawing lessons from the Sheppard Worlock years for today, Dr Eliza Filby, said the role of the church as a “mediating agent with civil society” was essential and that churches need to learn to communicate across a changed media landscape if their message is to be heard.
Reverend Ruth Gee said our relationship with God “transforms and directs our responses to situations” and that the common good involved “being in a dialogue with a variety of voices, especially those who are often silenced.”
In the same session, Dame Mary Tanner said of the conference; “I knew I’d be challenged. I just did not quite how much.” Challenging churches, she said: “We are in a crisis of possibility. We need a more realistic analysis of what is going on; a conversation together and an analysis together.”
Debating how churches and politics can deliver the common good, Director of the ResPublica think tank, Phillip Blond, said: “The only way poor people can stop being poor is to own and trade. We need to recover a deep sense of moral worth of other people.” Lord Maurice Glasman: “Tradition is a very important force in shaping the new. Sheppard and Worlock resurrected a dead tradition and gave it life…. Like Marvin Gaye said: We need to ask ourselves ‘what’s going on?’ first.”
Over the coming months, the Together for the Common Good steering group including Rt Revd Stephen Platten, Revd Dr Peter McGrail, Jenny Sinclair, Professor Hilary Russell, Tim Livesey and Revd Professor Nicholas Sagovsky will explore several initiatives. The research will continue Until the end of 2013. A book exploring the common good will be published early in 2015. T4CG has launched a blog to allow for further discussion and will work with others who want to continue to explore, collaborate and work towards the common good in their own situations.
The Together for the Common Good web site: www.togetherforthecommongood.co.uk is becoming a resource and discussion forum for practitioners and those interested in working for the common good. Films of the conference sessions, speeches and a new blog to provoke discussion are also available on the web site.
E n d s
Our thanks go to the many individuals and organisations - too many to list here - who have helped to get T4CG to this point. We are extremely grateful to our sponsors Access 4 Trust, Hymns Ancient and Modern, Garfield Weston Foundation, Josephine Butler Trust, Liverpool Hope University, Owen Family Trust, P H Holt Trust, Sisters of Mercy, Church Urban Fund, individual and anonymous donors and The Tablet and Pastoral Review.
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Together for the Common Good is guided by a Steering Group: Tim Livesey, Revd Dr Peter McGrail, Rt Revd Stephen Platten (Chair), Professor Hilary Russell, Revd Professor Nicholas Sagovsky, Jenny Sinclair.
© T4CG 2013. www.togetherforthecommongood.co.uk