More than fifty people from at least six different Christian denominations gathered at St Patrick’s, Hove on 12 and 14 October for two days of training in Common Good Thinking. These pilots of Together for the Common Good’s new programmes for training clergy and lay people as Common Good Advocates were run in partnership with the Anglican Diocese of Chichester and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arundel & Brighton, and were hosted by the Chemin Neuf Community in Brighton & Hove.
The pilot days were a real success, with a mixture of worship, group activities, individual tasks, discussions, and led reflections. Importantly, they were not a series of lectures simply telling people what the Common Good is. Rather, their interactivity required people to engage for themselves and ask what the Common Good looks like.
The training days also allowed for disagreement. Some had differing views; others were unsure about some concepts. However, this was integral to the learning process. One theme that came up frequently was that a thousand conversations are better than a few. This very much captures the Common Good approach. By each bringing our own experiences to the table and our own views, even if these were at odds at times, a real conversation was had, and thus real lessons were learned. This in itself is a good example of how the Common Good can be built – by dialogue and exchange, based upon a shared goal.
Some of the practical lessons taught were about how to identify who in society is hidden or ignored. There are those that we know about, there are those who others know about, but others slip through the net and are left isolated. Pursuing the Common Good requires us to reflect on who the marginalised are and how on a local level we can unify our efforts to build relationships with those in need. The pilot days helped us to explore these themes, as well as many others.
This was only the start. Together for the Common Good aims to make this training accessible to many others from early Spring 2018. The vision is that this resource will turn a dozen conversations into a thousand conversations. If you would like more details, and to register your interest, please do not hesitate to be in touch.
To register your interest in T4CG’s forthcoming Common Good Advocates training days, email Bryony Wells at firstname.lastname@example.org