Our united resources are called for to minister to the needs of a broken and divided world: to bring hope.
Together for the Common Good started with an idea in 2011. We were inspired by an unlikely partnership between church leaders in Liverpool a generation ago.
That partnership involved gifts from different traditions, in particular: the "outward-facing church" and the framework known as Catholic social thought.
We explored what churches were doing, what was effective and what wasn't. We saw how different traditions working together made a difference. We saw how those churches which were relational were able to weather the storm of rapid cultural and social change. This is how our journey started.
As more people and organisations got involved, T4CG evolved and we derived Common Good Thinking, a simple framework of principles derived from Catholic social thought. We held public conversations and developed training materials. We became a charity in 2017.
Over two decades, Liverpool's Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops David Sheppard and Derek Worlock forged a celebrated partnership, emerging as trusted community leaders. Along with Free Church leaders, they played a key role in bridging the city's divides and strengthening social trust. The two bishops were held in deep affection by the people they served.
In a time of division and political instability, they set aside their differences and worked together for the good of the city. Alongside communities, they contributed to the renewal of civic pride. While our own times demand new approaches, we find in their story of unity an inspiration, now not just for church leaders but for everyone. T4CG was founded by Jenny Sinclair, Bishop Sheppard's daughter.
Once blighted by serious sectarianism, from the 1970s Liverpool became a model of ecumenical collaboration. The city was proud of its church leaders as they trailblazed a partnership of shared purpose for the good of the city. Free Church leaders from the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, the Baptist Union and the Salvation Army worked alongside their Anglican and Catholic partners to strengthen community and bridge divides.
UNITY FOR THE CITY
As spokeman for the Merseyside Free Churches from 1987, the Methodist Dr John Newton depicted the vision of the Merseyside churches with beautiful clarity: “My hope and prayer is that, as Christians draw closer together, so they will work more effectively as one in their mission and service to God’s children. Our united resources are called for to minister to the needs of a broken and divided world: to bring hope to the poor, the homeless, the unemployed, those who have lost faith or never had it." The churches working together in service of the community was Newton’s dream.