Easter Newsletter 2021
Surely the Lord is in this place – and I did not know it Genesis 28:16
Welcome to our newsletter for the Easter season. A time when our hearts are full of hope for new life, a hope that this year is mixed with grief.
Over the last few months we shared two ‘thought pieces’ with you, exploring themes that we feel are central to the challenges of this new time and which speak to how churches could respond. The first was The Plague and the Parish: An Invitation to the Churches, and the second, Renewing the Covenant: Churches and the Building of Local Relationships. Now, we want to share with you a third piece: The Politics of Grace and Place. We began sharing this a month ago in a low key way and it received a significant response. Now we want to bring it to a wider audience.
All three letters centre on the recognition that we are entering a new era, and focus on how we can make a transformational difference within our own particular context. We have especially highlighted the importance of the places we serve, the difference between ‘contract’ and ‘covenant’ and the revitalising of the Christian witness through practical expressions of God’s love. The fallout of the COVID 19 pandemic has accentuated the significance of these themes as we face the great task of civic renewal.
In our third letter, we want to share our sense that there is a political dimension to the local church’s vocation. Not in a party political or campaigning sense, but rather in its call to transform civil society. Though we aim to be servants, churches are more than service providers and – though we strive to be faithful witnesses – we are called to be more than evangelists. Our belief is that God is leading us to deepen the relationship of the church with people and with place. Our suggestions are not intended to be prescriptive or comprehensive, but aim instead to inspire actions arising from a gospel of grace, based on one who did not offer a manifesto for change, but was himself the Kingdom made manifest.
We offer The Politics of Grace and Place in fellowship and solidarity. We invite you to read the letter and reflect on what strikes you. Please feel free to use it within your own networks in whatever way you feel is helpful. It is our hope that what we share will deepen the church’s reflection and discipleship.
Also in this edition, we are delighted to bring you two practical reflections on the changes facing the church in this new era. Alison Milbank writes a deeply thoughtful essay on the twin challenges of church decline and the housing crisis, and as William Taylor looks decline squarely in the face he unveils the vocation of the church. Also below you will find our latest recommended books and selection of links to articles.
Wishing you a blessed Holy Week and Easter season
Together for the Common Good