Building a common life together

Contending Modernities, Research l

profile-AngusLast month, CTC organised a major conference on “Global Migration and the Building of a Common Life.”

Centre Director Angus Ritchie blogs on the two-day event, and on the resources which are coming out for local congregations and for academics.

Our conference on “The New Cosmopolitanism: Global migration and the building of a common life” is the culmination of two years of work for the University of Notre Dame’s Contending Modernities (CM) research project.  

CM is exploring how Christianity, Islam and secular worldviews co-exist – and aims to produce both high-quality academic research and resources for grassroots communities, where these questions are lived out each day. CTC is an obvious partner in this, given our interest in equipping local congregations, and ensuring the experience of, and questions facing, grassroots communities are engaged with in the academy.

Day One of the conference began with a wide range of academic presentations, with three over-arching themes: conceptions of citizenship, the way hospitality is shown to migrants, and how the communities it brings together build a common life. In the months ahead, we hope some of the more academic fruits of the conference will be published – and in the meantime, a series of background papers and congregational resources is already online.

The evening saw the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Most Revd Diarmuid Martin give the keynote lecture to a packed hall of grassroots leaders of different faiths from across the UK – including 40 people on Citizens UK’s Leadership Training. You can listen to the lecture here.

On Day Two, the conference moved from Westminster to a Tower Hamlets caught up in celebrations of Eid Al-Fitr. Local Christian and Muslim practitioners, and academics from many corners of the globe, responded to a presentation by CTC’s Faith in Public Life Officer David Barclay on his CM/Theos report on “Making Multiculturalism Work”.

Two key resources for local Christian and Muslim leaders – Just Church and A New Covenant of Virtue – were also showcased at this event, and this week sees the launch of Taking Back the Streets, a new piece of research on London’s 2011 riots, and the way community organising has helped citizens of all faiths and none to respond.

In the months ahead, two collections of essays for practitioners will be published – each beginning with testimony, turning to theological reflection on the issues it raises and ending with practical case studies of faithful and effective responses. The studies will focus on the issues of exploitative lending and of immigration and asylum – and each will draw on Christian, Islamic and secular writers.

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