BLOGS

Young Citizens need to be young leaders

The Centre for Theology & Community l

Richard Springer – Director of CTC’s Urban Leadership School, and Assistant Priest at St George-in-the-East in Shadwell – blogs about an exciting pilot project the School is launching in east London.

Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) citizens in England have historically been marginalised in a variety of ways – in local communities and in society more generally. Unfortunately, the established church has been no exception. Post-war arrivals to these shores, in the Windrush generation, met with a cold reception in many congregations. The proportion of BAME people being ordained in the Church of England remain appallingly low – and direct recruitment programmes are being put together to do something about this.

The truth about the ‘good work’ revolution: it’s down to you

The Centre for Theology & Community l

Tim Thorlby is CTC’s Development Director. He leads our work on missional enterprise and is also a Director of Clean for Good. Here he gives an update on our work with Clean for Good.

Since 2014, CTC has been working in partnership with a team of churches and Christian charities to develop, secure investment for and launch a brand new, ethical cleaning company for London – Clean for Good. CTC is a founder investor.

The soul needs change as the body needs water

The Centre for Theology & Community l

Last month, Alexander Rougeau took part in our Urban Leadership School, on a summer placement in the Catholic Parish of Manor Park. In this blog, he reflects on his experience – and the thirst God has placed in our hearts for justice.

It is not difficult to see that the world is unfair. When there is injustice, the soul needs change just as the body needs water. Like someone dehydrated, without fairness the soul becomes desperate, restless, and irritable. There is always injustice, so we are always thirsty.

Stories: The heart of organising

The Centre for Theology & Community l

Dave Morris took part in this summer’s Urban Leadership School, interning at Ilford Salvation Army. In this blog, he reflects on the central role of sharing and listening to stories in the practice of community organising.

Something that has brought together all of the interns on the Summer Internship is story-telling. In the remembering and the telling we have all learned so much about ourselves and each other.  Sometimes we are in stitches laughing; other times they’re followed by a weighty silence. But every single story has given me insight into who that person is.

Seeing, Listening, Belonging

The Centre for Theology & Community l

In the first of a series of blogs by summer interns on our Urban Leadership School, Florence Gildea reflects on her experience of community organising at St George-in-the-East.

Since beginning the internship, I have been reflecting on what it means to see, and to be seen, to listen, and feel listened to, and to belong, in public life. Those are often experiences associated with the private sphere, but I cannot help but wonder if political disengagement and populism would be roads less travelled if people felt their voices were respected by politicians and that their stories carried the seeds of hope and transformation.  Moreover, through the lens of my Christian faith, I see community organising as offering a way of using power in a way that, like Jesus’ ministry, puts listening, recognition, and empowerment centre-stage.

Money Talks – why churches need to break the taboo on debt

Community Organising, Just Money, Research, The Centre for Theology & Community l

CTC Fellow David Barclay – who co-ordinated our work on responsible finance – blogs on our new report with Durham University on churches, money and debt.

“Any time we talk about money it’s, you know, ‘you should be giving’, and that’s it. Not how should you be living your life, what should you be valuing, where do you put your treasure.”

Good Samaritans in Shadwell

Community Organising l

Angus Ritchie – Director of CTC and Priest in Charge of St George-in-the-East in Shadwell – blogs on a week of events which have cast a new light on the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

What is the message of the Parable of the Good Samaritan? When a religious leader asks Jesus: “who is my neighbour?” this story is his answer. And, as so often, his answer is deeply provocative.

Beacons of light in the darkness

The Centre for Theology & Community l

Claire Moll is a member of the Community of St George – helping to renew the life of the parish church through prayer, reflection and organising – and bringing diverse neighbours together to build relationships and act for justice. In this blog, she reflects on the recent terrorist attacks, and the reactions in her neighbourhood.

As Christians, we are called to be Christ’s light in the world. However, after a series of tragic attacks on our larger British community, if feels harder to keep that light burning.

Realities are greater than ideas: Organising & Catholicism in Manor Park

Community Organising, Urban Leadership School l

Dunstan Rodrigues – one of this year’s Buxton interns – practises church based community organising in the Catholic Parish of St Stephen’s, Manor Park. Here he reflects on what he has learnt while working for affordable housing and developing young leaders.

At the beginning of the year, the CTC team reflected on Luke 6:6-11, a passage which has been both challenging and helpful for me in shedding light on the art of community organising.

Bearing witness at a time of turmoil

Community Organising, Events l

The General Election campaign is dominating the news – but many people feel deeply alienated from today’s political discourse. CTC has produced two resources for communities wanting to reflect on the state of politics, and an appropriate Christian response.

Firstly, our Director Angus Ritchie has written for ABC Religion & Ethics, arguing against “[a] conception of how the Church should engage in politics [on which] our main priority should be to get individual Christians into positions of influence, and then to encourage the wider Body to pray for them.” He argues instead that the heart of the Church’s political witness is to be found in the poorest communities:

For Christians, there can be no “we” whose job it is to be nicer to “the poor.” The Church should simply not have a “heart for the poor” or “learn from the most vulnerable.” According to Jesus and St. Paul, the poorest and most vulnerable are the heart of “the Church.”

He argues that Britain’s poorest communities show how the wider Church should respond to our current troubles:

They do not behave as if politics is something which is done somewhere else – something to which they must simply offer a Christian “response.” In consequence, they do not understand their role as being one of simply voting and praying for others. The poorest communities in East London are taking action themselves: organising with their neighbours to ensure new housing developments have affordable homes in them; confronting unjust landlords; campaigning for a Living Wage.

You can read the full essay here.

Alongside this written resource, CTC is hosting a masterclass in community organising by Ernie Cortes –  one of America’s most senior and experienced organisers, and a committed Christian. The event – entitled “Building Power at a Time of Political Turmoil” will run from 5 to 6.30pm on Friday 26th May. You can book a place by emailing hello@theology-centre.org

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