BLOGS

Unlikely bedfellows unite to keep Sunday special

Community Organising l and tagged , l

David Lawrence

David Lawrence is one of our Buxton interns. Here, he blogs for us about his first hand experience of unity across diversity in the battle to Keep Sunday Special…

I wasn’t alive when Margaret Thatcher was defeated in the House of Commons for the first and only time in 1986 – on the issue of Sunday trading. Yet I’ve heard stories of about how the Church, some Conservative MPs and trade unionists united in a desperate stand, clinching victory at the last minute over a strong government to keep Sundays special – at least for another decade. Perhaps those stories are slightly exaggerated. Sometimes, though, surprising alliances are formed as groups unite in pursuit of a shared cause, even when that cause – Sundays – is dismissed as irrelevant and old fashioned by those in charge. And just sometimes, those unlikely bedfellows win and we are reminded of the power of democracy.

Green shoots of growth springing in an east London parish…

The Centre for Theology & Community, Urban Leadership School l and tagged , , l

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Our Director, Angus Ritchie, blogs about our exciting partnership with a historic east London parish – and what it means for the future…

Last May, CTC embarked on a pioneering partnership with St George-in-the-East – the church in whose crypt we are now based.

The parish was between priests and, owing to its declining congregation, the Bishop of Stepney decided to review its pattern and provision of ministry. St George’s shared some of our passions – being a place of prayer; working with and for its neighbours, and growing numerically – but the challenge of maintenance (of a Grade I listed building with a Sunday congregation sometimes under twenty) made it hard to engage in much mission.

A manifesto we can believe in: Jesus (and Nehemiah)

Community Organising, The Centre for Theology & Community l and tagged , , l

profile-David

David Barclay blogs about the kind of change we can believe in…

We’ve become pretty immune to manifestos these days. I wonder how many people read any of the Parties’ manifestos before the General Election last year, let alone how many can remember what they said. Ed Miliband even carved half of his manifesto into a giant stone and people still didn’t take it seriously!

However if we’ve become jaded, we’d do well not to laugh off Jesus’ manifesto – in Luke 4. Fresh from his baptism and his time in the desert, having had 30 years to consider what his ministry might look like, Jesus chooses to kick it all off by making Isaiah’s words his own – “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”

Why, for Lent, I’m taking up cleaning…

The Centre for Theology & Community l and tagged , , l

profile-Tim-TOur Development Director Tim Thorlby blogs about the progress being made with our ethical cleaning company, Clean For Good…

If I say the word ‘cleaning’ to you, I wonder what your first reaction is?

For many, it’s a hassle, perhaps something we’d rather not be doing with our time. A growing number of people ‘contract out’ their cleaning at home now for this very reason – it’s something we’re often happy for someone else to do.

And yet we all clean.

When I get up in the morning, one of the first things I do is to have a shower. I clean my teeth. I put on clothes I’ve washed earlier in the week. Cleanliness is an important and essential part of our lives. More than that, it is something which actually brings satisfaction to us – the minty fresh breath after cleaning my teeth, the well-scrubbed face staring back at me in the mirror.

Into the desert… How Jesus’ example can transform us this Lent

Prayer, The Centre for Theology & Community l and tagged , , l

IMG_6892Our Chaplain, Sr Josephine Canny OA, helps to guide us into Lent with a brief reflection on Jesus’ time in the desert…

“Jesus left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit through the wilderness, being tempted there by the devil.” (Luke 4:1)

We sometimes speak about “going into the desert” as if it were some sort of “time out” or form of escapism in order to enjoy our spiritual life in a different way… and hopefully it becomes just that. But we need to remember that the desert is where Jesus encountered the “devil!”

Teaching (and learning from) social justice in Hong Kong

Community Organising, The Centre for Theology & Community l

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 11.09.48Our Director, Angus Ritchie, blogs on our efforts to teach (and learn from) other parts of the world…

London is one of the most diverse cities on earth, in terms of ethnicity and of religion. That’s one reason community organising is such a valuable practice – as David Barclay has argued, if we are going to build relationships across deep difference, we need to first build “political friendships” on issues of common concern.

Community Organising in so many different cultures and communities creates some exciting international opportunities. When people from various diaspora communities encounter the practice, a question often asked is: “what might this have to offer in our home country?”

CTC Summer Internships: time to apply!

Community Organising l and tagged , , l

profile-Tim-CThe Director of the Urban Leadership School here at CTC, Revd Tim Clapton, blogs about out upcoming summer internship…

The year is well underway, and although it is cold outside, our minds are turning to the summer. Already it is mid January so our Urban Leadership School is firmly focused on planning this year’s Summer Internship. Details of the programme are now available and once again we are making contact with our wider networks, clergy in East London and beyond and university theology departments. Applications are already coming in, so once again, we are in for an exciting summer.

Why would God become homeless?

The Centre for Theology & Community, Uncategorized l and tagged , l

Sarah HuttSarah Hutt, who is leading our work on housing, blogs on the astonishing reality of the incarnation – a God who is homeless…

In the glittery celebration of Christmas, we observe that Jesus breathed his first air in a grotty, forgotten stable but in reality it doesn’t often resonate with the mood of Christmas. Our cultural traditions urge us to do the opposite – we celebrate his birth with our families and communities in homes.

As Christmas moves onto Epiphany and exposes us to January (what a slog of a month!) perhaps now is the best time to take a second look at the stable and consider just how profound this act of God is.

Epiphany: Three vital lessons the Church can learn

The Centre for Theology & Community l
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Our Director, Angus Ritchie, blogs on three simple ways the Epiphany can shape our ministry in 2016…

As many people return to work after a Christmas break, the Feast of the Epiphany – “the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles” – is a timely reminder that, for Christians, 25 December was the beginning of something, rather than just the end of a period of waiting for our presents.

There are three features of the Epiphany which are of particular relevance to the Church today, as we begin another year of ministry and mission…

To preach or not to preach? The Carol service dilemma…

The Centre for Theology & Community l and tagged , , , l

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 11.09.48Our Director Angus Ritchie blogs on a topical debate…

Should clergy preach sermons at Carol Services?

I’ve just been reading the two sides of the argument – presented by the Bishop of Manchester and Ian Paul.

At Sunday’s Carol Service, my own church took a very Anglican middle way. We had some short interviews interspersed among the readings and carols. This innovation grew out of CTC’s own storytelling project – and Caitlin Burbridge’s excellent guide to how churches can use stories, which we published earlier in the year.

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