BLOGS

Meet our new team member – building for the common good in east London

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

0e4cfc7The newest member of the our team is Sotez Chowdhury, who has just been appointed Co-ordinator of Near Neighbours (Eastern London). In this next phase of Near Neighbours in our area, there will be a particular focus on “micro-organising” – that is, building sustainable long-term local alliances. Sotez is well qualified for this work. He’s an experienced community organiser and has worked with churches, mosques and other faith institutions as well as teaching at Queen Mary University. Here he tells us about his experiences and his hopes for his new role at CTC…

“I’ve spent the last six year working for Citizens UK – aiming to unify communities by building relationships with people from all walks of life, training community leaders and building civil society alliances to campaign for the common good. Times are tough here in east London and elsewhere – there are plenty of challenges that face us. However, I have been inspired by the potential of individuals and groups to make an impact – and that’s where Near Neighbours comes in, allowing people to fulfil their potential, innovate and make change.

Join the Church to rehumanise the world!

The Centre for Theology & Community l

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Our Director, Angus Ritchie, preached at St Paul’s Cathedral this morning on the calling of the Church to help us “learn together how to be more fully human, and how to make a more human world.” Here is the full text of his sermon…

Ascension Day, which we celebrated last Thursday, is one of the great feasts of the Christian year. But it isn’t the easiest festival to understand. When we think about the other great feasts, it’s fairly obvious what they teach us.

Credit Union Month: London churches unite for fairer finance

Community Organising, Events, Just Money, The Centre for Theology & Community l and tagged l

Tom Newbold photo cropWhat are credit unions? How can churches support them? Why are they important for churches? Tom Newbold explains all…

The Church Credit Champions Network, which we have been running here at CTC since 2014, has been helping churches answer these questions through a mixture of theological reflection, practical resources, and expert training events. The Network was set-up in response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s famous ‘War on Wonga’ comments, and has so far engaged with over 200 churches in London alone, helping sign-up 2,000 new credit union members in the process!

Exodus: From the power of markets to a culture of neighbourliness

Community Organising, The Centre for Theology & Community l

 

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In this blog, our Development Director, Tim Thorlby reflects on how deep some changes need to be if we are to build momentum towards the common good…

I was asked a lot of questions this week about the Living Wage – the independently calculated wage which people can actually afford to live on (currently £9.40 per hour in London). Why should an employer pay it? How will they afford it? Won’t higher wages mean that more businesses want to move abroad?

These are not bad questions. Debating these kinds of changes is important. But I really wanted to ask a different question.

Well, why not pay a Living Wage?

Community Organising: How to make Corporate Social Responsibility work…

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profile-DavidOur Faith in Public Life Officer David Barclay addressed a conference on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Ridley Hall, Cambridge this week. In this blog, adapted from his remarks, he examines community organising, CSR and the common good…

Over the last few years, I’ve used community organising methodology to influence behaviour in businesses in the financial sector from the outside. What I want to do today is explore what it might look like to reshape a business by using community organising from the inside.

The first element of the community organising is the most important – listening. We always start by listening for two reasons – to identity issues and to find potential leaders who are willing to take action. What’s really going on is a bit deeper – it is the exploration of what we call ‘self-interest’. We define self-interest as ‘that which motivates action’. Self-interest is not the same as selfishness, but neither is it selflessness. It is a complex mixture of beliefs, values, traditions and material concerns.

Resurrection! The Bishop of London on east London church planting

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

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 12.43.43The Bishop of London, The Rt Revd Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dr Richard Chartres, writes an introduction to our new report, released today: Love, Sweat and Tears: Church planting in east London

It is fitting that this report should be released at Easter, for it tells a story of renewal and resurrection. This careful study dispels some common myths about church planting and offers grounds for thankfulness and hope.

The narrative we are so often told by the media (and by some within the Church) is that our congregations are in terminal decline. Church planting is one of the ways in which across the diocese we’re telling a different story – that churches can have a new lease of life and flourish at the heart of London’s diverse communities. The following pages tell the story of how that has happened in a few square miles of east London.

Holy Week: The Cross revealing God to us

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

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Our Chaplain, Sr Josephine Canny OA, offers a short reflection for Holy Week…

The wisdom of God is found in the cross.

Jesus heads towards Jerusalem – He is walking ahead of the Disciples.

They follow in a daze.

The crowd is bewildered.

He is heading for death – everyone knows that…

Wisdom lies in going towards our suffering – not running away from it.

Community Organising – strengthening the local church!

Community Organising l and tagged , , l

Revd Vanessa Conant_preparing before the Licensing Service on 13_07_2015.jpg-pwrt3The Revd Vanessa Conant is Team Rector of Walthamstow. She has been one of the participants on our congregational development programme with Citizens UK this year. Here she blogs for us about how we’re helping her engage with her local community.

What have I learnt through the process? 

Coming new to a parish and beginning the course almost immediately meant that straight away, I had a framework through which to view the parish and make sense of it. The ‘seven marks of an organised congregation’ were a helpful foundation from which to build and to approach the task of giving direction and focus. I used those marks as the foundation for our vision and strategy in 2016 and so our activity is being shaped by the programme.

Unlikely bedfellows unite to keep Sunday special

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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.

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