Seeing like the Saints: working together towards ‘the world as it should be’

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

Fr_Simon_-_Version_2The Revd Dr Simon Cuff is a CTC Research Associate and Curate at Christ the Saviour, Ealing. This week, he delivered the 2015 Jellicoe Sermon at Magdalen College, Oxford. Delivered on All Saints Day, Fr Simon reflects on how we might see the world as the Saints did; as it is, and how it should be…

“Michelle Obama once told of an outing with Barack Obama early on in their relationship. The romantic Barack had taken her to a meeting of local community leaders he’d worked with after leaving college. The future President stood up, she said: ‘and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about “The world as it is” and “The world as it should be,”‘ a distinction often made by community organisers in America, but also those working in this country through the diverse alliance of faith and civil society institutions known as Citizens UK.

Join in with justice: celebrating Living Wage week in your church

The Centre for Theology & Community l and tagged l

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 11.09.48CTC Director Angus Ritchie was one of the founding leaders in Citizens UK’s Living Wage campaign. Here he reflects on what has been accomplished – and how churches can get involved in Living Wage Week, November 1st-7th…

The roots of the Living Wage campaign are here in east London – where leaders from churches and mosques, schools and trade unions in TELCO (the local chapter of Citizens UK) met to work out how to tackle low pay together. The issue of poverty wages had come out from listening campaigns in their organisations, with many stories of parents having to choose between earning enough money for their families and having enough time for them.

For Christians, economics is in the end a question of stewardshipHow do we use the resources God has given us to enable all his children to grow into “life in all its fulness?” (John 10.10) Fulness of life involves having time for relationships – with God, with our families and with our neighbours. Poverty pay makes this impossible – because workers have to take second and even third jobs.

Building powerful congregations

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

photo(10)After a successful pilot last year, CTC and Citizens UK have partnered to launch a second cohort of the Congregational Development Programme. The year-long process supports churches and leaders seeking to act in public life through broad-based Community Organising. Selina Stone explains what the programme is all about and what the leaders can expect…

Relational power is the foundation of broad-based community organising. Relationships are developed between individuals through one-to-one conversations and also between institutions through joint action for justice. However, in order for these connections to be truly powerful, individuals and institutions must be continually developed. The Congregational Development Programme has been created to help churches to renew the inner life of their congregations through community organising practices, so increasing their capacity to act in public life.

Subversive Orthodoxy: remembering the inspirational Ken Leech…

Community Organising l and tagged l

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Our Director Angus Ritchie writes in tribute of an inspiring figure who taught us a great deal…

At Fr Ken Leech’s requiem (held today), we were invited to reflect on these words of his:

“The Eucharistic life, in which all are treated on absolute equality and in which they share, and become, the Body of Christ, is totally at variance with the way society treats people.

“Protest is a byproduct of vision. If the church recovers its contemplative vision, becomes more rooted in God, it will become a disturbing force for society.”

Love, grace and hope – Archbishop tells trainees they’re a credit to the Church

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

ABC profOn September 29th, Archbishop Justin Welby commissioned 45 new Credit Champions from churches across the UK, at St George-in-the-East. Our Church Credit Champions Network is part of the Archbishop’s initiative on responsible borrowing and saving.

Here is some of what he had to say…

“Here we are for the commissioning of the Credit Champions. It’s humbling to see that because it is a movement of God’s Spirit among us.

To those of you who are shortly going to be commissioned as Church Credit Champions, you have heard God’s call, as the whole church has in recent years, to be a church of the poor for the poor; to seek justice and the common good for all in our society. You have set up credit union access points in your churches, brought new people onto the boards of local credit unions, supported people struggling with debt through signposting them to debt advice resources. You have seen the need, and you have met it with love, grace and hope.

Church Credit Champions Network: a way for fairer financing

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

Tom Newbold photo cropTom Newbold has recently joined CTC as the co-ordinator for the Church Credit Champions Network (CCCN) in the Diocese of London. Here he reflects on the Church’s role in engaging with fundamental issues of money and debt…

When the Archbishop of Canterbury announced his ‘War on Wonga,’ it really excited me. Not only was it a sign that the Church was engaging with important issues, but also had real potential to make effective, positive change. It said to my non-Christian friend that the Church was doing something relevant and meaningful.

I’m passionate about seeing the Church thrive. Meaningful engagement with issues of exploitative lending and finance, to me, is evidence of life in the Church. It is a missional, energised Church that challenges injustice and stands up for those in society for whom the financial system isn’t fair. It’s evidence of a Church that is standing up for the oppressed and being good news to its many local communities.

Housing and Social Justice: building up people, not just bricks

The Centre for Theology & Community l and tagged , l

Sarah HuttSarah Hutt is a new addition to the CTC team, working on an exciting new housing initiative. Here, she reflects on why housing is a fundamental issue in our quest for social justice…

From the moment I began working on housing, I was completely convinced that it was… not that interesting.

I’ll be honest, I was 24. I cared about poverty, injustice and other emotive issues that tug at your heartstrings. Housing brought to mind dull conversations about settling down (why would you when you could travel the world?), men in brown suits talking about construction and a distinct lack of anything to do with people. Still, my previous job had been in pensions. It was a step up.

“Another world is possible” Reflections on the year-long Buxton Internship

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

isaac mug 1Isaac Stanley recently finished the year-long Buxton Leadership Programme. Here he reflects on his time in Parliament, and in a number of Hackney churches, and what it means to work towards a better world…

“Another world is possible.” In this refusal to accept the world as it is, what would it take to get to this other world? What would it look like?

The last year as a Buxton intern, where half my time was spent in Westminster as a Parliamentary assistant and researcher with Frank Field MP, and the other half in Hackney as a church-based community organiser, has given me a rich opportunity to engage with an important tension in how to reach this other, better, world….

How you and your church can help ease the refugee crisis

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


CTC’s Caitlin Burbridge blogs about how churches can play a decisive role in easing the refugee crisis…

This past few weeks we’ve seen an extraordinary change of mood in the British psyche. Church leaders, along with those of other faiths and none, are calling for us to capitalise on this and become a far more hospitable country for those fleeing conflict and persecution.

For the last year, churches in Citizens UK have been working on a campaign to resettle refugees in this country. Citizens UK and the campaign group Avaaz have together been gathering specific and concrete commitments from congregations, individuals, local councils and landlords to house and welcome refugees.

Turbulent times: learning lessons for the future of the Church

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

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 12.07.49CTC’s latest exciting publication, Deep Calls To Deep is about monasticism in east London and what we can learn from Religious Orders today. Dr Damian Howard, a Jesuit priest, academic and friend of CTC blogs for us about this new resource…

There can surely be no doubt that we are living through a time of transition from one historical period to another; it is as turbulent and traumatic as it is challenging. Such epochal shifts have always been marked by a re-imagining of the Christian life as radical discipleship, by a seeking-out of new ways to position oneself as a disciple in relation to the social mainstream, and by the quest for a more thorough integration of the ‘outward’ life of work and community with the ‘interior’ journey into the mystery of God. The sharp decline of the forms of church-going and Christian identity which have served us so well for over a century tells us that we in our turn will need to find something new, to experiment and to take risks, if we are to fashion forms of life which are truly adequate to the emerging context and which will bear lasting evangelical fruit.


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