BLOGS

God the builder: a counter-cultural hope in the midst of the housing crisis

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

Sarah HuttLast week, CTC published a new resource to help churches get to grips with the often intimidating issue of housing. Here, our Housing Coordinator, Sarah, reminds us that small beginnings might also be cause for great rejoicing…

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” Zechariah 4.10

‘Participate, don’t just commentate’: a slogan comes to life at the ‘Show Up Weekend’

The Centre for Theology & Community l

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The 6th-8th of November saw the first ever ‘Show Up Weekend,’ hosted by Christians in Politics for over a hundred delegates – involved in or exploring a role in politics – from across the UK. Selina Stone attended the cross-party initiative on behalf of CTC, and explains what made it such a momentous event…

“Christians in Politics (CiP) seeks to equip Christians to engage positively in party politics and government by presenting the biblical basis for participation, as well as practical resources and networking opportunities. They are committed to building relationships across party lines, practising servant-leadership and recognising the importance of the Church. It sounded good to me!

Seeing Change: Get churches talking about money this Lent

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Tom Newbold photo cropCTC has been at the forefront of the Church’s fight for economic justice. The Church Credit Champions Network is part of CTC’s effort to engage churches will the difficult issues of money and debt. Tom Newbold is the CCCN coordinator for the Diocese of London. Here he talks about our Seeing Change course, an exciting resource to get churches talking about money. Why not use it this coming Lent?

“We’ve not yet reached Christmas, but with only three months to go, have you thought about your Lent course? The Seeing Change course has been developed to resource and equip churches to get thinking and talking about some difficult, but significant biblical topics: lending, credit, and debt. 

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

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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…

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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

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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.

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