Citizens UK and the CofE on “Contributing as the National Church to the Common Good”. The event was held in St. Nic’s Church in
central Nottingham (UK), starting at 10.30am and ending at 3.30pm.
for power, social justice and the common good. Citizens UK has diverse civil society alliances in London, Milton Keynes, Nottingham,
Birmingham, Wales, Manchester, Tyne & Wear and
What follows is a more detailed account of the day and the things that struck me from it.
out the link between the CofE’s quinquennial goals and the three symposium (one already held, this one on Common Good, and the next one planned on Reimagining
Bishop of Southwell &
Nottingham – commented that spiritually healthy
churches grow – and a sign of such spiritual health is engagement with their
Matthew Bolton of Citizens UK reminded us of their tag line “Building powerful
communities that work together for the common good”.
prophetic voice be in our communities as we seek their prosperity.
Organising as a model
for acting together for the common good
community organising was all about
“seeking the peace and prosperity of the city” as the Jeremiah passage
directed. He had 4 main points about
face sessions – listen to their grief and their hope.
seeking out diversity – this strengthens the ability to change things.
power – who can say Yes or No.
action to encourage changes, learn from those actions.
wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself”
action at parish level
improve crossing safety on a part of the A38 road near a school (a young mum from
their church was killed on the road).
a listening assembly they heard stories from pupils speaking of their fear of
the crossing – and of numerous near misses.
the authorities to take action before, (not after), more people were critically injured or killed.
deteriorating street scene with banks and other amenities moving out and bookies, cash convertors and gambling machine shops moving in.
Because of that later on they convinced the shopkeepers to display posters showing how to get to a nearby Credit Union.
rubbish from the Redways to share with councillors and got a local politician
to meet a load of pupils and commit to some action.
How are you using community organising locally
and what are you learning?
What are the barriers and how do you overcome
What else could you imagine doing?
discussions some of the conversations were shared. The ideas I picked up were:
Breakfast to bring together influencers and CEOs in a city. The conversations on issues faced were confidential – with organisation
representatives identifying whether they might help one another and take the conversation on how to outside the breakfast.
on the power of 1 to 1 conversations – and her resolution to purposefully
organise 2 or 3 one on one conversations a week.
leaders (obvious and not so in the community) and find out what they want to do – what they hope
alliances & taking action at city level
vicars from different traditions working together to launch an assembly and the
power of stories to bring to life “dry” subjects.
deepen relationships between different congregations in the same church.
account and their work on the Living Wage and BAME representation within the
White – the Vicar of Baghdad
take care – take more risks”
baptised together – but then vanishing off the scene.
inadequate housing came a Housing manifesto.
Something the London Mayor candidates were asked to respond to in a 6000
people indoor event. The 6000 attending linked to some 250,000 in their
organisations and networks. Eventually
this led to the idea of a Living Rent making it into London planning
housing gave them mission capital with their community.
comprised of those mentioned previously
committee considered Brexit as an issue?
Q: How do you choose
the critical conversations to have?
in a community.
leaders/politicians who have a concern. People’s perceptions of us are harder to
alter. From memory Andy shared some advice on dealing with those with views counter to your own – remember Translation &
Respect – nobody has a
monopoly on insight.
Anglican church taking action at a national level – stories of the Living Wage
Not as a campaign with wage as its focus. It started with a listening
campaign in East London on family life and parents who felt they weren’t good
parents/didn’t spend enough time with their kids.
people who were working 2 to 3 jobs to support their families – and the real
shame the parents felt because they spent so little time with their
of a Living Wage emerged – with engagement with local hospitals and banks and
university to pay their cleaners and other lowest paid workers a living wage.
working at Heathrow. One was courageous enough to agree to come to a meeting with the Heathrow CEO.
possible themes for national action …
the actions she had ID’d from the day for herself …
1) What does this mean for your ministry and
leadership in your parish and area?
2) What can we imagine that the Anglican church, as
the national church, could be doing for justice and the common good? What can we do about it?
discussed today and similarities in listening to the community in ID’g
opportunities for Fresh Expressions
– Value of 1 on 1s and telling the stories we hear
– Use some of the techniques in a prayer lunch
– Might there be a Synod debate on what sort of society we hope
– Should CofE be episcopally led and
synodically relationally governed?
My thanks to all who organised the event. I found it useful, interesting and inspiring.
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