BLOGS

Bearing witness at a time of turmoil

Community Organising, Events l

The General Election campaign is dominating the news – but many people feel deeply alienated from today’s political discourse. CTC has produced two resources for communities wanting to reflect on the state of politics, and an appropriate Christian response.

Firstly, our Director Angus Ritchie has written for ABC Religion & Ethics, arguing against “[a] conception of how the Church should engage in politics [on which] our main priority should be to get individual Christians into positions of influence, and then to encourage the wider Body to pray for them.” He argues instead that the heart of the Church’s political witness is to be found in the poorest communities:

For Christians, there can be no “we” whose job it is to be nicer to “the poor.” The Church should simply not have a “heart for the poor” or “learn from the most vulnerable.” According to Jesus and St. Paul, the poorest and most vulnerable are the heart of “the Church.”

He argues that Britain’s poorest communities show how the wider Church should respond to our current troubles:

They do not behave as if politics is something which is done somewhere else – something to which they must simply offer a Christian “response.” In consequence, they do not understand their role as being one of simply voting and praying for others. The poorest communities in East London are taking action themselves: organising with their neighbours to ensure new housing developments have affordable homes in them; confronting unjust landlords; campaigning for a Living Wage.

You can read the full essay here.

Alongside this written resource, CTC is hosting a masterclass in community organising by Ernie Cortes –  one of America’s most senior and experienced organisers, and a committed Christian. The event – entitled “Building Power at a Time of Political Turmoil” will run from 5 to 6.30pm on Friday 26th May. You can book a place by emailing hello@theology-centre.org

Meekness and Majesty

Prayer l

As Christians around the world remember Jesus’ last supper, we are printing a reflection by Selina Stone (who co-ordinates our Buxton Leadership Programme and our work with Pentecostal churches). It was delivered yesterday at the International HQ of the Salvation Army, as one of a series of Holy Week addresses on the “Meekness and Majesty” of Jesus. Selina’s theme was “Lord of Humanity, dwells in Eternity” – and she reflected on John 13.21-32

On reading the words ‘Lord of Eternity, Dwells in Humanity’ we can very easily be persuaded to engage in deep theological reflection. We could spend long moments studying biblical passages in hebrew or koine greek or delving into the writings of many forefathers and foremothers in the faith. Many have tried to understand how Jesus could be both fully God and fully man and few have settled on a clear explanation. Was Jesus mainly a spiritual force, or may just a good teacher, or maybe he switched between his two natures? In simpler terms, we could speculate about if Jesus knew in advance what his mother would make him for breakfast through some sort of divine knowledge, whether he was ever cheeky to his parents, or if he ever made another child cry…

Cleansing the Temple

Community Organising, Prayer, The Centre for Theology & Community l

On Tuesday of Holy Week, our Director Angus Ritchie reflects on a pivotal event which we often overlook…

The Cleansing of the Temple is a pivotal event in all four Gospels. In Matthew, Mark and Luke it occurs in the days between Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) and the Last Supper (Maundy Thursday), whereas in John it is placed very near the beginning of his public ministry.

Dignified work & vocational discernment

Community Organising, Urban Leadership School l

The vocation project, started by a number of interns from this year’s summer internship, continues to grow. Alongside creating spaces for vocational discernment in various institutions, they have also been reflecting on a connected issue: the nature of work.

Having benefitted from it ourselves during this year’s Summer internship, our project emerged from a sense that enjoying a space for vocational discernment is very important. It allows us to reflect on what gives us life, wisely approach important decisions, and use our talents for the common good.

Jellicoe: 5 years on

The Centre for Theology & Community l

In 2012, Austin Tiffany spent four weeks on CTC’s Summer Internship (known then as the “Jellicoe internship”). With applications now open for our 2017 programme, he blogs on the impact of a month in east London…

Five years ago I stepped onto British soil for the first time, having come from Texas for an internship in east London. The project was titled Highway Neighbours, and a team of four of us were tasked to help churches and the local communities in Shadwell and Wapping adjust to the 2012 Olympics, at the time just a few weeks away. Our task was to listen to the needs of the community, using existing structures and leadership of the local churches to distribute information and provide assistance to all living along the Highway.

Happy birthday, TELCO!

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

On March 9th, The East London Citizens Organisation (TELCO) celebrates its twentieth birthday. CTC Director Angus Ritchie writes about the achievements of Britain’s oldest community organising alliance, and our Centre’s deep roots in its work…

In two weeks, we will be going back to the building where it all started. Twenty years after TELCO’s founding assembly in York Hall in Bethnal Green, 1200 local people will gather to celebrate all that has been accomplished and commit to organising together for another two decades.

Engaging well with social media

The Centre for Theology & Community l

CTC is running the London Witness programme for the Diocese of London – equipping lay Christians to engage with the media in ways that are confident and constructive. Each week, a participant will be blogging on their experience. Here Frankie Webster writes about week two – which saw the group looking at the finer details of social media; how to utilise each platform to their best advantage, the art of creating a tone through each, and what it looks like to engage well with social media as a Christian.

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: