Miriam Brittenden directs our Buxton Leadership Programme, In this blog she introduces our 2021-22 participants…
Autumn is often a time of new beginnings, and this Autumn brings a new cohort of Buxton Leadership Programme Associates. We were delighted last month to welcome Daniel Payne, Jonathan Akindutire and Emily Burlington-Horton to the Centre for Theology and Community, as they discern together what a Christian vocation in public life looks like.
Applications for the 2021-22 Buxton Leadership Programme are open until 26 April. One of this year’s participants, Josh Price, blogs on his experience of the programme.
For me, there were three immediate attractions to the Buxton Leadership Programme. First, I was tired of hearing hands-tied, party political-answers to straight forward questions on breakfast politics programmes. I wanted to discover if honesty and integrity could prevail in Westminster. Second, I loved the idea of stepping out from Church, building relationships with neighbours, and seeing practical change first-hand. And third, I didn’t know what to do long-term and was drawn towards an opportunity to really explore what God might be calling me into.
Pope Francis’s new book Let Us Dream will be the basis for an international conference on April 15th 2021. Grassroots leaders, community organisers and academics will gather to take forward the Pope’s remarkable call for the Church to embrace “a politics rooted in the people,” with a focus on broad-based organising and “popular movements”.
The conference will be convened by CTC in partnership with Catholic institutions in the United States, European Union and United Kingdom. It will form part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the domestic anti-poverty program of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which empowers low-income people to participate in decisions that affect their lives, families and communities and nurtures solidarity between people living in poverty and their neighbours.
Austen Ivereigh, who helped Francis compile the book, has said that Let Us Dream contains the clearest endorsement ever by a Pope of broad-based community organising, and the “inclusive populism” it embodies. Dr Ivereigh will give a keynote address at the conference, after which there will be presentations involving grassroots leaders, community organisers and Catholic academics.
The aim of the conference is to help the Church respond at all levels to Pope Francis’ call for engagement with popular movements, and to ensure that such engagement flows from the heart of the Church’s life and prayer.
Alongside CTC and CCHD, conference partners include Caritas Social Action Network (an agency of the Catholic Bishops Conference for England and Wales), Boston College Law School, the Centre for Catholic Social Thought and Practice, the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University in Chicago, the Katholische Hochschule für Sozialwesen in Berlin and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (Anglo-Irish Province).
The conference will run from 1600 to 2000 UK time (0800 to 1200 Pacific Time, 1700 to 2100 Central European Time) on 15th April 2021. It will be possible to watch and to participate via webchat without any need to register. The conference programme will be available from 26th March on a dedicated conference website – www.letusdreamconference.org
CTC is recruiting for two part-time lay (that is, not ordained) Mission Chaplains to work with us and our partner churches – St George-in-the-East in Shadwell and the Lombard Parish in the City of London – to build relationships with local workers. We want to particularly concentrate on building relationships with cleaners and hospitality workers, but also security guards, construction workers, and others in low-wage or insecure jobs.
We want to get to know those who work in our neighbourhoods better and understand their needs, and we want to work towards planting new worshipping communities among them. This might be an early morning Bible study, or a bilingual Mass, for example.
Chaplains will receive a lot of support and training including in the practices of community organising, and will part of the friendly and committed staff team at CTC.
For more details please download and read the advert here
Or contact the project lead, Fr Josh Harris, at josh [AT] stgeorgeintheeast [DOT] org
In our eighth Just Church podcast, Froi Legaspi and Tash Jesson talk to Angus Ritchie about the Fair Energy Campaign which has emerged from community organising at St John’s Hoxton
You can catch up on our first seven podcasts here.
Fr Josh Harris, CTC’s project manager for Organising for Growth and Curate at St George-in-the-East reflects on the pandemic as a time of revelation.
Crises force choices.
When we face adversity – whether as individuals, peoples, institutions or nations – we face choices. Scarcity of money, of opportunity, of time or energy, compels us to decide what to act on, where to add what value we can, who we treasure.
In our seventh Just Church podcast – recorded at the end of October – Vanessa Conant, Sara and Graham Hunter and Angus Ritchie discuss the way community organising can help churches in the “long haul” of continuing pandemic restrictions.
Since 2015, CTC has been engaged in a partnership with St George-in-the-East to renew the parish’s life, and to help it renew others, through community organising rooted in prayer and theological reflection. Last week, in a lecture at Ridley Hall in Cambridge, Fr Richard Springer (Rector of St George-in-the-East, and Director of CTC’s Urban Leadership School) and the Revd Alanna Harris (Curate at St George-in-the-East) reflected on the relationship between spirituality and action in the parish’s life.
This week, members of churches and mosques in Shadwell were involved in a unique co-design event. It was the latest stage in an exciting journey of community organising for affordable homes in the area.
Angus Ritchie explains more about the work in a new report by UK Onward and Create Streets on Creating Communities: Places beyond the Pandemic. The full report – which includes a keynote address by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP – is online here. Below, we reproduce Angus’ essay – with a short video telling the story of the co-design process so far…
In our sixth Just Church podcast Paul Amuzie, Sara and Graham Hunter and Angus Ritchie discuss how organising helps churches to develop grassroots leaders and to deepen discipleship – and Angus hears from Erin Clark about how her church is beginning a listening campaign with those involved in a new Foodbank.