BLOGS

Too busy to take action?

Community Organising, Just Church Podcast, Podcasts l

Even if we would love our church to engage in community organising, it may feel like yet one more thing in an already over-full plate! In our fourth Just Church podcast, Vanessa Conant, Graham Hunter and Angus Ritchie discuss how patient, prayerful organising can add to – rather than deplete – a congregation’s capacity. Also, Angus interviews Shermara Fletcher on patient organising work with and for homeless people.

Moving out of lockdown

Community Organising, Just Church Podcast, Podcasts l

Our third Just Church podcast is now online. This week, we speak to Vanessa Conant and Graham Hunter about how their churches are responding to the gradual move out of lockdown – and to Richard Springer about the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic citizens, and the relevance of community organising to addressing these inequalities.

Sharing Christ’s peace in times of isolation

The Centre for Theology & Community l

Frankie Webster co-ordinates CTC’s Olive Wagstaff Course, training lay Christians in community organising. In this blog, she reflects on how we can share the peace of Christ in a time of social distancing.

“I believe that God can and will bring good out of evil, even the greatest evil. For that purpose He needs men and women who make the best use of everything. I believe that God gives us all the strength we need to help us resist in all times of distress. But he never gives it in advance, lest we should rely on ourselves and not on Him alone. A faith such as this should allay all our fears for the future. I believe that even in our mistakes and shortcomings are turned to good account, and that it is no harder for God to deal with them than with our supposedly good deeds. I believe that God is no timeless fate, but that He waits for and answers sincere prayers and responsible actions.”

Attentive listening – the heart of organising

Community Organising, The Centre for Theology & Community l

CTC’s Congregational Development Learning Communities include Roman Catholic, Anglican, Salvation Army, Baptist and Pentecostal churches. Out of their reflection, prayer and action, some themes are emerging that may be relevant to other churches.

Community organising has had to adapt very quickly to the lockdown. Conversations with lay leaders and clergy in our churches indicate its continuing importance – in particular, the importance of

> Rooting action in attentive listening to the very different situations people are in

> Ensuring the inclusion of people who are not online – or who have less access to, and confidence with, the internet

> Reaching beyond the confines of those already in our congregations, to engage with their practical, social and spiritual needs and gifts

> Rooting everything churches do in prayer and in their wider mission

The storm from nowhere…

The Centre for Theology & Community l

Tim Thorlby has been part of the CTC team since 2012 and is currently Managing Director of Clean for Good – a business which emerged from CTC’s community organising in the City of London.

In this personal blog, he reflects on his experiences of the last few weeks and what happens next.

Just a few weeks ago, we were all making our usual plans and getting on with our lives…. and then, suddenly, we are blown sideways. The coronavirus storm arrived at great speed. A wholly unprecedented way of life has suddenly been thrust upon us, and now we find ourselves in lockdown, queuing outside supermarkets and studying bar charts of coronavirus cases every day. The speed and scale of change has been astonishing – a huge storm from nowhere.

“The anxious, colossal void”

The Centre for Theology & Community l

Miriam Brittenden, who co-ordinates our Buxton Leadership Programme, and is a community organiser in Shadwell, reflects for St George-in-the-East and CTC on the meaning of Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday. The in-between. After the brutal, painful Passion of Good Friday, and yet far from the joy of Sunday morning. It is the anxious, colossal void which many of us skip over at Easter.

Reflections on organising in the pandemic

The Centre for Theology & Community l

The CTC team works across a wide range of London churches – from Pentecostal to Roman Catholic, and with church sizes varying from ten or twenty to the thousands. At this week’s staff meeting, we reflected on some of the common themes emerging from our experience of church-based community organising in the midst of the lockdown.

The first theme that has emerged is the way that the pandemic has revealed some previously hidden truths about our common life.

Holy Week and Easter in lockdown

The Centre for Theology & Community l

Centre Director Angus Ritchie reflects on the celebration of Holy Week and Easter in the midst of the Coronavirus lockdown.

The last two weeks have been a bewildering and frenetic time for Christian leaders. The worship, pastoral care and community engagement of local churches is needed more than ever – and the challenges of moving it rapidly to telephone and computer have been immense.

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