We’re excited to release the first in a new series of Just Church podcasts – the fruit of an exciting new collaboration between CTC, the Church of England and Citizens UK. You can listen here or find it wherever you get your podcasts from.
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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Josh Harris is managing a new CTC project, harnessing the potential of community organising for congregational development – and he is also a Curate at St George-in-the-East. Here he poses some questions – and highlights some resources – for churches in the midst of the current crisis.
As Angus Ritchie wrote last week, this crisis is fast-changing and bewildering. In barely a week our churches have gone from suggesting we shouldn’t shake hands in the peace to the first suspension of public worship since 1208 and the closure of all churches in London.
In the fast-changing and bewildering context of a Coronavirus, how can our response be shaped by the example of Jesus? There are four features of his ministry that seem particularly relevant at this moment.
Shermara Fletcher heads the William Seymour Programme at CTC, engaging Pentecostals in community organising. She is also the community organiser in The Open Table at St George-in-the-East. Last night, at a gathering of leaders from a wide range of congregations across London, she reflected on the role of community organising in the struggle to end homelessness.
Good Evening, it is great to be here amongst you. For the next five minutes I’ll sharing with you why community organising is a powerful tool in addressing homelessness.