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          Autumn 2021  Click to view email in your browser 
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Staying, loving, listening

And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land.
Ezekiel 37.14

Dear Friends

Welcome to the T4CG Newsletter. There is a lot of talk across the churches about mission in a post-Covid society. People are eager to make plans. But our response will only work if we comprehend what has gone wrong. The unravelling we see around us is not primarily caused by the Coronavirus. The pandemic is exposing and speeding up forces which have been corroding our civic life for over forty years. The symptoms we see are the inevitable consequences of a hyper-liberal philosophy, of both the left and the right. This individualism has wreaked catastrophic effects on our institutional and social relationships and our sense of belonging, resulting in extreme inequality, mutual suspicion, loneliness and nihilism.

By contrast, our faith centres around an act of reconciliation between God and humankind. It is fundamentally relational. The vocation of the church at this time - where 'church' is understood as groups of faithful people - is not only to be gathered inside, but also outside, living in loving friendship with others in the neighbourhood.

We must keep our eyes on the Kingdom and on faithful relationship. The common good properly understood is not a programme or campaign and it is not utopian. It is about living a shared life, at once both conservative and radical, an orientation that liberates the human heart. It is a relational insurgency against a corrosive philosophy that is literally killing humankind and wrecking the planet. Despite their vulnerability, churches are uniquely placed to be carriers of this antidote, to be the embodiment of love, as sojourners in a broken world.

We are at the beginning of a very big change. In political terms, the common good proposes a settled pluralism of identities and interests. Our posture therefore must be to bring people together to ensure that everyone is included, no one is left behind. Despite many failures in our changing politics, there is real hope in the Levelling Up agenda. But government cannot, and should not, do it all. The work of the local church, as a dynamic Eucharistic community, is to keep alive and strengthen the human space where people can encounter God's love, participate and talk freely, free from fear of derision, coercion or division.

The local is where change will happen. Our unique civic vocation is to assemble, to develop leaders, to build relationship where God has placed us. Not to be like other institututions, not to be subordinated to secular agendas. Rather than re-educating people, our mission is about loving our neighbour, recognising our common need for meaning and belonging. It calls for an unglamorous leadership concerned less with career, management or administration, rather a Christ-like ministry devoted to loving, listening, and staying. It calls for a leadership able to receive as well as give, whose covenantal promise means accompanying people and staying for the long term.

So in this edition, we are honoured to share the testimony of two exceptional people who bear living witness to this kind of commitment. Sally Mann, a Baptist minister in Newham, argues for the deep value of staying put, while Henry Corbett, an Anglican vicar in Liverpool, is a living example of covenantal, long term commitment, choosing to stay, to love and to serve. And reflecting on our unsettled and contested pluralism, our latest public conversation examined what the common good means for society, featuring David Goodhart, Trevor Phillips and Julia Unwin - don't miss the video below and news of our next event. Finally, as usual, you'll find our latest recommended books and articles.
                              
Every blessing, as always
Together for the Common Good




Staying put: mission is not always about moving

As a born and bred East Ender, Sally Mann fears the suburbs and loves the grit and grace of local, ‘no-facade’ people. Given the pace of change in the inner city, she argues that there is something heroic about engaging with place by staying put. A Baptist minister in Newham where her family come from, she makes a compelling case, drawing on her own deep experience as well as theologians including Brueggemann and Newbigin.

Read the story



Long-term leadership: affirming the value of staying

“You’ll only be here 5 minutes and then you’ll **** off like all the others…”

Henry Corbett
is Vicar of St Peter and St John Chrysostom, Everton, Warden of Shrewsbury House and Chaplain to Everton FC. He has lived and worked in Everton since the 1970s. Packed with practical advice, this is a powerful testimony to the faithfulness of long-term commitment to place and people. A leadership not in terms of career, management or administration, but a Christ-like ministry that is fundamentally covenantal. This is about accompaniment - loving people every step of the way.

Read the essay

The latest conversation in our current series

"No government in the last forty years has seriously focused on our grotesque inequalities. Levelling up is the right thing to focus on. We'll see what the white paper says. But this is what politics should be focused on." David Goodhart
 
"People in metropolitan areas have benefited from globalisation, while those in less cosmopolitan areas have not, and they may have a different idea of what the 'good' life looks like. The common good means we have to negotiate between sincerely held beliefs." Trevor Phillips
 
"The primary point about the common good is belonging - and we do this through our associational life. We have a desperate, human need to belong. It is a fiction that civil society depends on the state. The common good depends on all of us taking responsibility."  Julia Unwin
 
What does the Common Good mean -
for families, for society, and for government?




The full series:

1. VIDEO what does the common good mean?  Jenny Sinclair, Philip Booth and Sam Bruce. Chair: Ruth Kelly [webinar]

2. VIDEO what does the common good mean for families?  Cristina Odone, Edward Hadas and Mercy Muroki. Chair: Ruth Gledhill [webinar]
3. VIDEO what does the common good mean for society?  Trevor Phillips, David Goodhart and Julia Unwin. Chair: Richard Harries [webinar]

4. Forthcoming - 16 November: What does the common good mean for government Danny Kruger MP, Lord Maurice Glasman and Caroline Slocock. Chair: Ruth Kelly [in person, at St Mary's Putney, London - booking opens soon]

The series is organised in partnership between T4CG and Caritas Social Action Network, the Centre for Social Justice, and the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society at St. Mary’s University. It is supported by our longstanding partner, CCLA, one of the UK’s largest ethical fund managers, home of the new Catholic Investment Fund. 



Signs of the times

Our latest selection of articles
 
"levelling up"
Imogen Sinclair why moving up shouldn't have to mean moving away
New Local/New Social Covenant Trusting the People (pamphlet)
Andy Haldane remaking Britain: network of civic institutions as foundational economy
David Goodhart Levelling Up is a departure from the Thatcher/Blair era growth model
Edward Malnick Gove heads Levelling Up dept with Haldane as permanent secretary
Jason Stockwood community institutions are vital to cultivate a sense of belonging

cultural change
Paul Kingsnorth the loss of roots, the "great unsettling" and the crisis of identity
Onward UK new research shows loneliness epidemic & low trust among 18-24 yr olds
Alex Gutentag Covid-era authoritarianism targets vulnerable & threatens democracy
David Brooks how the elite class has generated resentment and political dysfunction
Rabbi Meir Y. Soloveichik the power of the mob in an unforgiving age
Charles Moore a culture of destruction within the west suits authoritarian states

capital vs humanity
Chloe Valdary sorting human beings by whiteness & blackness is commodification
Vivek Ramaswamy wokenomics: don't believe big business has grown a conscience
Wells, Horwitz, Seetharaman Facebook research says Instagram Toxic for Teen Girls
Harry Dempsey, Jyoti Mann, Steff Chavez the commodification of truck driving
James Marriott transhumanism and the pathologising of humanity
Jennifer Bilek how big pharma exploits and monetizes trans identity
Michael Sage Unite challenges Amazon on workplace rights
Theos think tank report Just Work: Humanising the Labour Market
 
politics/economy
Sahil Bloom the global supply chain crisis
William Patrick Geor Louch & Francine Lacqua higher inflation is here to stay
Fraser Nelson the working poor subsidising the rich: the inversion of the welfare state
Alan Finlayson Labour’s preoccupation with ‘values’ is a basic political error
Jonathan Rutherford what Labour and the Tories get wrong about Blue Labour

ideological warfare
Robert Tombs wokeness, ‘inclusive’ future, nihilistic destruction & collapse of freedom
Joanna Williams how woke conquered the world
Chris Rufo Google's employee program claims all Americans are "raised to be racist."
Joel Kotkin and Edward Heyman Critical Race Theory ignores anti-Semitism
Louise Perry culture war squabbling conceals a deeply serious class conflict
Rogers Brubaker leading Black leftists: race reductionism undermines social justice

See also our selection of articles on "a new narrative on race" here


Signs of the times: the churches

A few links to explore

A changing church
Frog Orr-Ewing clergy are demoralised and exhausted but still devoted to ministry
Maggie Phillips Catholic prayer app: millennials reject religion but yearn for spirituality
Alison Milbank stop church closures and restore agency to the parish
Sam Hailes meet the deconstructionists who are questioning everything
Edward Hadas Catholic Social Teaching helps us navigate modernity's ambiguities
Stephen Cottrell The Dream for the Church (lecture)
Kaya Burgess C of E's £248m Renewal & Reform spending failed to reverse decline
The Catholic Church global synod process, 2021-2023 (Inter'l Preparatory Document)
Harry Farley young more likely to pray than over 55s (survey)
IFN UK Faith communities/COVID-19: learning from the journey (new research/report)
University of York Churches, COVID-19 and Communities (new research/report)

Saving the planet
Pope Francis and forty world faith leaders joint statement ahead of COP26
Wild Goose Resource Group God's Good Earth liturgy (resource for COP26)
C of E Pensions Board, Church Commissioners & CCLA sign UK Stewardship Code
Ecumenical Patriarch, Pope Francis, Archbishop Justin Protection Of Creation

Renewing society
Matt Allen government must remember faith-based social action in Levelling Up
Raymond Friel World Day of the Poor for schools and parishes (resources)
Trevor Phillips an English revival could start with the Church
Alan Billings withdrawing resources, like churches or police, results in loss of trust
Brian Wheeler Guli Francis-Dehqani: the bishop tackling England's housing crisis
Ecorys the contribution of cathedrals to local economies (report)
Paul Wilkinson Church leaders plead with government not to cut Universal Credit
Tragedy and Congregations resourcing churches to respond to tragedy (resources)
Bishop Richard Moth urges challenge to Assisted Dying Bill


Tools to help you build the Common Good

We are here to help you. Our resources are for congregations, churches, groups of faithful people, communities, organisations, schools and youth groups, local associations and more. Email us at: louise@togetherforthecommongood.co.uk
 


Recommended books 
 
Our latest selection

Henry Corbett Leadership for the Long Term: Affirming the Value of Staying
Sally Mann Looking for Lydia: Encounters that Shape the Church
Bruno Latour Reassembling the Social
Adam Seligman Modernity's Wager: Authority, the Self and Transcendence
Alan Roxburgh and Mark Lau Branson God's Agency and Disruptions
Wolfhart Pannenberg What is Man?
José Humphreys What Happens When Churches Show Up and Stay Put
Bob Gilbert Ghost Trees: Nature and People in a London Parish
Lesslie Newbigin The Gospel in a Pluralist Society
Sam Quinones Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic
Christopher Caldwell The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties
Thomas Chatterton-Williams Self Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race
Anna Rowlands A Politics of Communion: Catholic Social Teaching in Dark Times
Soerens, Sparks, Friesen The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches Are Transforming Mission, Discipleship and Community

You may also be interested in

What is the Common Good?

The Common Good is the shared life of a society in which everyone can flourish - as we act together in different ways that all contribute towards that goal, enabled by social conditions that mean every single person can participate.

We create these conditions and pursue that goal by working together across our differences, each of us taking responsibility, according to our calling and ability.

Find out more and explore our free resources


 

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About us
Together for the Common Good
 works with people across the churches and beyond.
We broker relationships, convene conversations and help people fulfil their vocation for the common good.
We are non partisan, independent, ecumenical and proud of our Christian traditions.

Our People
Team: Jenny Sinclair (Founder Director), Alison Gelder (Director of Operations, p/t)
Louise Lambert (Team Support Worker, p/t), Chris Knowles (Here: Now: Us People project leader, p/t)
Board of Trustees: Richard Holman (Chair), Holly Terry (Company Secretary), Sophie Stanes, Geoff Knott, Edward Hadas

Our sincere thanks
Our sincere thanks for help-in-kind and support from our partners and associates who contribute pro bono to different strands of our work. Download the latest T4CG annual report to find out more. We are most grateful to our regular donors for their faithful generosity and to CCLA for enabling us to build this smart new website.

     


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Together for the Common Good is a registered charity in England and Wales (no. 1172113).
© T4CG 2021
Header image courtesy of Bonny Downs Community Association
https://bonnydowns.org/






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