How can we build flourishing communities?

How can we build flourishing communities?

It’s not every day you get the chance to take time out and reflect on modern life, its challenges and its opportunities. But on 9 July, we brought together a mixed group of church leaders, practitioners and academics to do just that. We spent the day together discussing the question: how can we build flourishing communities?

We started by listening to Lord Maurice Glasman speak about the post-election reality we are all in.

He emphasised that politically we are now at a turning point where, with deep welfare cuts, the stakes are high. And in order to respond to today’s political situation, he argued, we need a politics of the common good.

The interesting thing is that, according to Maurice Glasman, it looks like the Church has an essential role in promoting this through the transformational love and relationships that it brings.

If you want to hear more, listen to Maurice's talk here

We also heard from Luke Bretherton, Prof of Theology, who talked about the importance of listening with our guts. If we listen with compassion, the Bible says that this involves listening with our guts - being physically moved by the pain and suffering we see. It’s only after listening to those around us that we can move to action.

You can listen to the whole of Luke’s talk here.  

This event was organised by Church Urban Fund and Edinburgh University Divinity School. It is the first of four events, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, that will bring people from different disciplines and sectors to talk about poverty issues.

Dr David Jarvis of Coventry University spoke about how worshipping communities and faith-based organisations help to build flourishing communities. He shared with us some research that shows that faith-based social action projects place an intrinsic value on people who are struggling to flourish, and in meeting their needs holistically in the place where they live.

You can listen to David’s talk here and download his slides here.

In the afternoon, we shone a spotlight on three projects that are working to build stronger communities:

  • Together for the Common Good is a ‘better together’ ministry which seeks to help people of goodwill become agents of change for the common good.
  • Nottingham Citizens is an alliance that seeks to help people listen to local needs and respond with campaigns for change. Download Luke Goss' slides here.
  • Transforming Notts Together, a joint venture between Church Urban Fund and the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham, supports and resources churches to engage with their communities.

We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who joined us on the day, it was so encouraging to hear about the fantastic work going on.

If you weren’t able to be there on the day, but have any comments on the content here, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you. Please email Bethany Eckley or call 020 7898 1141.

Author: Bethany Eckley

Date: 21 July 2015