On Thursday 5th November Church Urban Fund held the Money Matters conference in Manchester, exploring how churches can respond to issues of financial exclusion in their communities. It was a brilliant day of hearing and sharing stories of how we can come together to build a fairer and more accessible financial system.
We heard from experts in the finance and social policy sectors, reflected theologically on the issues of money and spirituality, and in seminars learnt from various organisations and community groups working around the country to build financial resilience through creative projects and programmes. The conference ended with a time to reflect on the day and plan for future action.
Here's a highlight film from the day:
Below are videos of the keynote speakers and links to the content and resources offered by the wide range of organisations who led the day’s seminars.
Sir Hector Sants is the Chair of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Task Group on Responsible Credit and Savings. Watch the video below to hear his talk, in which he explores the causes of the recent financial crisis, its consequences, and how churches can be a part of building a more ethical financial system. You can find a transcript of Sir Hector’s talk here.
Professor Karen Rowlingson is a Professor of Social Policy at the University of Birmingham and Director of the Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM). She is currently involved in research on topics of inequality, social security and personal finance issues, and shared her learning with us. You can access her PowerPoint slides here, and listen to her talk below.
Canon Dr Angus Ritchie is the Executive Director at The Centre for Theology and Community, an organisation working to equip churches to help transform their communities through the practices of community organising, theological reflection and prayer. Angus led us through a theological reflection around money and spirituality. You can watch his talk below.
Planning for Action:
In the final session of the conference, we spent 20 minutes reflecting on two questions: How can the church be a more effective response to the problem of financial exclusion? and What concrete steps could I take next week to start making a difference? Click here to download a summary of the discussions.
Building financial capability: This seminar explored different models of building long-term financial capability as a way to tackle financial exclusion.
Providing debt advice: This seminar examined three different ways in which churches can offer debt advice for people in their communities.
Supporting credit unions and community finance: The focus of this seminar was to hear more about how churches can best support the community finance sector, learning from the Church Credit Champions Network.
Starting conversations about money: This seminar explored a variety of tools for starting conversations in our churches and communities about money.
Campaigning for justice in the finance system: This seminar focussed on campaigning to change particular aspects of our financial system.
Creating a community hub: Offering more than access to a credit union, church-based community hubs serve their communities by offering a range of integrated services. This seminar was led by two churches who have developed community hubs.
Other resources for churches:
Author: Ms Rachel Walker
Date: 13 November 2015