Regular readers of R&R may already know about the re-launch of Christians on the Left. I wanted to grab a few moments of your time to tell you about a great event we are hosting for everyone interested in faith, social action and politics.
I believe this is a hugely significant time both for the church and for our nation.
All over the UK, communities are being held together by the incredible work being done by churches and Christian agencies. It is inspiring to see the transformation that is happening in individual lives and communities through faith being put into action. More than ever word and deed are going together.
Two real dangers
But as many have observed, there is a real danger of the church simply sliding into the role of ‘service provider’. Two of the problems I see are:
1) Losing the distinctive emphasis of inner change that the Christian gospel brings about. Whilst we are committed to social and community engagement, how do we hold onto the vitality of personal transformation?
2) The semi-permanent employment of the church as the nation’s paramedics, always treating the victims of a sick system, but having less time to spend challenging and changing the system itself. How do we connect the work on the frontline to a concern for social justice?
As Christians on the Left, we believe we are in a position to broker conversations and relationships between those who are engaged in frontline community work and those in politics.
And more than that, we are there to encourage and support many of those believers to actually get involved in politics. There are few better qualified to serve their community as politicians than those who have been serving it by running foodbanks, debt counselling centres or youthwork charities. They have incredible insight into the challenges facing our communities.
This is why the ‘Community Launch’ of Christians on the Left is addressing these issues. We are bringing together the CEOs of some of the most prominent organisations that have catalysed all this local work to discuss how the church can continue to be the church, without losing either its evangelistic or prophetic edge. The combined wisdom from those who have sparked the wave of Christian social engagement is not to be missed!!
- Chris Mould – Foodbank Network (Trussell Trust)
- Alison Gelder – Housing Justice
- Matt Barlow – Christians Against Poverty
- Annie Kirke – Bishop’s Missional Community Co-ordinator for London
- Kevin Davies – The Vine Trust
- Graham Miller – London City Mission
- Jon Kuhrt – West London Mission
If you are interested in faith, community action and social justice then make sure you are there. Please encourage others in your churches to attend and make a contribution. If you have any queries, please get in touch.
The Summit: 18th February, 5.30-8.30pm, Vauxhall Foodbank. You can sign up here – www.christiansontheleft.org.uk/_summit
Andy Flannagan is Director of Christians on the Left