This week, a quote from Augustine, encouragement to listen again to Stephen Sizer's excellent talk, a comment on the value of migrants to community resilience and an encouragement to read civil society futures.
Quote for the week
What are kingdoms without justice? They’re just gangs of bandits.
Teaching and talks on-line
Read Revd Stephen Sizer’s talk from last Sunday, the fifth Sunday of Easter on ‘being friends with God’. A talk at All Saints on John 15. Very much worth a listen or a read of the transcript (published 11/05/18)
We become friends with God through: faithful obedience, through sacrificial love, through meditating on God’s word, and through continual conversation with him. We become friends with God when we choose friendship with him above all other friendships, above all other friends Ultimately we are as close to God as we choose to be. Intimate friendship with God is a choice not an accident, we have to intentionally seek him.
Harnessing understanding of self organising disaster response
Co learning disaster resilience is a toolkit which maps hazard differences experienced by migrants moving from their home to a host country by an Australian doctoral student. After completion of the mapping exercise host country workers and migrants can work to improve understanding of major hazard differences: e.g. different climate, poisonous animals, traffic hazards, appropriate response to crime, ways of celebrating. Although framed in terms of Australian refugee reception this approach could be used by local churches to increase the value of the welcome and acclimatisation support many already provide.
An extension of the toolkit would be to reverse the process and to use it to explore what skills and gifts migrants might bring to churches helping their communities with civil contingency resilience because migrants often bring experience of self organising to meet disaster situations, which churches could harness to better contribute to local resilience forums.
“You don’t know how lucky you are here in in the UK: Stable weather, stable crops, stable political. What I learned at home [ in the pacific] was that the day after the typhoon everyone smiles because although their house is gone: they are alive. As children we used to rush around collecting banana from the trees which had fallen and harvesting fish escaped from the [aquaculture] farms
@acnbchurch uses the term migrant in a neutral way to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the either the legal process of claiming asylum or the granting of a visa permitting their presence in the UK for work or family reasons. The term migrant in our definition includes people fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria, Yemen, parts of Iraq etc. who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.”
Civil Society Futures: First year report
A quick encouragement to read the progress report from
Civil Society Futures, a panel led enquiry into what good civil society might look like in the UK. This interim report is rich in description and has the occasional blooper: ‘there are now.. Muslim church goers’ was my favourite, but is well worth a read for the overview it gives of changes in society.
Faith-based groups are also key to engendering longstanding and deep-seated forms of civil society participation. The buildings of religious institutions have also proven to be important for civil society, often providing crucial meeting spaces in the wake of closures of community centre
Thy Kingdom Come - or not?
We've been watching with interest the increasingly marmite response from across the Church of England to the Thy Kingdom Come initiative. As we run up to Pentecost we commend all to be waiting and watching for God to be at work in our communities, and to be earnestly seeking God's good purposes for our churches and peoples. This year we simply haven't had resources to organise much in this season, but will be reviewing the responses and thinking about this season next year.