Rediscovering Our Vocation

From Peter Challen <> on 21/07/2021 10:13

Rich summaries of many aspects of the Common Good
———- Forwarded message ———
From: Together for the Common Good Newsletter <>
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2021 at 17:53
Subject: Rediscovering our vocation
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Summer 2021
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Rediscovering our vocation
Romans 8:35-39
Dear Friends
Welcome to the T4CG Newsletter as we adjust to the next phase of the pandemic. Despite lovely summer weather, people are exhausted, and the fallout, psychological and economic, rolls on. Exuberance around the lifting of lockdown accompanies a grief, unseen and unprocessed. The crisis is having a far worse effect on people who are poor, who are unable to work from home and more likely to live in smaller spaces. The pandemic has exacerbated a situation that was already unstable.

Over the past four decades, despite the veneer of modernisation, Western societies have adopted practices that undermine relationships and degrade human beings, and this has destabilised many communities. In a desacralised world, the people of God are called to be an effective witness to the Kingdom. But the culture of “contract” has profoundly affected the church too, compromising its character and its ability to resist the forces at work.

But this feels like a liminal space, and the spirit is moving: some churches are dying, while others are thriving. We are being drawn to rediscover our vocation: to uphold a Christian conception of humanity by building loving, covenantal relationships with our neighbours.   

Three good friends of T4CG contribute to this edition on this theme. Chris Lawrence describes “re-neighbouring” and building hyper-local relationships on the stoop and in the street in East Harlem, New York City. Then, we hear the testimony of Archbishop Patrick Kelly who makes a personal, candid confession about how the church has lost its way by “keeping the ecclesiastical show on the road.” And, Professor Adrian Pabst explores the dynamics that have led to this point, why forms of liberalism have generated such instability, and why a post-liberal politics, which is based on a Christian conception of human anthropology, offers a route to a stable, sustainable settlement. 

People tell us that our three letters published during the pandemic (on the parish, the shift from contract to covenant and the politics of grace and place) are being used by churches and organisations who are sensing the need to re-think mission. You can now get them bundled in a single pdf, downloadable below.

You may already know that our latest series of webinars is underway, addressing what the Common Good means for the family, for society, and for government. You can watch videos of the first and second, and find details of the third and fourth events below. As usual, you’ll find our latest recommended books and articles too.
Wishing you health and peace in your neighbourhood this summer
Together for the Common Good

How Christian is post-liberalism?

With forms of liberalism on both left and right failing to deliver, we examine an alternative, growing in credibility, which goes with the grain of humanity

As the realignment of British politics continues, it is becoming clear that formsof liberalism over the last forty years, on both left and right, have failed to deliver. The effects on people’s lives have beendevastating. This instability has generated a new values divide between progressives and conservatives, replacing the old left-right axis, opening up a new battleground of political thought.

There are many propositions competing for attention, but post-liberalism has gained significant credibility. It is already reshaping British and Western politics. But what does it mean, where does it come from, and how Christian is it?

We are most grateful to Professor Adrian Pabst for addressing these questions and showing us why post-liberalism can lead to a more stable politics, as it addresses things that matter to most people: family, place, work, relationships and belonging. If you want to understand how to situate the political upheaval of recent years within a Christian understanding, you will find this illuminating.

Read the essay

Re-neighbouring: the upside down Gospel

The invigorated, walkable parish

The relentless urban pressure to be ultra-mobile weakens relationships. It also undermines the Christian call to place and proximity. Chris Lawrence is part of a discipleship team located in East Harlem, New York City, committed to Jesus-centred companionship, living alongside people struggling with the challenges of loneliness, loss of direction, isolation and poor health. Here, Chris explores some of the ways they are trying to “re-neighbour” the parish. 

Read the story

Je ne regrette rien: confessions of an Archbishop

We believe that to revitalise, churches need to become more relational. Management culture, so widely adopted in the drive to modernise, has profoundly affected the character of the church. Often, professionalised habits can act as barriers against authentic, life-giving moments of transformation. 

Here, in a typically candid, warm and profound reflection on his own leadership, Archbishop Emeritus Patrick Kelly explores his role in “keeping the shop open” while missing the point of the Gospels. This is his personal story, written in conversation with Jenny Sinclair from Together for the Common Good.

Read the story


What does the Common Good mean for families, for society, and for government?
“The Common Good” is now widely used but often misused. Our latest series of public conversations clears up what it means. You can watch videos from the first two events:videowhat does the common good mean? 
With Jenny Sinclair, Philip Booth and Sam Bruce. Chair: Ruth Kellyvideowhat does the common good mean for families? 
With Cristina Odone, Edward Hadas and Mercy Muroki. Chair: Ruth Gledhill

Dates for your diary: the next two events in this series are in the autumn:
29/9/21: What does the common good mean for society? 
With Trevor Phillips, David Goodhart, Julia Unwin and Syed Kamall. Chair: Richard Harries.
16/11/21: What does the common good mean for government? 
With Danny Kruger MP, Lord Maurice Glasman and Caroline Slocock. Chair: Ruth Kelly.

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. 

Three letters
The Plague and the Parish: An Invitation to the Churches Renewing the Covenant: Churches & the Building of Local Relationships The Politics of Grace and Place: A Letter to the Local Church During the pandemic we convened a small group to think through the implications of the new era on the role of the church, together with friends from the Common Good Foundation and the Journal of Missional Practice. People are telling us they find these letters helpful to kick off new thinking. Until now they’ve only been available separately online but we have now bundled them together into a single pdf which you can download below. If you want multiple copies, please get in touch. 

Download bundle pdf here

Signs of the times

We’ve collected a selection of articles for you
John Gray Wuhan lab is now considered credible. If true, it has grave implications
Thomas Frank if the Wuhan-leak theory is true, expect a political earthquake
Dan Hodges Boris will have to get a grip or covid could be the start of a political crisis 

foreign affairs
Michel Houellebecq France: civilisation that legalises euthanasia loses all respect
Maurice Glasman Iran’s revolutionary hell: where it is a crime to speak about Jesus
Bret Weinstein the day American justice died: the powerless have been abandoned

Onward Age of Alienation: collapse in community and belonging among young people
House of Commons Education Committee The Forgotten
Centre for Social Justice Pillars of Community
Impact Investing Institute Place-based impact investing white paper (& video)
Common Vision Restoring Social Confidence: faith-led organisations during covid
University of York church networks vital to restore wellbeing & resilience (report)
GoodFaith Partnership Stepping Up & Stepping Out: New Deal 4 Faith Communities

Dying Well Most doctors do not support assisted dying
Jason Stockwood why I bought Grimsby Town FC
Maurice Glasman why England lost the final
David O’Malley resilience within young people is greater than problems before them
Giles Fraser EU member states are using brutal tactics to keep out refugees
Patrick Butler Are pantries the new foodbanks?
Greg Heffer government ends £20 benefits uplift & ignores pleas of former ministers 
Chris Stokel-Walker who is behind online abuse of black England players

Stephen Pollard 44% of Britons say they fear for the safety of British Jews
Eve Barlow The social media pogrom

Capel Loft why I have resigned from the Labour Party
Rachel Wearmouth Labour on collision course with far left in September
Patrick O’Flynn in defence of levelling up
Matthew Goodwin people don’t like movements that despise their own nation (video)
  culture wars – many of you are asking about this so we include some links here
Louise Perry the culture war in the UK conceals a class conflict that is deeply serious
Frank Luntz don’t let American culture wars take hold in UK (video)
David Brooks progressives champion decolonisation at home & imperialism abroad
Lee Smith street violence as a political tool
Chloe Valdary wokeism is not a religion, it’s dogma
Helen Lewis how capitalism drives cancel culture
KCL/Ipsos Mori fault lines in the UK’s culture wars
Bari Weiss Winston Marshall on being branded right wing by the hard left (more)
Helen Pluckrose/Counterweight cancel culture case studies
Ayann Hirsi Ali Islamist extremists are using progressive rhetoric to fool the West
J.Peder Zane how the Left Weaponised Race in Its War on the West
Travis Browne the Woke Reformation (documentary series)
Dr Ty Smith a doctor of colour speaks out against Critical Race Theory
Sex Matters Maya Forstater landmark ruling changes sex and gender debate 

See also our selection of articles on “a new narrative on race” here
Signs of the times: the churches

A few links to explore
Paul Kingsnorth The cult of reason vs the mystical underpinnings of religious faith
Pope Francis Letter for the World Day of the Poor 2021
Linda Woodhead Rhianna’s “Live your life” ethic replaces Christian values 
Ben Aldous Apocalyptic times call for relationship building and cooperation on mission
FAI Mission Sheep among wolves: Iran, discipleship & fastest growing church in world
Wanda Alger prophetic dream – the church will be flooded, but by the Spirit of God
Dave Benson/LICC John Stott on binding ‘biblical’ and ‘social’ justice back together
Pete Wilcox Let the rich dioceses be generous to poorer ones
Julian Coman Saka, Rashford and Sterling blaze a trail for black British Christians
HTB next set of small group Alpha courses starts online, September 22
Chris Lawrence Urban Village webinar 5 Oct: Upside Down Gospel for the City
Gather Movement Movement for Recovery (churches & charities for civic renewal)
Marcus Walker church’s Hartlepool moment: the politically unwelcome will leave
Chris Easton/Eden Network The Forgotten Estate And The God Who Sees Us
Liverpool Archdiocese 19 Synod recommendations 
Massimo Faggioli why is the Catholic Church talking about synodality?
Madeleine Davis Archbishop of Canterbury endorses urgent church planting plan
Stonyhurst Christian Heritage Centre Christian Leadership Formation programme
Bright Now Global faith coalition divests ahead of G7 and COP26
Church of England vision and priorities for next decade – 5 webinars 
Various Tributes to Joel Edwards, first Black head of Evangelical Alliance
Isabelle Priest struggling churches use architecture to survive & serve the community
Compassionate Communities housing summit: using our prophetic voice

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:

Explore T4CG’s resources 
Recommended books Our latest selection

Giorgio Agamben The Church and the Kingdom
Adrian Pabst Postliberal Politics: The Coming Era of Renewal
C. Christopher Smith and John Pattinson Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus
Dan White Jr & JR Woodward The Church as Movement: Starting and Sustaining Missional-Incarnational Communities
Jonathan Chaplin Faith in Democracy: Framing a Politics of Deep Diversity?
You may also be interested in
Recommended books in previous newsletters • our Leading Thinkers collection• Common Good thinking and Catholic social thought

We always welcome feedback on the T4CG Newsletter:
email us at
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

Supporting T4CG
We are truly independent. We receive no funding from the major denominations,
so everything you give us really counts.

Click here to donate. Thank you.

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

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