How can the Church help to heal our fractured society?
With the next General Election fast approaching, you cannot escape from the conversations about our society, what is wrong and what is promised to help it, and of course the “B” word. How can we as Christians respond to all this?
Jenny Sinclair, founder and director of Together for The Common Good recently spoke at Ealing Deanery Synod on the subject of “Healing a Fractured Society: the Church’s role in post-Brexit Britain.”
In this guest blog below, she shares her wisdom for how churches can respond to all we see in our society today: beyond the election to Brexit and the deeper divides that are fuelling it, and why she thinks this is “the great task of our age”.
“In this period of political volatility and social fragmentation, the need for a Common Good approach becomes sharper every day.”
But what does this look like in practice, and how should people across the churches respond?
With an election in view, refusing the temptation to be tribal would be a good start. Common Good Thinking is about building a culture of encounter, and until a new political settlement is formulated that honours all our communities, morbid symptoms will continue to play out. Without a renewed sense of belonging, no political promises will save us, no policy will be sustainable and we will face an even greater unravelling. It may take some time.
Some assert that Brexit is the cause of the current upheaval, but is it not a symptom of a much bigger phenomenon going back decades?
A profound dealignment between the governing class and large sections of society has been revealed. Deep beneath it all, a culture of individualism, affecting both the right and the left, has undermined our common life together, the way we treat each other and the natural environment. There is a need to strengthen the bonds of social trust.
“Common Good Thinking is about building a culture of encounter… without a renewed sense of belonging, no political promises will save us.”
The situation is too great to be fixed by government alone. Civil society must step up too, and that includes the churches.
Rooted in place, parishes and their people can help in distinctively Christian ways by fulfilling their vocational responsibilities. By building social solidarity across class and opinion; by resisting the temptation to hold others in contempt; by honouring our neighbours; by putting Common Good principles into practice from the grassroots to the boardroom.
In all these ways we can play our part to restore a sense of national community, and help pave the way for a culture of the Common Good.
This is the great task of our time.
Jenny’s full talk is below.
If you want build the capacity of your people to play their part for the Common Good, you can host a one-day Here: Now: Us People workshop.
Find out more via Alison Tsang at Capital Mass: firstname.lastname@example.org