New Year greetings from Ekklesia: looking back and ahead

By Simon Barrow
December 31, 2012

Ekklesia's staff, associates and contributors extend warm New Year greetings to all who have read, engaged with and supported us in 2012.

It's been a challenging year, for all sorts of reasons, not least financial ones. But the task of offering critical, dissenting and (we trust) hopeful Christian perspectives on public issues in a divided world, the life of the churches in a post-Christendom environment, and emerging movements for change amidst global / local pressures -- all this has continued to be deeply rewarding.

This past year has seen the explosion of Occupy ("globalisation from below"); further landmark change in the Middle East and North Africa; the dawn of the Spartacus network of disabled and sick people taking on politicians and pundits over welfare policy; further eruptions within the Christian community over matters of authority, identity and sexuality; peace and justice challenges worldwide; elections that have altered much and little at the same time; continuing changes in the demography of religion and belief within Europe and beyond; xenophobia, intolerance and racism on the rise in many parts of the world; the beginning of a Scottish independence debate which creates large challenges and opportunities within these islands... and much more. In different ways we have been involved on all these fronts.

Meanwhile, Ekklesia has continued to produce, co-publish or contribute to bulletins, reports, news briefings, research essays, features, columns, blogs and books. Our website has featured some 2,000 items and has been visited by many thousands of people each week. We have shared ideas in the press, on TV, on the radio and across the internet. We have been involved in meetings and discussions in England, Scotland and Wales. We have sponsored a major spirituality and peace Festival, partnered the emergent Critical Religion Association, helped initiate a Centre for Living Christianity in a small way, continued involvement with inclusive education initiatives like the Accord Coalition (which we helped to found), collaborated with disability campaigners, developed our capacity to influence through social media, and explored the possibility of new partnerships with a charitable trust and with Bloomsbury Baptist Central Church.

All this has been achieved on diminishing, shoestring resources and with a considerable amount of voluntary effort. Our biggest challenge on the threshold of a New Year (one that marks Ekklesia's tenth anniversary of operation at this kind of level) is the search for sustainable finance and a working model that can take us into the future. It isn't going to be easy, but we believe we can get there -- and we hugely value your support in the process.

We look forward to connecting with you again in 2013, and offer you our best wishes, prayers and commitment for the flowering of peace, justice, hope and compassion in the year ahead.

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Simon Barrow is co-director of Ekklesia. More here on our [unsalaried] staff (, associates, consultants and contributors ( organisational partners (, individual partners (, and affiliations (

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