Rediscovering #SmallActsOfHope: a reflection for Christians

By staff writers
October 31, 2019

Ekklesia’s own roots are in progressive Christian radicalism – the work of the peace churches (notably Mennonites and Quakers), nonconformism and the dissenting and communitarian strands of mainstream Christianity. The #SmallActsOfHope project is part of a new trajectory which seeks to honour that tradition while reaching for a wider ecumenism for troubled times. Our partners of humanist and non-religious ethical commitment and our allies of other faiths are important to us. 

In a world marked by increasing division, hostility, dangerous right-wing populism and white supremacism, it is necessary for those committed to justice, peace and sustainability for people and planet – resourced in different ways – to reach out stand together. That means celebrating what we have in common and finding better ways of dealing with difference. It also involves sustaining ourselves and one another for the struggles and opportunities we face, as well as encouraging those who feel powerless  – which is a good part of what #SmallActsofHope is about.

Our book Hope Rediscovered: Biblical wisdom for an anxious world, by David Atkinson (https://tinyurl.com/yy8jfm8c), with a Foreword by Rowan Williams, is an especially useful resource for Christians and others. 

As we have noted in our introduction to #SmallActsOfHope, among the many causes of anxiety in today’s world are global concerns to do with social and economic inequality, the imperative of sustainable development, and the link between the damage we are causing the natural environment and climate change. These raise human – that is, moral and spiritual – questions about who we are, our destiny, how we can be helped to flourish, and what we hope for.

Hope Rediscovered is about being re-oriented in the face of such challenges. Bishop David Atkinson, who has an abiding interest in Christian ethics, pastoral theology and science, has put some key questions to the Gospel of John – a text which says much about human flourishing (‘life in fullness’), and which draws heavily on Wisdom themes from the Hebrew Bible about understanding our human place in creation, and about practical living.

Like his followers, Jesus was beset with conflicts within ‘the world’. The first-century Christian community, to which the Gospel was first addressed, discovered how to live hopefully in the way of Wisdom, energised by God’s Spirit. The focus of this timely book is deep, practical wisdom for a troubled world.

The author, Bishop David Atkinson, undertook research in organic chemistry before being ordained into the Church of England and serving as Fellow and Chaplain of Corpus Christi, College, Oxford. He was a Canon Residentiary at Southwark Cathedral and Archdeacon of Lewisham, becoming Bishop of Thetford in 2001. He retired in 2009. Rowan Williams, who wrote the Foreword, is an academic theologian, poet and priest. He is a crossbench peer and Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. He was the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, a position he held from December 2002 to December 2012.

FURTHER RESOURCES: 

* More about #SmallActsOfHope, which you can also follow on social media (@Ekklesia_co_uk). 

What are #SmallActsOfHope and why do we need them? Some thoughts from Ekklesia staff. 

Words Out of Silence and rediscovering #SmallActsOfHope - a reflection for searchers. 

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.