‘Radical Presence’ summons Christians to build a better society after lockdown

By agency reporter
May 8, 2020

As Britain debates how it will emerge from lockdown, the charity Green Christian has launched Radical Presence, an initiative to help churches build a more sustainable, just and compassionate world after the pandemic. The online initiative will foster ambition to tackle the crises of environmental breakdown, inequality and polarisation, and help to build support for a ‘just recovery’.  

The pandemic has come at a critical time in the climate and ecological emergency, with the postponement of COP26, the United Nations climate summit which was due to take place in Glasgow this November.  But it has also provoked unprecedented readiness for change: a recent YouGov poll found only nine per cent of the population want life to return to ‘normal’.  Radical Presence enables these longings to find their voice among Christians in the UK.  

Over seven sessions, Radical Presence stimulates conversations which draw on the Bible, Christian faith, experience, science and analysis.  Churches groups can participate free of charge, and share their conclusions with each other.  In this way Radical Presence will build a consensus to guide the nation’s emergence from lockdown, and will equip Christians for mission and advocacy in a changed world.

Paul Bodenham, who led the development of Radical Presence, said: “It’s becoming clear that there is no longer a ‘normal’ to go back to.  In fact ‘normal’ was the cause of many of our problems.  People are expressing a ‘hunger and thirst for righteousness’ with an intensity I’ve never witnessed before.  With Radical Presence they will discover that they are not alone, and that together we can mobilise change.  If there is any way to honour those whose lives have been lost, it must surely be in our efforts to build a better society.  But we need to be quick – if we leave it until church doors are unlocked we may miss our chance.”

Professor Sir Ghillean Prance, Founding Director of The Eden Project, said: "Radical Presence is a truly needed programme at this time of uncertainty. ...we are at a decisive time where we have the opportunity to take a new and better pathway. I hope that many people will take up the opportunity to use this helpful material and that it will lead us towards the radical change that is needed."

Bishop David Atkinson, a Bishop in the Diocese of Southwark, said: "In Radical Presence the mixture of biblical reflection, prayer and social and political engagement help us to see this ‘kairos' moment as one of opportunity and choice."  

* Radical Presence https://radicalpresence.org.uk/

* Green Christian https://greenchristian.org.uk/

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