The Christian Socialist Movement (CSM) is to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary with a series of events at the Labour Party Conference later this month.
Peter Smith, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Southwark, will preach in Manchester Cathedral for the conference church service – organised, as usual, by CSM. The service will also feature Manchester's Singout Gospel Choir. A reception to celebrate the anniversary will follow.
CSM, which serves as a grouping for Christians within the Labour Party, aims to celebrate the anniversary by “showing how it remains a strong progressive force within the party”.
CSM aims to “look to the future with a renewed Labour Party focused on building relationships in every community”. Unlike most meetings at the conference, CSM's events will be open to the general public as well as to party delegates.
They will mostly be held in Manchester Friends' Meeting House. According to the Movement's Director, Andy Flannagan, the venue “creates a unique opportunity for the people of Manchester and others to have access to government ministers and MPs, without the need for passes into the secure zone”.
He added, “Our events are for anyone interested in seeing change in the world around them”.
Leading Labour politicians to be hosted at CSM events include Ed Miliband, who hopes to be declared Leader of the Labour Party when the result of the leadership election is announced on 25 September.
Other leading speakers include shadow ministers Douglas Alexander and David Lammy and influential backbencher Jon Cruddas. The events cover topics such as political engagement, reshaping the Labour Party, separating the banks, and the housing crisis.
The Labour Party Conference will run from Sunday 25 to Thursday 29 September.
The concept of Christian Socialism was developed by nineteenth century thinkers and activists who drew on much older traditions of socially progressive Christianity. The term is now employed by socialists outside the Labour Party as well as by CSM.