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By any measure, climate change is one of the most urgent challenges facing our planet right now. Pope Francis' new encyclical about care for 'our common home' is directed both to the churches and humanity as a whole. In recent years, Christian communities in different parts of the world have started responding practically and theologically to the alarming picture being presented to us by climate science. That is encouraging. But as Bishop David Atkinson points out in this timely paper, there is a need for much more action. Care for the earth, which is God’s gift, should be a primary concern for Christians, people of other faiths, and everyone of good faith. Politicians need to be persuaded to act more decisively by the example of people across civil society, not least in the churches. This is not a Christian 'add on', but a core Gospel concern. Church communities across the British and Irish isles are called on to act with thoughtfulness, commitment and urgency.
Ekklesia’s General Election 2015 focus paper, ‘Vote for What You Believe In’, outlined ten core value-based principles that we feel are important for voters to consider when voting on 7 May. Party manifestos are documents with varying amounts of detail. We have taken the time to review the key points in each of seven parties' presentations to the electorate to see how well they reflect the core values and principles identified by Ekklesia in relation to establishing a socially just, more equal, peaceful and economically and environmentally sustainable society. Included are assessments of the Conservative, Green, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Plaid Cymru, Scottish National Party and UKIP manifestos – with reference to others. This material is also about holding politicians to account after the election.
Changes to the welfare system carried out by the 2010-2015 coalition government have had an enormous impact on some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people across Britain. We do not know yet what the long-term societal effects will be, but in the USA, where welfare reform was implemented in the late 1990’s, and where the architects of UK welfare reform found their inspiration, evidence has been emerging in recent months and years that there has been an increase in extreme poverty and a decreased life expectancy for claimants. In this research paper, Bernadette Meaden looks at the transatlantic anti-welfare ideology that has shaped responses in the UK, and sets out a detailed critique of current policies and assumptions. Reforming Welfare ends with a civic and Christian examination of an alternative approach which rejects punitive models in favour of an aspiration that all should 'fare well'.
In recent decades in the UK and beyond, the principle of social security has been under sustained attack. It is sometimes said that the world has changed so much since the early days of the ‘welfare state’ that the system is no longer fit for purpose. Among other criticisms, it is often claimed that current levels of social security are unaffordable and undermine people’s self-reliance by encouraging them to become dependent on the state. However there is mounting evidence to the contrary, argues author Savitri Hensman, though this is widely ignored by politicians and much of the media. In this paper she sets out the reasons for the dissolution of a notion of 'social security' for all. The concluding argument is for a refunding of the notion of good government within a context of mutualism, drawing on the influence of civil society and the contribution of Christians and others.
Young voters (here defined as 18 to 24-year-olds, including those who will be 18 year-olds by 7 May 2015) often discover themselves to be doubly damned. Through little fault of their own they may feel they have not much to say into the politics of the nation (because they have no real way to say it), and yet they are also condemned for caring too little about a political system that appears to them inaccessible and unconcerned. This paper argues that the system as it is at present is not sufficient and flexible enough to help young people to gain and maintain an interest in politics that would enable them to act and vote for what they believe in. It examines the current location of the young in British politics, considers what obstacles there are to their political engagement, sets out a broad and practical vision of change, and suggests ways to affirm the genuine representation of the young in British politics. It also looks at the role the churches and other civic groups may play in this area.
Remembrance day: Goodbye to all that Guardian leader based on Ekklesia's 2009 report Reimagining Remembrance
Voters turn on main parties, Independent front page, reporting Ekklesia's survey results on independent politics, during the scandal over MP's expenses
Rebranding St George, The Times about Ekklesia's 2008 report on British identity
The Daily Telegraph on Ekklesia's 2007 proposals that the symbols we use to remember war, should involve those symbolising a commitment to peace
Guardian education features Ekklesia's 2006 report on alleged marginalisation of religion in universities, and proposals for addressing it
Fear or Freedom?: Why a Warring Church Must Change by Simon Barrow (Ed)
The Subversive Manifesto: Lifting the Lid on God's Political Agenda by Jonathan Bartley
Faith and Politics After Christendom: The Church as a Movement for Anarchy by Jonathan Bartley
Consuming Passion: Why the Killing of Jesus Really Matters by Simon Barrow and Jonathan Bartley (Eds)
Threatened with Resurrection: The Difficult Peace of Christ by Simon Barrow