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Remembrance Day needs to be re-imagined in more hopeful, truthful, meaningful and inclusive ways for future generations, says this report commissioned by Ekklesia. That would include an honest if painful acknowledgement that some do “die in vain”, an end to “selective remembrance”, a positive stress on peacemaking, and making Armistice Day a public holiday. The report, originally published in 2009, followed the death of the 'last Tommy', Harry Patch from World War 1, who sadly described current patterns of Remembrance Day as “just show business”. Remembrance has been ‘cheapened’ by a failure to back up words with action, particularly when it comes to successive governments' inadequate care for war veterans, but also -- vitally -- the lack of serious resources put into peacebuilding. The report traces the development of Britain’s remembrance tradition and makes a series of proposals about how Remembrance Day might be positively developed. It also includes reflection on the meaning and practice of 'memory', not least from a Christian theological standpoint.
This detailed, evidenced and wide-ranging report on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), the Work Programme and recommendations for a new system of support (for people with disabilities and long-term health issues in and out of work) is the most important document of its kind published to date.
Beyond the Barriers is based on the responses to five separate consultations receiving over 1,200 responses from sick and disabled people going through the ESA system (Employment and Support Allowance, previously Incapacity Benefit or IB) and the Work Programme. It provides a comprehensive challenge to the present system, plus policy guidelines for alternatives.
Entirely researched, written and supported by disabled people, the report from the Spartacus Network - endorsed and backed by the think-tank Ekklesia and other NGOs and charities - draws on the widest evidence considered and presented to date. It is a major challenge to the UK government to reconsider and recast its policies and systems, and provides a clear platform for positive reform set out by those who live at the sharp end of the issues it unpacks in considerable detail and with great expertise.
This document is a response to the Public Engagement on Police Use of Water Cannon consultation. It sets out reasons for regarding the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) proposal to introduce the use of water cannon in London as a dangerous and retrograde step. It spells out the preferability of service, community and consent-based policing, and commends further active research into nonviolent police methods, resourced by the engagement of Christians and others.
A Church of England working party on sexuality, chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling, has called for a more welcoming approach to lesbian and gay people, though not full inclusion. It recognises the current lack of consensus on the theology of sexuality, including what the Bible has to say, and recommends that clergy be free to hold services, though not weddings, for same-sex couples.
The report is a small step forward, though it is over-cautious and its handling of historical and scientific evidence is weak, this detailed analysis from Ekklesia suggests. It is also unbalanced, giving too much space to one dissenting member of the working party, firmly opposing any shift by the church towards a more pluralistic stance on same-sex partnerships. Yet it acknowledges diversity, encourages openness to listening and growth, and may lead to further progress in enabling the church to value its lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) members and credibly witness in today’s world to God’s love for all.
As part of its own engagement with policy work on alternative economics, financial reconstruction and the economy of the churches, Ekklesia believes that the São Paulo Statement: International Financial Transformation for the Economy of Life, produced by the Global Ecumenical Conference on a New International Financial and Economic Architecture, remains of fundamental importance in a wider conversation that civil society organisations and think-tanks will also have an important role in contributing to over the next few years.
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