In 2018 we started an experiment called ‘Faith and Society’, using resources produced by JPIT, the Joint Public Issues Team of several British mainline denominations which seeks to explore social issues from a theological perspective. Our format was simple: we would introduce the topic briefly in the morning worship service and then have a fuller discussion after a simple lunch. We hoped a few people would be interested. We soon established that our best ‘simple lunch’ was homemade soup and bread along with bring-and-share desserts. For topics, we began with Food Poverty and Universal Credit and Homelessness. By the end of 2018, we regularly had 12-16 people attending, interested in knowing more about social issues and how they related to our faith.
Since January 2019 we’ve had speakers from various Christian outreach groups: Dementia Care, Street Pastors, Prisons, Schools (CAST), and Debt Counselling (Christians Against Poverty). Each of these speakers has brought a passion for the work in which they are involved and made us more aware of ways we might get involved with addressing some serious problems. We began to realise that every outreach group is hungry for volunteers to help with their work! If we can’t get a speaker, we lead the sessions ourselves.
In the coming months, we plan to include the following topics: Plastic waste and care for the environment; the Housing Crisis; Tackling Racism; Gambling and Alcohol; Marriage and Relationships; Asylum and Migration; Religious Persecution.