Christians as citizens

At our recent Church Meeting, when John Sherbourne introduced the discussion paper on Vision, I was particularly struck by the paragraph which read

Share a Hunger for God’s coming Kingdom – by nurturing what the BU calls a ‘holy discontent’. Something that arises from our desire to give practical expression to our vision of God’s purpose. For example confronting evil, injustice and hypocrisy and challenging worldly attitudes to power, wealth, status and security”

I had already written a big YES against this before the meeting.

By chance, a few days before I had been to the first meeting since the lockdowns of Leeds Citizens, an organisation which MBC used to belong to, which we voted to leave in an earlier church meeting. I don’t wish to re-open that debate but would like to say a few things about Citizens in the light of our Vision discussion paper., and about our vision in the light of Citizens

Leeds Citizens currently has 44 member organisations around Greater Leeds. The majority are church groups with others from the Muslim and Jewish communities and a small number from Education and Trade Unions. Their purpose is [1]to Listen to their local people to hear what Issues, stories and experiences they have which need changing for the better [2] to find and help develop Leaders in those communities [3] To build Core Teams [4] To build Relationships with people with the Power who can bring about good changes in our society.

It seems to me that these aims (supported by many church groups) are not a million miles away from the vision “To share a hunger for God’s Coming Kingdom” and offer practical ways of Christian involvement in our wider society for good.

Not surprisingly in present circumstances many of the groups told stories of financial worries and needs and of trying to work with power to establish a Real Living Wage for people in our region – especially in the Care Sector. Other issues ranged from campaigning on Mental Health and Disability issues including for children as we emerge from lockdown (Schools are seen as very important in several campaigns), to improving local facilities such as footpaths and steps in some housing estates.

In the past MBC has run a “What matters?” listening campaign in our locality and Shelley is developing relationships with groups on our neighbouring Queenshills estate and with the Jewish Housing Association, and we have community connections on the Lingfields. Leeds Citizens will be holding an Assembly later in the year to work out the common issues to work on City Wide.

There are many other ways we can link, for God’s Kingdom, with other churches and secular organisations to bring about change and do good, and I pray this will continue to be a major part of our Vision as Moortown Baptist Church.

Roger Robson   

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