21 May 2014
Launching the [Good Society project] at the Cardinal Hume Centre on 21 May 2014, Cardinal Vincent Nichols made reference to comments made by Pope Francis saying ‘it is in the peripheries that you will meet the person of Christ most clearly. It is in those who are least endowed, least possessive of power that you will meet Christ’.
Baron Maurice Glasman – ex-community organiser and living wage campaigner – told the assembled audience: “If we are to forge the Common Good we need to learn to live with tensions and face up to the arguments in a relational way. We need to challenge elites and build a politics based on people who represent communities where they live.”
Elizabeth Oldfield, director of the think tank Theos, commented that faith traditions are well placed to take on this challenge because they have a radically different notion of human value and the Good Society.
Those from the local communities featured in the project also contributed with speakers from Cornwall, Birmingham and Belfast. Commenting on the project, Rev Andi Smith from Saltley Methodist Church said ‘It was great to see people come alive when someone sat with them and said “tell me your story”.’
You can read a report of the launch on the Good Society website, and watch videos of the presentations below:
Cardinal Vincent Nichols’ keynote address
Bob Fyffe, General Secretary of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland
‘A Good Society is “about seeing the Gospel in action, being radical leaders, challenging accepted roles and the status quo”‘.
Cathy Corcoran, Chief Executive of the Cardinal Hume Centre
‘Perhaps one of the best services we provide is to treat everyone as an individual and as a human being, and giving them the respect of listening and hearing their stories. This seems to be at the heart of a Good Society’
Kim Mathews, Manager of St Austell Community Kitchen (STAK)
“We are offering friendship and support for those who would be socially isolated… A Good Society is one where we respect and care for one another.’
Rev Andi Smith, Minister at Saltley Methodist Church
‘The most dynamic thing about the group is that it’s a place in which people learn what it is like to be believed in by another person’
Paula Tabakin, All Souls church, Belfast
‘A Good Society is a welcoming, accepting and an open space for my family and for everyone else’s family’.
Graham Spenser, All Souls church, Belfast
‘The effort to try and create dialogue is often confrontational…more holding hands and talking good things will never solve these problems’.