[Archive news item]
Building a Better World
CHURCHES TOGETHER IN BRITAIN AND IRELAND
DATE 17 MAY 2007
PRESS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE USE
BUILDING A BETTER WORLD
NEW BOOK EXAMINES WHERE HOPE WENT WRONG, AND PUTTING IT RIGHT
There is a growing sense among Christians and many other people that things must and can radically change so that the world of the 21st century will be fair, safe and sustainable. Back in the late 1980s, similar hopes burnt brightly following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communism. Why have those hopes for a new society not been realised? How might such hopes be rekindled in an age of accommodation that says we have to lower our sights and find ways of coping with a society that is increasingly crude, materialistic and uncivil?
A new book from Churches Together in Britain and Ireland addresses the challenges that must be met if a genuine "civil society", which will include a moving beyond destructive capitalism, is to come into being. The book also explores a vision of a common culture that is still pluralistic, and takes a critical look at the faith that has been placed in democracy.
A World Transformed by Pat Logan is based on a series of ecumenical seminars held annually at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park, from 1990 to 2004. These gatherings explored new possibilities of social transformation in the light of the upheavals that followed the beginning of the fall of Communism in 1989, advances in technology, and the radical rethinking of Christian social theology.
The seminars brought people who were working on behalf of the churches in the field of social responsibility together with cutting-edge thinkers, not all of them Christian, involved in the political, economic and social sciences. Using the seminars as a springboard, Pat Logan has written A World Transformed: When Hopes Collapse and Faiths Collide to carry forward the interaction between Christian belief and social theory that characterised those lively discussions. Logan offers a reflective, critical exploration and attempts to raise our sights to the kind of society for which Christians ought still to be working.
The seminars began at a time when great hopes were being placed on the hidden potential of "civil society". In A World Transformed, Pat Logan argues that it is precisely through an examination of civil society failures that a more mature hope can emerge for the developing of a common culture, for the finding of alternatives to capitalism, and for reassessing models of democracy.
Taking a critical look at past theologies of social transformation, Logan sees the key to mature hope in a theology of grace, and draws particularly on St Augustine's vision of the City of God. Much to his own surprise, Logan discovers the path leads to a call for the church to recover her civilising mission.
The launch of A World Transformed will take place on Wednesday 30th May at 4.30 p.m. in the offices of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, 3rd Floor, Bastille Court, 2 Paris Garden, London SE1 8ND, when the main speaker will be Methodist minister The Revd Lord Leslie Griffiths. Please note that the text of A World Transformed is embargoed until then. Light refreshments will be available.
Note on author
From 1976 until 2002, Pat Logan worked for the Anglican Diocese of Southwark as adviser on homelessness, and on wider issues of social responsibility. He was also co-ordinator of Church Action on Homelessness in London. He has recently been serving as consultant to the London Churches Group for Social Action. Logan taught moral theology for nine years in the United States before coming to Britain. He holds degrees in theology and canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and a doctorate in religion and human nature from Hartford Seminary Foundation in Connecticut.
Note for editors
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland helps the Churches to think, work and pray together. It is the official ecumenical body that brings together Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Protestant and Pentecostal traditions, and is the direct successor to the British Council of Churches. Its work includes racial justice, inter faith relations, international affairs, global mission, faith, unity and spirituality. Churches Together in Britain and Ireland works closely with the "Churches Together" bodies that focus separately on England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. See www.ctbi.org.uk.