Faith and Place network members, Dr Andrew Rogers and Dr Richard Burgess, have received funding from Southlands Methodist Trust to investigate the iconography and aesthetics of black majority churches in a London borough. Entitled “Signs of Wonder”, the project reflects on the theologies embedded in their signboards, banners, architecture, websites and media products. Dr Mark Minott, the lead fieldworker, has just completed photographing churches and interviewing pastors about the meanings and narratives associated with these signs. Watch this space for further updates later this year!
Somewhat belatedly, Faith and Place network members may be interested in the Religion and the Public Sphere blog from the London School of Economics. As part of the Pentecostalism in Britain series, network co-leader, Dr Andrew Rogers, and network member, Bishop Dr Joe Aldred, have both published pieces on this blog in recent months.
Take a look at “How are black majority churches growing in the UK?” which includes discussion of the network and policy briefing. See also “Pentecostalism in Britain today” which profiles the diversity that exists in British Pentecostalism today.
The Faith and Place network is delighted to announce the publication of our Wales policy briefing this month. You can download an electronic version in English or Welsh here. Dual language print versions are being sent out to local planning authorities and religious organisations in Wales over the next few weeks. The Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan, had this to say about the July 2016 Wales policy briefing:
Bydd y canllaw hwn yn cael ei groesawu’n fawr, a’i werthfawrogi’n arbennig gan grwpiau ffydd nad ydynt yn ddigon ffodus i gael cefnogaeth adrannau eiddo sefydliadol, yn ogystal â chynllunwyr sy’n ceisio cael dealltwriaeth well o’r anghenion a’r posibiliadau o fewn eu cymunedau.
This guide is very welcome, and will be particularly appreciated by faith groups who are not fortunate enough to be backed up by organisational property departments, and by planners seeking a better understanding of the needs and possibilities within their communities.
For the full message from the Archbishop, click here.
The network leaders, Andrew and Richard, visited Sweden at the end of February 2016 to examine how Faith and Place issues are configured in some Swedish contexts. Hosted by network member, Dr Anne Kubai of Uppsala University, we visited churches and mosques in Uppsala and Stockholm, with Anne providing rich contextual detail en route.
We spent time with the pastor of a historic Pentecostal church in Uppsala (Pingstkyrkan) with its own premises and restaurant next door, then headed off to a large ecumenical church in Stockholm (Immanuelskyrkan) which was partnered with a hotel, also next door. Sunday saw us at a Turkish mosque in an outer suburb of Stockholm for most of the day, receiving a very warm welcome, where we witnessed prayers, talked with members and interviewed the imam. Interspersed with our time at the mosque was a visit to an African majority church nearby that shared its premises with many other congregations. Interviewing Pastor Sam of Hallundakyrkan helped us to see how issues for some migrant groups in Stockholm at least were not so different from other European urban centres. We took away pictures, impressions, observations and interviews that we will be reflecting on further in our writing about faith and place, both the resonances and dissonances across the UK and Europe.
The Faith and Place network policy briefing was launched at the House of Commons on Thursday 15th October 2015. The evening was opened Stephen Timms MP reflecting on faith and place, followed by the network leaders giving an overview of the briefing recommendations. Responding to the briefing were Mustafa Field MBE (Faiths Forum for London) and Rev Katei Kirby (Ruach City Church). A panel was convened to discuss ways in which the recommendations will be taken forward. Video of the evening will soon be available on the website video tab. Click on the image above to download a copy of the briefing.
The Faith and Place network’s policy briefing, launched on Thursday 15th October at the House of Commons, has already been endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby; the Minister for Housing and Planning, Brandon Lewis MP; Mustafa Field MBE of Faiths Forum for London and Dr R David Muir of the National Church Leaders’ Forum.
For full details of the endorsements click here or for details of the launch click here.