RTPI backs briefing

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The Royal Town Planning Institute published its support for the Faith and Place policy briefing on 20th October in The Planner, its official magazine. Kathie Pollard, policy and networks advisor (pictured), said:

“We are very pleased to have been a part of the creation of this paper as it is an incredibly important and timely piece of work which planners and faith communities should engage with.

“It helps planners and decision-makers to make the most well-informed choices to create great places for communities to live, work and play in – including places of worship. We believe that it is a good guide for conversations between faith groups and local authorities on how to use space and to engage in the planning system.”

For the full list of messages of support, see the Support tab.

 

Policy briefing launched

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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.

Archbishop and DCLG Minister endorse briefing

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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.

Policy Briefing launch, 15th October, House of Commons

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After a long year of deliberations, the AHRC Faith and Place network has produced a policy briefing containing 15 recommendations for faith groups and planners and other interested parties.

The policy briefing will be launched at the House of Commons on Thursday 15th October, 5-7pm, sponsored by Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, the labour party faith envoy. The launch takes place in the Jubilee room to an invited audience of planners, faith group leaders, MPs, local government representatives, academics and civil society organisations.

The policy briefing addresses five policy areas emerging from the network, namely Understanding One Another, Community, Equality & Diversity, Sharing Good Practice and the Planning Framework.

For further details, click here.

(Picture credit: Amir Rabbani, Wikimedia commons)

 

 

Faith and Place Futures symposium next week

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The third Faith and Place network meeting takes place next week, Tuesday 30th June to Wednesday 1st July at Grove House, University of Roehampton, SW London. Entitled “Futures”, the symposium aims to finalise a policy briefing addressing critical issues around faith, place and planning for minority faith groups. This will be explored through a panel on religious spatial practices, a set of creative case studies and three keynotes. Videos of the symposium will be available on this website later in the summer. The policy briefing will then be released in the early Autumn.

Faith and Place in the Netherlands

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The network leaders, Andrew and Richard, recently visited Amsterdam and the Hague to get a sense of how faith, place and planning issues play out in the Netherlands. Meticulously organised by Dutch network member, Rev Dr Rens Schalkwijk, we met faith group leaders, policitians, architects, academics and spent Sunday at church. It also felt like we had cycled round the whole city!

Ruud Schurmann from Task Force Future Church (translation) explained to us his organisation’s work in preserving historic church buildings, and the parliamentarian, Cynthia Ortega-Martijn, explained some of the political realities for faith groups in Dutch cities. We gained a strong impression of many issues being similar to those faced by faith groups in the UK. We visited network member, Pastor Felix Asare, of Victory Outreach Church in the Hague, who spoke to us movingly of the church’s community outreach programme in drug rehabilitation. Pastor Emmanuel Koney met with us, pointing out there were over 300 ‘migrant’ churches in Amsterdam. He told us the story of the Kandelaar in Amsterdam South East, a purpose-built multi-hall centre for the use of up to 15 faith groups, as well as the trials and travails he had experienced in making this initiative happen. One of their projects with the police department was a ‘Reporting a crime without worries’ card for illegal aliens.

Sunday morning saw Richard and I heading for Escape – the largest nightclub in Amsterdam – right in the centre of town on Rembrandtplein. This is where Hillsongs Amsterdam meet, running four services a Sunday, so as to include all their members in worship. As for many churches who rent premises, whether small or large, setting up and setting down takes many hours of volunteer effort (especially as it was operating as a nightclub into the early hours of the morning). We headed south-east in the afternoon, and joined the Ghanaian majority Pentecost Revival Church, to see the Kandelaar for ourselves first-hand. Called on to speak to the church as a double act, we explained the purpose of the network and our visit, and were very warmly received.

There was time to visit VU University to meet with network member, Professor Hijme Stoffels and colleagues. This proved a very useful opportunity for making connections with their work in urban theology and human geography. A quick tour of faith based business and community initiatives concluded our visit, with Andrew then having to run at top speed through Schipol with all luggage, in order to be the last one on the ‘plane.

‘God Bless South London’ – Faith and Place through the artistic lens

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This panel discussion takes place at Bosse & Baum, Copeland Park Industrial Estate in Peckham, South London – at the geographical heart of African Christianity in the UK.  The panel features perspectives from the faith, local authority and arts community, and includes Faith and Place network investigator, Andrew Rogers.

The panel will be engaging with the work of Chloe Dewe Mathews, whose work is being exhibited at Bosse & Baum. Commissioned by Tate Modern,  ‘Congregation’ is a video installation which explores collective religious experience and the nature of expressive worship in south London’s African majority churches.

Taking place from 6.30-8.30pm on Tuesday 2nd June, further details are available at Tate Modern and Bosse and Baum.

 

Critical Themes for Explorations event

Following on from the first network event, Perspectives, and the subsequent report (see previous post), Andrew and Richard have identified four critical themes to be explored in more depth at the upcoming Explorations event on the 19th March 2015 in Birmingham. These themes are set out below or you can download them here. Continue reading Critical Themes for Explorations event