Tuesday 9 February
In April 2019 The Archbishops of Canterbury and York launched a commission on Housing, Church and Community. In this Diocese we have been closely following that work and ourselves seeking to be engaged with the challenge of ensuring that there is a place for everyone to live well, that houses become homes, and that with good homes households are built into communities where the fullness of life is offered for all. It has been a particular privilege for me to lead this work in the Diocese with Chris Beales, himself a member of the Commission and many of you will have enjoyed being a part of the series of seminars we have been running. The next on Rural Housing is on 23 February..
For most of us we know what it is to have good homes to live in and communities to belong to. But the truth of our nation is that this is not the case for all. The Commission has set out five core values that should be the mark of every home ‘safe, stable, sustainable, social and satisfying’. Sadly, too many individuals and families do not enjoy this security and as Christians we know that this is an injustice we are to challenge. This is something that the Commission will be helping us do as over the coming weeks it begins to make its report and recommendations.
Bishop Guli Francis-Dehqani, soon to be Bishop of Chelmsford, has just been appointed as the Bishop for Housing, and will be leading a small team of which, with Bishop Peter Hill (The Bishop of Barking), I am very pleased to be a member. The goal of the Commission has been to re-imagine housing in our nation, and to ask, first, what the Church can do to alleviate the crisis and then to ask what others might do. We look forward to turning that ambition into action and I believe the Diocese of Gloucester has much to contribute to that, not least through our established partnerships for the provision of social housing and a creative approach to the use of church land, which recognises its value is far more than simply its financial worth.
If you would like to know more about our work and how you might respond in your particular context, more information including resources, Bible studies, case studies and guides for churches can be found here. Do also watch a short video from the Archbishop which sets out more of the vision and purpose that underlies our work and the five core values
Please look out for the full report and its recommendations which will be released later this month and above all else please keep the Commission and the work we will be beginning in your prayers as we seek to make an impact in this vital area.