Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Reports and consultations

I had to dash from a Retail Partnership meeting down to the Millennium Centre for a the launch lunch of Gweini's report on the economic contribution made by faith communities to the life of Wales. It was an excellent occasion, very much to the credit of all in the Evangelical Alliance who made it happen.

Two years worth of work came to fruit with a hundred people representing AMs, civil servants, and religious communities from far and wide, gathering to learn that faith communities contribute £102 million a year through voluntary efforts. £10 million of that is in Cardiff alone. Just knowing that is valuable to our Spiritual Capital research project reporting. It's a way of saying to local government: "Look here, we're investing this much time and energy in public service. What about finding a way to consult us more effectively? You might even benefit more"

I had to leave early and get back to St John's to give the last in the series of Lent mediations for the Tuesday women's group, last in the series, then go on from there to another meeting, this time, the first meeting of a work-group which I was chairing, which brings together city centre faith communities and gives them an opportunity to offer feedback on the development process to the Council, under the 'Countdown 2009' headline. It's the first initiative of this kind towards the city centre's religious communities that has occurred, and very much to be welcomed.

I was a bit fed up that only two out of eight representatives showed up, showing how churches and other religious communities don't recognise a worthwhile opportunity, even when it's spelled out to them. Is religion so busily occupied with its own internal affairs living up to its own vocation? Fortunately, the representatives from Tabernacle and Ebeneser who came were wonderfully articulate about the difficulties of maintaining church life in the city centre. Good to hear their voices saying many of the same things which I go on about. It's not quite a chorus, but it's better than simply being a lone voice.

Finally, we had our Spiritual Capital Steering Group meeting, to consider some of the fruit of the report writing that's been going on this week, around the survey report from the University. Paul Ballard, Roy Thomas and myself have been thinking drafting organising material, and starting to shape what we feel we can say in the light of our overall objectives. I'm pleased that some of the work I've put in on the Spiritual Capital blog over the past eight months is a useful reference point. It's a good start, but there's a lot more to be done to produce a sound working production model in the coming weeks. The worst time really, with Holy Week and holidays looming fast.

Anway despite a day of non-stop meetings, I feel much cheered by the day's mad dash of activities.

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