Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Faith Focus finale

This afternoon the Countdown 2009 Faith Focus Group met for a session, with six of us present. Two Christian, one Hindu one Sikh plus the two Council officers, who have supported the work of the group over the past fifteen months, met for the last time, having contributed to the preparations for the re- launch of the city centre after redevelopment with feedback about matters of concern to faith communities.

It's been a worthwhile exercise at one level, in that the partnership between City and developers has seen fit to open, in an exceptional way in these secular times, a channel to hear voices from city centre worshipping communities offering feed-back about the implications of some aspects of the whole process. The group has registered concern about access to places of worship, signage, parking, public transport, alcohol and public order, littering of places outside the realm managed by the City or developers, care for the homeless, and the dearth of public toilets in the centre.

At another level, the level and consistency of support for the group by its members has been disappointing, as if the opportunity has not really been taken at all seriously by those involved to participate. It's really part of the story of our times in which churches and other faith groups have become increasingly passive in relating to social concerns, largely because they are preoccupied by their own internal affairs.

Well, if any religious community complains about the way things work out in the on-going development of our re-furbished city, our civic leaders can say with a clean conscience, that it wasn't for lack of an opportunity to state their case.

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