Thanks to all those who joined us in Sheffield on Saturday for the Big Workshop. There was a good turnout to explore together how the church can help to create a fair and sustainable economy.
The morning session of the Big Workshop was led by Christine Bainbridge, who presented the case for a fair and sustainable economy and how the church can respond. With high profile figures and institutions admitting that we need to change course, we are at an important moment. There is a broad understanding that the economy is not serving people and planet.
In response, Joy in Enough seeks to build a bridge between theology and economics. Christine outlined a series of perspectives that the church can contribute, including the idea of creation as gift, and the new heavens and a new earth. These theological principles lead us towards certain economic principles, such as fair taxation, or broader measures of prosperity.
After lunch, participants took part in a trial run of a new resource for small group discussion. The topic was consumerism, one of five topics that will form the final series, and the discussion was hosted in a cafe table format. Facilitators dealt a series of cards with topics, case studies and information.
Following the discussion, Paul Bodenham set out the theory of change behind Joy in Enough, and the need for a ‘systemic campaign’ that gets to the real roots of the problem. Joy in Enough, he suggested, should be a ‘prefigurative’ movement that does not simply protest the status quo, but shapes and models an alternative.
The Big Workshop marks the start of a new phase of work for Joy in Enough, with the launch of a website and social media streams. This will help to foster an ongoing conversation about consumerism, growth, and a fair and sustainable economy.
The event was held at Victoria Hall Methodist Church, with funding support from OikoCredit. A number of organisations exhibited around the hall, such as the Greenhouse think tank, Hope for the Future, and the Sheffield Climate Alliance.