I have been reading Rowan Williams’ “Faith in the Public Square” which has lots of interesting stuff about how the church engages and should engage with society in general. He explores various aspects of how we offer the sort of witness that is appropriate in a range of areas within the civic arena. He touches on law, secularity, diversity, the environment and so much more.
I was particularly struck by the chapter entitled “Sustainable Communities” – “if we are going to plan sustainable communities, we have to have a good nose for what depletes human capital.” He stresses the importance of place and what is put in place to form the environment in a particular locality. “Functioning communities need to develop a sense of place, and that means developing variety, a real landscape, not just a territory covered with ‘machines for living’.” He stresses the value of planning that fits the location and the need to ensure that there are appropriate and adequate facilities, like public transport. “There are no infallible recipes for sustainable communities. But there are ways of identifying what depletes our resources and of combating these factors with some urgency and energy.”
Let’s speak up for contexts that work, especially in new places, as we will then have a much better chance of communities that work.