Field Notes article

Global Migration and the New Cosmopolitanism: New Reports, Workshop, and Film

The ambition of Contending Modernities is to bring academic research into dialogue with policy-making and grassroots practice. Its east London research project – with the Contextual Theology Centre (CTC) – is focused on the ways that community organising enables diverse communities to work together to discern and promote a common good. As well as producing research papers, it is generating a number of resources for the wider community.

Online Resources

In 2012 the east London project produced a number of research reports and resources. In the coming weeks we will be posting blogs highlighting the research of members of the Contending Modernities research team in east London. The following resources are now available online:

A New Covenant of Virtue (pdf) –  a collection of essays on Islamic engagement in broad-based community organising,

Organised Christians (pdf) –  a report on the motivations of Christians engaged in community organising

From Goodness to God (pdf) – a report for the public theology think-tank Theos on whether morality needs religious foundations – and what implications this might have for the role of faith in public life

With good reason?  – a podcast of the debate on morality and religion at the London School of Economics which launched   From Goodness to God

Making Sense of the Census

The UK Government has just begun to publish the findings of the 2011 Census – with the first batch of statistics relating to religious affiliation in England and Wales. Unsurprisingly, the three statistics which attracted most media interest were the proportion of citizens declaring themselves to be Christian, Muslim or of no religion. The research being conducted by Contending Modernities speaks into this debate, and recently the Contextual Theology Centre held a workshop for clergy in multi-religious contexts on ‘Making Sense of the Census’.

The Holy Family – and the Story of Today’s Refugees

Contending Modernities’ east London research has a particular focus on the experience of migrants and refugees – which is informing the Contextual Theology Centre’s wider work with British churches. In partnership with The Children’s Society, the Centre recently produced a short film relating the Biblical account of flight of the Holy Family to Egypt to the experience of refugee families in the UK today.  It has also produced a leaflet to help congregations listen, pray and act on asylum issues.


Angus Ritchie
Canon Dr. Angus Ritchie is an Anglican priest. For over twenty years, he has served in parishes in East London involved in community organizing, playing a leading role in campaigns for the Living Wage, affordable housing, and a cap on interest rates. He is the founding director of the Centre for Theology and Community. His latest book, Inclusive Populism: Creating Citizens in the Global Age was published by the University of Notre Dame Press in 2019, and was recently discussed by Pope Francis at a conference of Catholics involved in community organizing.

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