The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Housing, Church and Community is investigating how churches are responding to the housing crisis. Catherine Shelley is Vicar of St Edward the Confessor, Mottingham. She also happens to be a trained solicitor. When she came to St Ed’s in 2017, she soon found that her skills were badly needed by Mottingham’s community. Catherine is now offering pro-bono legal and benefits advice in sessions twice a week.
FEATURE / The theologian Stephen Backhouse writes about how the Archbishop of Canterbury's Commission on Housing, Church and Community is seeking to express a distinctly Christian vision of housing and community.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Housing, Church and Community seeks to offer a distinctively Christian perspective on the housing crisis, but is also exploring how churches can meet local housing needs – action, as well as words. As part of that, we are visiting church-linked housing projects to discover the great work that’s already being done, to learn from them and inspire others.
Recently, we visited One Roof Leicester, a charity that has been ‘adopted’ by the Diocese. One Roof works with people who are homeless, destitute refugees and refused asylum seekers.
It all started back in 2009, with six open meetings of Keswick Churches Together about the issues facing the town. Housing kept coming up in these discussions. Determined to change things, a working group of mainly church-linked people was created to come up with solutions. At just the right time, the vicar of St John’s offered a piece of land next to the church graveyard - impractical for burials, but ideal for The Hopes development that now sits there with mountain views. And so the hard work began of forming a Community Land Trust, commissioning an architect, and securing planning permission and funding.
FEATURE / A former Blackburn Day School and Sunday School built in 1834 to nurture young people is being given a new lease of life to continue its legacy with the help of the BBC DIY SOS programme, presented by Nick Knowles, and the BBC Children in Need annual appeal.
COMMENT / Members of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Housing, Church and Community joined other panellists at the Bristol Housing Festival for a panel discussion on the church’s response to the housing crisis.
COMMENT / The Bishop of Kensington, Graham Tomlin wrote to the London Evening Standard following his visit to Grenfell Tower.
FEATURE / Academics, theologians and housing experts are meeting over an 18-month period to examine how the Church of England can build on its own work in housing and contribute to the national debate on policy. Charlie Arbuthnot, chair of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Commission on Housing, Church and Community, writes about a visit by Commission members to Newham, in east London to listen to the experiences of people directly affected by the housing crisis and those working to tackle the problem.
COMMENT / The Archbishop of Canterbury on the launch of a new Commission on Housing