Reconciling Communities are places where people share the love of God across difference, and experience the restoration of relationships with others, with themselves, with creation, and with God.
Reconciliation is a call to restore relationships in every sphere of life. As Christians, we are called to ‘be reconciled’ and to engage in what is often the hardest, but also the best, representation of the Gospel. As individuals and as societies we need reconciliation at every level. From our own relationship with God, to relationships in workplaces, wider communities and the whole of creation. Each of these is interconnected: fractures at one level can have damaging impact on another. There are a number of areas of work we are engaged in that are seeking to overcome divides in society or in the church.
Our focus on Reconciling Communities includes:
Identity & Sexuality – presently using a suite of resources produced by the national church (Living in Love and Faith) exploring Christian teaching and learning about identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.
Women’s ministry – Under the ‘five guiding principles’ (agreed by General Synod when legislation was introduced to affirm that women could be bishops) we are continuing to review how we work in a way which respects the theological integrity of different positions and encourages the flourishing of all.
Racial Equity Strategy - we have developed and adopted our Diocesan Racial Equity Strategy to counter structural racism in the church and ensure that people of all cultures and backgrounds are treated with respect and dignity. The St Philip’s Centre leading on our interfaith work with an aim of helping communities learn how to live well together. This also connects with Intercultural Communities work.
Social Responsibility (including Together Leicester) partnering with a whole range of agencies in the city and county addressing issues from homelessness, deprivation, to financial inclusion and disability. Supporting ministry in areas that are disadvantaged by experiencing higher levels of deprivation.
Building a Reconciling Community in your context:
As a community, you may want to consider together:
- What does 'radical Christian inclusion' mean to us?
- Why does Jesus ask us to be one as He and His Father are one? Is it an impossible demand, or do we have stories of seeing God work through solidarity and inclusion?
- Who can we welcome better and how?
To support you on the journey towards becoming a Reconciling Community, we have produced:
- A set of liturgical prayers for use in worship
- A list of resources (including suggested articles and videos, materials for schools, and church-based courses and resources)
- A sermon outline for an all-age service on the theme of reconciliation by Revd Anthony Lees-Smith
- A sermon outline by Dr Revd Tom Wilson from the St Philip's Centre
- A Collective Worship resource and video on developing a reconciliation-themed prayer space.